Edward Grey: Rob Guest Endowment Finalist 2013

The much lauded Rob Guest Endowment annual concert will take place on Monday 25 November 25, where six finalists — emerging stars of Australian musical theatre — will take the stage to show their skills and compete for a prize package that, this year, is worth around $25,000.

Ed Grey at Twisted Broadway Sydney. Image by Blueprint Studios
Ed Grey – 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 chat to Edward Grey. A WAAPA graduate, he has appeared in STC's Spring Awakening, the national tour of Legally Blonde, and has just been cast as Boq in Wicked.

When did you know you wanted to become a performer?

I think in some sense, I was always a performer. Being the youngest of 4 kids, I was forever seeking attention and I guess I’ve never stopped!

What made you apply for the Rob Guest Endowment?

I applied because I saw how fantastic an opportunity it was for my friends and colleagues who had been a part of it before. How often do you get to work with these people and sing with a full orchestra in front of 2000 people? Not very often is the answer for most people. Unless you’re Mandy Patinkin or Audra McDonald.

What would becoming the recipient of the endowment mean to you?

It would mean that I would be given a wonderful opportunity to further my skills and grow as an Actor. I would be very proud to be part of the ever-increasing line of recipients, all of whom I greatly admire.

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

I’m not one for rituals as such! I guess I just enjoy sitting at my piano playing music and I love these songs so I enjoy every minute of working on them.

Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, Wicked – so many of your credits are shows that speak to young audiences. Which  musical most speaks to you?

That’s a really tricky question. Spring Awakening holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons; it was my first professional gig as an adult and being part of such an exciting creative process and being part of STC was a life-long dream of mine. There was also something special about the group of Actors that were cast in that show. A few years on, I can see we were all so young and naïve but I realise that’s exactly what they were going for!

If you could play any role, regardless of age or gender constraints, what would it be?

I’ve said this in interviews before but I consider the greatest gift an Actor can be given is the opportunity to create a role. So, for that reason, the role I would most like to play is one that doesn’t yet exist because I haven’t created it yet.

What was the best lesson you learned from your time at WAAPA?

There are so many wonderfully talented people in the world and that’s something to rejoice in, not be fearful of. We can all only learn from one another and everyone has so much to offer. There's no reason to fear, because there’s only one of you!

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

One thing I love to remember is when my older sister took me to see Wicked in London when Helen Dallimore was playing Glinda. I remember making my sister leave as soon as the show ended (so that she would miss the bows) so she could reserve a place for me at the front of the queue at Stage Door. I’ve since worked with the incandescent Helen twice and it's lovely to think that life can take you on those sorts of serendipitous journeys.

This is a tough industry. What keeps you going?

I'm lucky for me that it's really simple; my love for this industry outweighs the times when I feel like nothing's going my way.

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

This changes weekly. Right now, it’s 'Love you I do' from Dreamgirls  and I have no idea why. Maybe that's secretly my dream role?!

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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