Andrew Conaghan: Rob Guest Endowment Finalist 2012

The much lauded Rob Guest Endowment annual concert will take place on 19 November 2012, where six finalists — emerging stars of Australian musical theatre — will take the stage to show their skills and compete for  the opportunity to study in New York under the guidance of the best that Broadway has to offer to the value of $10,000.

Andrew Conaghan
Andrew Conaghan. Image by Blueprint Studios

AussieTheatre's Cassie Tongue asked ten questions of each finalist, in the lead-up to the concert, to find out about their lives, careers, and how they’re preparing for the high-calibre event.

Today, we get to know Andrew Conaghan, currently in the critical darling South Pacific which is playing its Melbourne season, with Brisbane and then Sydney encore dates to follow.

Tell us your favourite thing about being a performer.

That is constantly changing for me. At this point in my life, I really enjoy the traveling and experiencing new places. I’ve been quite lucky to have been to some very interesting places for work so far. More of that please!!

What made you apply for the Rob Guest Endowment process?

I had always wanted to apply, and this was the first year that I was available to participate, so I thought, why not?

How are you preparing for the upcoming concert? Any new rituals or routines?

Nothing in particular, trying to get a lot of rest and stay healthy.

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're currently performing in South Pacific. What has been your favourite South Pacific moment so far?

In Sydney we had 2 orchestras that would rotate for each performance, but for the sitzprobe we had them all together in one of the studios at Opera Australia. Hearing a 60 piece orchestra playing the overture was something that will stick with me for a while.

You've been a part of some of the most iconic musicals in history – South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Rent, Hair – are there any others you'd love to do?

There are heaps! I love the big ones Like Les Mis and Jesus Christ Superstar. Sweet Smell of Success is definitely up there too, not necessarily iconic but such a good piece.

What's your go-to, belt-it-out-in-the-shower song?

At the moment, it’s my numbers for the 19th of November. There’s not much else floating around in my head.

What's the best lesson you took out of your time at WAAPA?

Smile lots to detract from your feet.

You've traveled fairly extensively with shows like Jekyll and Hyde and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. How do you stay sane on tour?

A good TV series can go a long way in helping me to stay sane. I discovered Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones last year in Asia. A couple of episodes after a show quickly became part of my routine.

Tell us about your most memorable moment in the theatre – as an audience member or performer.

I saw John Doyle’s production of Sweeney Todd on my 21st birthday with my family in New York. It was incredible, I couldn’t believe I was watching an amazing company of actors who were acting as the orchestra as well. Playing Sondheim!!

What's number one on your “bucket list?”

To live and work in New York City. Plain and simple.

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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