A Quick Chat With Terence O’Connell

It’s coming to Melbourne! Carrie the Musical is making its debut at Chapel off Chapel from September 25.

We talked to Terence O’Connell, the show’s director, in anticipation of the new show!

Terence O'Connell.
Terence O’Connell.

If you had to describe your career in five words, which five words would you use?
DRESSER. MODEL. ACTOR. WRITER. DIRECTOR!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A MOUSEKETEER. OR JAMES DEAN.

What was your first theatre project – and how old were you?
DRESSER TO THE MALE ENSEMBLE JCW’S ‘FUNNY GIRL’ HER MAJESTY’S SYDNEY. AGE 16.

Best (or worst) onstage mishap that you can remember?
WHEN IAN STENLAKE’S BABY GRAND GOT CAUGHT ON A RISING SCRIM AT THE OPENING OF ‘THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG’ FOR THE PRODUCTION COMPANY.

Which directors do you admire?
GEORGE ABBOTT, JOAN LITTLEWOOD, PETER BROOK, JIM SHARMAN, ALEX TIMBERS, HAL PRINCE.

What was the best piece of career advice you ever received – and who gave it to you?
THE MECHANIST WHO SAID TO ME ‘YOU SHOULD BE A DIRECTOR’. PERHAPS HE WAS TRYING TO SAVE ME FROM AN UNSUCCESFUL CAREER AS AN ACTOR.

As a director who has worked extensively with circus arts, why do you think circus seems to be having such resurgence across the country?
BECAUSE CIRCUS HAS FUSED IT’S DANGER WITH THEATRE, DANCE AND VISUALS . IF YOU ARE IN TOKYO JUST HAVE A LOOK AT SPIEGELWORLD’S EMPIRE OF WHICH I AM PRIVELIGED TO BE THE DIRECTOR.

What is your dream musical to work on?
WELL, ‘CABARET’ OFCOURSE, I’VE DIRECTED IT 3 TIMES AND I COULD DO MANY MORE. BUT ‘NINE’ WOULD BE GREAT AS I’D GET TO WORK WITH 3 GENERATIONS OF FABULOUS MUSIC THEATRE WOMEN.’

Which musical do you love, but have no desire to work on – if any?
‘WEST SIDE STORY’. I COULDN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING AS PERFECT AS THAT ORIGINAL PRODUCTION I SAW AT THE TIVOLI THEATRE, SYDNEY WHEN I WAS A CHILD.

Whose advice do you always listen to?
I AM VERY GOOD AT GIVING ADVICE BUT VERY BAD AT TAKING IT!

What’s the best thing about musical theatre in Australia?
WE KEEP ON TRYING! AND NANCYE HAYES!

What’s the worst thing about it?
CASTING DIRECTORS WHO THINK MUSIC THEATRE PERFORMERS ARE NOT ‘ACTORS’ AND THE FACT THAT NICK ENRIGHT AND ROSS COLEMAN ARE NO LONGER WITH US.

What was the last book you read that you loved?
‘A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD’-MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

3 things you can’t live without?
HUMOUR. GOSSIP. FRIENDS.

Perfect way to spend a day off?
IN A POOL IN BALI.

Name something on your bucket list.
VENICE IN WINTER.

What’s your go-to party trick?
DRINKING TOO MUCH RED WINE.

Which show (that isn’t Carrie!) do you think people should go and see?
GO SEE MY SUPER FUNNY CAST IN ‘THE 39 STEPS’ WHICH IS TOURING NOW OR ANY PLAY BY
LACHLAN PHILPOTT THAT’S ON.

What drew you to the Carrie project?
I WAS LOOKING FOR A PROJECT TO FEATURE CHELSEA GIBB AND EMILY MILLEDGE AND AS SOON AS I HEARD ‘CARRIE’ I KNEW I’D FOUND IT.

What do you hope audiences will feel when they see this show?
‘BE KINDER THAN NECESSARY, FOR EVERYONE YOU MEET IS FIGHTING SOME KIND OF BATTLE’

Carrie the Musical
25 September – 12 October
Wednesday – Saturday 8pm, Saturday matinee 4th and 11th October 2pm, Wednesday matinee 8th October 1pm, Sunday 6pm
$49.50 Full, $39.50 Concession, $39.50 Group 10+, Preview 25th & 26th September $30, Wednesday matinee 8th October $30 (+ Transaction Fee)
Tickets available at: chapeloffchapel.com.au

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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