Opera Australia and John Frost’s production of The King and I opened in Brisbane over the weekend, marking the professional music theatre debut of many up-and-coming performers. AussieTheatre is thrilled to be featuring a new interview series entitled Getting To Know You (see what we did there?) to introduce these new artists to their music theatre audience!
We commence our series with young soprano Jenny Liu, who stars as the young Burmese slave, Tuptim. Liu completed a Bachelor of Music at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has deferred her final semester of an Advanced Diploma in Opera to tour with this multi-million dollar production.
Getting to know you…
1. What is your role in the production?
2. When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
Performance has always been a part of my life, I played piano for 9 years and then it was ice skating and now singing, but it was really when I saw my first opera that I knew I wanted singing to be my life.
3. Where did you train?
Sydney Conservatorium of Music – Bachelor of Music Performance, Advanced Diploma of Opera (deferred final year to do The King and I)
4. What was your reaction when you discovered you had been cast in this show?
I was ecstatic! I couldn’t be happier or more excited, especially as it had been the most whirlwind week of doing an initial audition and being cast in the space of 4 days!
5. Your first musical theatre job has you performing with award winning veterans of the stage and screen – Lisa McCune, Marty Rhone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes – what have you learnt from working with such an experienced cast?
It has been an incredible experience just observing these extraordinary performers, let alone sharing the stage with them. Lisa has been a fantastic mentor and inspiration for me and I feel so privileged to be able to watch her transform in to Anna Leonowens every night.
6. The King and I features an incredible 15 minute Jerome Robbins ballet in Act 2 – how do you keep yourself fit and ready for performance every night?
Well, I don’t dance, I narrate! So it’s less about physical fitness for me but being emotionally ready every night to deliver something that’s sincere for the audience so they go along with you on the journey.
7. Describe the production for us in three words.
Uplifting, Feel-good, tear-jerking.
8. What has been the most exciting/memorable moment so far (rehearsals or at the theatre)?
Seeing the dock scene in the theatre on the first day of tech [technical rehearsal week]. Everyone was in their costumes with hair and makeup done for the first time and being on the magnificent stage that we have – it just looked surreal.
9. Is there anything you have learned during this contract about the music theatre (or theatre) industry which surprised you?
It was a huge surprise to see just how many people were involved in this production, it’s a truly massive team and I’m still amazed I’m a part of it!
10. What is your go-to ‘belt it out in the shower’ song?
I don’t sing in the shower, too much ring!
For more information about The King and I and to book tickets for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, visit thekingandimusical.com.au