Kirby Burgess: 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.

Kirby Burgess

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 Kirby Burgess, recently seen in Hairspray and An Officer and a Gentleman.

Tell us your favourite thing about being a performer.

I love the rush! the feeling you get after that Ballad, that dance number, emotional scene, your final bow-there's nothing like it!

What made you apply for the Rob Guest Endowment process?

I believe in the project. I think it is great to have a platform like this in Australia to help up and coming performers be recognised and seen in their element. I auditioned because it is a panel that is looking for me to be me – not me to be a character. I hope this process can be the catalyst that moves my career to the next level.

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

You have to pick the right songs that show diversity in your performance but true to your style-it's also hard to choose songs that will compliment the night when you don't know what the

other performers are singing. So right now I am sifting through all my party pieces trying to find the songs that will sell me the best.

You’ve understudied leading roles in musicals like Hairspray and An Officer and a Gentleman. What’s your best understudy memory?

Sounds obvious, but – the first time I went on! Most people say they don't remember the show because their brain was going 100 miles an hour, but I remember every moment. My favourite of all these moments was the applause after my big ballad – my family stood up, punched their fists in the air and yelled “GO KIRBY” like they were at a rock concert. It was a great moment and perfectly inappropriate!

>You’ve performed overseas a few times. What’s the most important item in your suitcase for work travel?

Eftpos card so you can buy that last minute costume item you have no doubt forgotten

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

Build me up Buttercup…..>

What would being the recipient of the Rob Guest endowment mean to you?

I am constantly pursuing to prove to people that I am a singer and not just a dancer. Holding this title would be a great validation of the hard work and persistence. I would also love to represent this 'brand' because there is nothing like it in Australia.

What one piece of advice would you offer performers trying to break into the industry?

The road is long and filled with hills you'd rather roll down than climb up – but when you keep pushing on, it's so worth it at the end!

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

The standing ovation after my performance in the 'Rising Stars of Broadway' Concert in the Musical Theatre Capital of the world- New York City!

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

Be a name the world knows….just a simple dream.


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

One thought on “Kirby Burgess: Rob Guest Endowment Finalist 2012

  • I have not heard of Kirby before, but last night saw her perform for the first time, in Geelong, as part of the Todd McKenney “Peter Allen Tribute Show”. I was blown away by her. She has it all. Her dancing was spectacular, and her voice, wonderful. She is also gorgeous to look at and, as an “older” amateur dancer/singer, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She is the complete package, hopefully a future star of Australian musicals. Very best wishes Kirby. I hope to see you as the star of many future musicals. Hilary

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