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‘A Performing arts extraordinaire’

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‘A Performing arts extraordinaire’

One of the stars of A Chorus Line, coming to Caloundra, shares his love of the theatre and his long association with the Sunshine Coast.

It’s one singular sensation. The ground-breaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning concept musical set a new standard for Broadway and now it’s coming to the Sunshine Coast.

A Chorus Line is a stunning concept musical capturing the spirit and tension of a Broadway chorus audition. It explores the inner lives and bittersweet ambitions of professional Broadway performers, and features one powerhouse number after another.

Coastal Theatre Collective presents a stunning new production of this timeless classic, featuring a bevy of incredible local talent.

My Weekly Preview chatted to James Millar: a performing arts extraordinaire specialising in acting, singing, directing and writing.

Millar is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and a recipient of a Best Leading Actor Helpmann Award, four Green Room awards and a Sydney Theatre Award.

He is the author of the musical drama The Hatpin, the song cycle LOVEBiTES and multi award- winning semi-autobiographical A Little Touch of Chaos.

A Chorus Line is showing at The Events Centre in Caloundra from February 7 to 10. Visit the theeventscentre.com.au for tickets and details.

What can audiences expect from you as you bring the role of Zach to life in A Chorus Line? I was thrilled to be invited into A Chorus Line. It’s a show I’ve always loved due to the fact it is largely verbatim theatre and really speaks to the hard work, tenacity, self-belief and amazing hard work that performers’ careers and the audition circuit are famous for. Zach is an incredibly interesting character study. He’s the ‘authority figure’ in the show but isn’t a character who does all the heavy lifting. He doesn’t sing or dance (in the show) but asks all the provocative questions to the amazing performers we see on stage in order to learn who they are, above and beyond what they do. It’s a role that has always intrigued me because of the fact he’s uniquely a fellow audience member, trying to find and unmask the character, personality and objectives of these fierce and motivated athletes. And it’s an honour, as an actor playing him, to sit and behold that level of skill and passion … from people who share that skill and passion.

Do you have a favourite scene or number from the production? What can you share about this with us? As a fan of the film, I am constantly surprised in the moments that weren’t included in the film because they exist solely as ‘live stage moments’. It’s hard to pick a favourite moment from the series of vignettes and star-turn moments from the cast. From At The Ballet to the breathtaking star turn of Cassie breaking out in her Music and the Mirror to Paul (in a deliberately unsung moment) to just speak his truth – there’s joy, heartache and determination in every character and chapter. And watching young professional actors breathing new life into this classic is my favourite bit.

What is your best memory from your career on the stage so far? Trunchbull, in the Australian and New Zealand premiere of that fantastic show, Matilda. It taught me, in so many ways, the beauty of being a storyteller, a creature, the power of thought and music and community and art. I loved every day of it and could have kept finding new stuff in it forever. Also, that character was an amazing transformation: physically, vocally and psychologically – which is an actor’s dream.

What is your connection with the Sunshine Coast? My dad and mum live on the Coast and dad was born and bred in Queensland. Ever since I was a tiny little James, Mooloolaba, Noosa and the Sunny Coast have been a home to me. It’s lovely to be supporting a new company, in this flourishing creative community, for the first time. So I’m thrilled to be part of that.

When you’re not on the stage, how do you enjoy spending your spare time? Watching all of Netflix, growing Calla Lilies, coaching when I can, making new friends, doing cooking classes at The Spirit House, writing and rewriting (which is my other vocation) and enjoying air-conditioning.

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