In conversation with Michael Falzon ahead of his Morning Melodies performance

Sydney-born Michael Falzon has had a whirlwind career.

Hand-picked by Ben Elton and Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor, Michael was cast as Galileo in the first international production of We Will Rock You. After its Australian tour, he moved through Japan and the UK reprising his role. Since then, he has accrued an impressive list of roles on his resume, including Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, Stacee Jaxx in Rock of Ages, Jason in Ordinary Days, The Arbiter in Chess, and the title role in the cult-favourite musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Michael has also performed in countless concerts and cabarets nationally, showcasing his true diversity as a performer through a variety of material ranging from Musical Theatre, to Swing, and even Rock and Roll.

He will be performing his newest concert, Centre Stage, at Arts Centre Melbourne next week as part of their Morning Melodies program. I had a great time talking to Michael about what he’s done and what he’s doing in 2019.

You just closed Evita, which has been running for quite some time between Sydney and Melbourne. How was that experience?

It was interesting actually. I was always very keen to do Evita, I grew up with the music, I knew it backwards, I’d sing it with my siblings around the house. So when the opportunity came up to do it… how could I say no? It took me back into MT-Land, because I haven’t really done a show in a while. And now that I’m back I’ve got heaps coming up.

Michael as Magaldi in Opera Australia’s Evita

Anything exciting coming up?

There’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, where I get to play almost a characature [Trevor Graydon], which will be fantastic. But I’ve got a very big project coming up. Getting to work with people I’ve never worked with. It’ll be fun. Stay tuned!

You’ve played a fair share of rock-filled roles in your career – how did you start getting into that style of show?

It’s interesting because I started out doing Gilbert and Sullivan and Hello Dolly! and all those typical musical theatre shows for a good 5 or 6 years while I was starting out. I was a young tenor, singing more ‘legitimately,’ and I made the decision to take a break from understudying because I’d learned everything that I could learn. I didn’t go to university so that time was my training.

I was waiting for my break, as people do. And that break came with We Will Rock You. I do think that it’s because of my classical training that I was able to tackle a role like that – it’s always said that if you have a classical background it’s a good foundation for any sort of singing. I guess I was just in the right place at the right time for We Will Rock You and what happened after that, as much fun as it was, was that I did get a little typecast as a ‘rocker,’ I loved playing those roles. I get to play these characters and live that life without all the bullshit that comes with it, you know? Like drug addiction for one! [laughs] And I don’t have to do as much touring, I get to put the hat on and take it off at the end of the night and go home. That’s why it was nice to do something like Evita, to get back to the ‘legitimate’ side of musicals.

Do you have a favourite show or role that you’ve done?

We Will Rock You, in its earliest carnation. Every time I got to step out on stage… everything attached to it. obviously now, I’m being approached more than ever to sing that stuff at events and so forth, because of that. I enjoyed Rock of ages purely for its hilarity. In a very real sense, someone like Hedwig, where you get to play for 90 minutes non-stop. I think Hedwig is probably a favourite role moreso than experience. I’ve had so many incredible experiences that it would be hard to choose just one!

Michael as Galileo in the Australian Premiere of We Will Rock You

What about roles you’d love to do someday?

There are a few! I think you grow into roles without realising. There are roles that 5 years ago I never thought I’d play, and now I’m just sort of sliding into them. You put the roles on the same way you’d change clothes. It’s very exciting to play different characters. I think the one role that I always come back to when asked this question is Guido in Nine. I’ve worked with so many wonderful leading ladies that it would be fantastic to have them all up on stage together. Obviously, there are big roles like something in Les Mis, and I’d still love to approach them but they’re just a lot of bloody hard work!

What can audiences expect from your upcoming concerts?

In the concert coming up, the great thing will be that I’ve got such a variety of music that I’ve done from shows before, as well as things I just love singing. I love Sondheim, some Bacharach, we’ll have a 9 piece band. I’m really excited about it, especially to sing what I want to sing. I love the idea of a “one night only” where you’re smashing together all these songs instead of doing 8 shows a week, which is very hard work.

Michael performs at Morning Melodies on Monday, March 18th at Arts Centre Melbourne, for two shows only (11 am and 1:30 pm). For more information and tickets, visit the Arts Centre Melbourne website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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