They are part of the Dream Team – the Australian cast of SOUTH PACIFIC so perfectly composed that their Sydney production of Bartlett Sher's Lincoln Center revival brought Oscar Hammerstein's grandson to tears, and has since been chosen as the version of the record-breaking stage show to be immortalised on DVD.
Three multi-talented performers with a host of stage, screen and recording credits between them, Daniel Koek, Eddie Perfect and Kate Ceberano are currently starring in the Melbourne season of SOUTH PACIFIC, after premiering the production to critical aclaim at the Sydney Opera House in August.
Daniel Koek has extensive theatre credits in the UK and is a veteran of SOUTH PACIFIC, having lent his stunning tenor to the role of Lieutenant Cable on the West End and across the UK before reprising the role here in Australia. Eddie Perfect who eats up the stage as Seabee Luther Billis is a performer and award-winning writer/composer who is also much-loved for his portrayal of Mick Holland on the hit TV show OFFSPRING. And then there is Kate Ceberano, the ARIA winning, Platinum recording artist who so embodies Bloody Mary on stage that she is both pitch perfect and barely recognisable in the role.
Together with Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes and a stellar supporting cast, they form the constellation that has made SOUTH PACIFIC the critical and audience hit of the year. In the first of a two part series celebrating the Australian production of SOUTH PACIFIC we take a look at Daniel, Eddie and Kate's brains on musical theatre – enjoy!!
This Is Your Brain On Musical Theatre – The SOUTH PACIFIC Edition!
Is there a particular show and/or person that first made you feel like 'this is what I want to do'?
Daniel: That's simple ... Anthony Warlow singing Phantom Of The Opera in Adelaide. My mum took me when I was about 9!
Eddie: I didn't think performing on stage in any professional sense was even within the realms of possibility for me until maybe 1999. I've always loved music theatre as an art form since I was a young kid. We used to play tapes of Sweeney Todd and Pirates of Penzance in our Combi Van during long family car-trips to camping destinations around Victoria. But for some reason I never considered it as a career. I wanted to be a visual artist. But since I discovered I didn't have much to communicate through my art, and since music was such a big part of my life, I went to study classical music at Melbourne University Conservatorium. I found that a pretty stifling place, performance-wise, so I auditioned for WAAPA and got in and it literally changed my life. It's gradual steps with me. Writing, composing, performing, stand-up comedy; all of it has been incremental and nothing like what I ever dreamed I'd end up doing.
Kate: I first saw Shirley MacLaine in Irma la Douce and thought she was magical, whimsical and beautiful! I wanted to be all those things ... the fact that she was a French prostitute in green fishnet stockings was no deterrent apparently! Red flag to a bull!
Can you remember the moment when you first understood that you could sing the way most others can't?
Daniel: I went to a school that specialised in music so I guess I worked out that I could hold a tune when I kept getting all the solo lines when I performed with the concert choir!
Eddie: I used to have an amazing tenor voice before I went through puberty. It was really something. My voice broke and it was a matter of piecing it back together from scratch, getting to know this new instrument I'd woken up with one day. It was a long journey. I've never been too fussed with the quality of the sound (as you can probably tell) but more with how expressive it can be, how musical it can be, and how I can use it to create character and act through it. There are a million people with pretty voices, but I'm more interested in acting through song, directly communicating with an audience and "selling" a lyric. Music theatre lives or dies by the quality of its lyrics. Also, being a composer/lyricist I mostly perform my own songs and 99% of what I'm obsessed with is clarity. That's my little prayer before I go on stage each night: be clear, trust the material, communicate, take your time, let it go. I think I've gotten good at that and I think that's what my strengths are, really. Continued next page.