What could be better on a Sunday afternoon than listening to hits from the Great American Songbook?
Australian theatre star Kane Alexander joins Arts Centre Melbourne for yet another High Tea Live, where audiences will be delighted by drinks, nibbles, and a wonderful morning of entertainment. Kane’s set for the high tea includes jazz standards from legendary composers such as George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. Kane’s love for music grew from discovering these greats, and is delighted to be sharing his favourite tracks at High Tea Live.
We had a quick chat about his experiences as a performer and what audiences can expect at High Tea Live tomorrow.
Tell me a bit about your performing history!
I started performing professionally when I was just 16 in the Australian/Asian tour of South Pacific for Gordon Frost. After that, I studied opera at the Queensland Conservatorium & then Music Theatre at WAAPA, although I left WAAPA at the end of 2nd year to join the 10th Anniversary production of Les Miserables. I stayed in that production for 18 months. Following Les Miserable, I moved to New York where I performed my cabaret in many of the NYC clubs like the Algonquin, Firebird, Sardi’s & Don’t Tell Mama. I sang in jazz clubs too, and watched & learnt from incredible cabaret & jazz vocalists. New York is full of amazing artists! Upon returning to Australia, I started performing in musicals – The Wizard of Oz (Scarecrow), Anything Goes (Billy), Footloose (Willard), Hair (Claude), & Urinetown (Bobby). I signed with Sony Music & spent 3 years writing for & producing a pop opera album, which created opportunities to tour with Il Divo, Katherine Jenkins & Tina Arena. In recent years, I returned to the stage to perform in Stephen Sondheim’s Passion (Giorgio) and City of Angels (Stone).
You’ve been in some of the largest scale shows to hit Australia in the last decade – what has been the most challenging part of being a working performer?
I think the most challenging part of being a working performer in Australia is the lack of opportunity. In places like NYC, you can audition for a project every other day. In Australia, opportunities are so limited. There may be only a half dozen suitable musicals to audition for each year. As a result, it can be challenging to keep your body & instrument in peak condition & be ready when opportunity calls. Of course, there are other challenging factors too: the anti-social working hours, the irregular income, dealing with rejection. But I’m yet to meet a theatre performer who isn’t willing to accept these challenges due to the thrilling experiences that working in theatre provides. At the end of the day, it’s in our blood!
Which show or role have you learned the most from?
Probably Les Miserables. I’m fairly certain any actor who has performed in this show will tell you that it has changed them somehow. It requires so much from every actor on the stage. It’s arduous – emotionally & physically. When I did it over 20 years ago, it was also longer than it is now. I learned how to build stamina doing that show. I also learned that the more you are willing to invest of yourself, the greater the sense of fulfillment. And I created some wonderful, lifelong friendships doing Les Miserables.
Do you have a favourite song to perform?
“Flight” by Craig Carnelia. It’s a magnificent song about our spirits running free. I find it very inspiring.
What can audiences expect from your performance?
I hope they can expect truth. I love finding a way to tell stories through song – discovering lyrics that resonate with my own experiences. I hope that audiences will experience songs from a new perspective or viewpoint. For me, the most thrilling performances are always the most surprising ones.
Arts Centre Melbourne Presents High Tea Live – Kane Alexander: Swinging Sunday
Sun 3 Nov, 2019 | 12pm
For tickets and more information, please visit the Arts Centre Melbourne website.