A Quick Chat With Chelsea Gibb

It’s coming to Melbourne! Carrie the Musical is making its debut at Chapel off Chapel from September 25. Chelsea Gibb as Margaret White leads a company of 20 of Melbourne’s most dynamic young music theatre performers and musicians, directed by Terence O’ Connell, choreographed by Lisa Minett, lit by Jason Bovaird designed by Jacob Battista with Musical Supervision by David Piper.

We talked to Chelsea Gibb – Australia’s Roxie Hart and Reno Sweeney, among others! – to find out what makes her tick before she dives into the moody, bloody (literally!) show.

Chelsea Gibb.
Chelsea Gibb.

If you had to describe your career in five words, which five words would you use?
Exciting, Challenging, Surprising, Rewarding, Evolving.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Cliched but I always dreamed to be on the stage.

What was your first theatre project – and how old were you?
Scrooge the musical in Ballarat at around 13 years of age. I had a very exciting one line moment, but they ended up giving it away to someone else:)

Best (or worst) onstage mishap?
Getting the uncontrollable giggles when someone forgot their lines. I just couldn’t stop laughing. Is that my best or worst…?

Who is your performer hero?
I can’t really go past Bernadette Peters. She leaves it all on stage. Extraordinary.

What was the best piece of career advice you ever received – and who gave it to you?
“Fake it til you make it!” direct from the amazingly inspiring Ann Reinking.

What is your fondest stage memory?
I have many, but probably opening night of my first ever professional performance (as Roxie Hart in Chicago at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne). That night I realized that maybe I was more capable than I thought!

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Always back to beautiful Italy.

Which five songs would you include in an “about me” playlist?
That’s not easy…hmmm… Better Be Home Soon, Someone Like You, You Got a Friend in Me, Cabaret, Happy.

What’s your favourite post-show snack?
Raw peppermint chocolate fudge or Meredith goat’s cheese (on a cruskit) Yum!

What’s the best thing about musical theatre?
Being able to immerse yourself inside another person/character, and the joy of doing that through song!

What’s the worst thing about it?
The unpredictability of not ever knowing what comes next!

What was the last book you read that you loved?
Actually the cult novel Carrie by Stephen King… but Half the Sky is another that has stayed with me.

Things you can’t live without?
My husband, my children and puppy dog Eva.

Perfect way to spend a day off?
My Sundays – because we are all so busy, we call them “Smooch-in-Sundays” – we stay in our pj’s til mid-morning, then going out for a walk (not in my pj’s!) and then out for dinner – all together as a family.

Name something on your bucket list.
To have a pet pig.

What’s your go-to party trick?
I can’t say I have one…

Which show (that isn’t Carrie!) do you think people should go and see?
Anything Australian-made. I saw “A Little Touch of Chaos” recently and it has stayed with me still. The talent we have in Australia is amazing, and the more support we can direct that way (creating new works) creates more work for everyone in the long run.

Were you familiar with the Carrie story before you got this part?
Only vaguely from years ago – I remember the Brian DePalma film – Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were incredible.

Tell us how it feels taking on a show like Carrie.
I feel so grateful to my inspiring director Terence O’Connell for presenting me this opportunity. I get to play outside my perceived typecast and explore Margaret’s dark yet wonderfully rich and colourful personality and sing some great material written by multi award winning Michael Gore (Fame) and Dean Pitchford (Footloose).

Carrie the Musical
25 September – 12 October
Wednesday – Saturday 8pm, Saturday matinee 4th and 11th October 2pm, Wednesday matinee 8th October 1pm, Sunday 6pm
$49.50 Full, $39.50 Concession, $39.50 Group 10+, Preview 25th & 26th September $30, Wednesday matinee 8th October $30 (+ Transaction Fee)
Tickets available at: chapeloffchapel.com.au

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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