Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finding Fame

Finding fame in ultimate school musical

Kelly Aykers, Ruby Rose, Eddie Perfect and Anthony Callea.

Imagine you are in high school, sitting in your weekly assembly.

Suddenly, It girl Ruby Rose walks through the door and announces your school has been chosen to present her ultimate high school musical: Fame.

She then introduces the director, the choreographer and the vocal coach.

The director is Eddie Perfect, the man behind masterpieces such as Shane Warne – The Musical.

The choreographer is internationally renowned Kelly Aykers, one of the most popular choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance Australia.

The vocal coach is none other than the man who shot to fame in Australian Idol with his rendition of The Prayer, which became the fastest selling Australian single in history.

Exciting much?

Daunting much, when you realise you are going to have to perform in front of that group of people.

It gets even more scary when the final participants in the show are introduced, including John Frost, the producer of the Australian production of Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, Chicago and, of course, the new production of Fame, which is about to open in Melbourne.

Joining him is Australia's most popular choreographer and the choreographer- director of the professional production of Fame, Kelly Abbey.

That line-up would be enough to scuttle even the most seasoned performer, but the students at Essendon Keilor College stepped up to the challenge and wowed the team, which had to choose the cast for the production.

And despite not being a performing arts college, or even a college particularly known for embracing performing arts, Anthony Callea said an impressive cast had been found.

But for him, the challenge wasn't just sorting the wheat from the chaff: it was finding himself on the other side of the judging panel.

“It was ... totally mentally and emotionally draining for me,” he said.

“Each person who comes through, you want to give them your time and you want to give them some sort of feedback but it's hard ... you don't want to say no to these kids ... I just didn't know what to do.”

But with a job at hand, Anthony quickly drew on his Australian Idol experience and managed to help the kids out

“I thought it was pretty good that I was able to relate to these kids,” he said.

“It's not someone who is sitting on the other side of the desk who doesn't know anything about singing or performing.

“I have experienced it before. I know what it's like to get out there and sing. I know the butterflies and the games your head plays with you before an audition.”

And while the butterflies and the games make great television, the real joy is the reactions of the students who score their dream roles in the production.

For Anthony, the joy came from watching the journey of the students as they went from shy retiring types to true stars.

“If anything good came out of this show, it is the personal growth and the confidence of the kids,” he said.

With an intense rehearsal period where the team took the students from amateurs to hopefully being as professional as they could possibly be, the journey the students from Essendon Keilor College take is exciting, fun, emotional and passionate television.

And with a performance of the show to look forward to at the end, will it all turn out as planned?
“The end result surprised me,” Anthony said.

Ultimate School Musical premieres on Austar's Fox8 on Tuesday.
source SunshineCoast Daily

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