The much lauded Rob Guest Endowment annual concert will take place next Monday November 25, where six finalists — emerging stars of Australian musical theatre — will take the stage to show their skills and compete for a prize package that, this year, is worth around $25,000.
AussieTheatre’s Cassie Tongue asked ten questions of each finalist, in the lead-up to the concert, to find out about their lives, careers, and how they’re preparing for the high-calibre event.
Today we meet Angelique Cassimatis, who has performed in shows throughout Asia, the Philippines, and as a Singer/ Dancer on board The Pacific Princess. Angelique has also starred in High School Musical (understudy to Kelsi), Mary Poppins touring Australia & New Zealand and is currently performing (and understudy to Ann) in the world premiere of King Kong The Musical.
When did you know you wanted to become a performer?
I don’t know the exact point when I decided I wanted to be a performer but from a baby I would always be putting on shows showing my next door neighbours all my new tricks. One day my mum took me to see my first musical (I think it was The Secret Garden) and after seeing that I realised that’s exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was even more excited when I found out you got paid to do something you love!
What made you apply for the Rob Guest Endowment?
I’ve had a few friends who have been lucky enough to make it to the top six and it looked like lots of fun getting to sing with a live orchestra. Also, I think it’s a great opportunity to be seen outside of the audition room in an actual performance.
What would becoming the recipient of the endowment mean to you?
It would be amazing to win, but just being a part of the top six is unbelievable.
How are you preparing for the upcoming concert? Any new rituals or routines?
I’m practicing whenever I can! One of my songs has a bit of movement and I’m trying to build up my stamina so I can get to the end with out sounding like I’m dying.
What was the most interesting thing that happened to you aboard the Pacific Princess, where you worked as a performer?
During the last few months of my contract we finished up cruising through Hawaii and Tahiti. During these cruises we sailed over the equator. I had no idea but there’s an old navy ritual for when you cross over. I can’t remember what happens exactly but it involves asking for king Neptune’s permission and before you cross you must complete set tasks. Anyway after a day of random events we ended up on the main deck where you finished up with HUGE food fight between the some of the passengers and the crew. I thought I would get over it by the 5th or 6th time but I never did. The best part was I didn’t have to clean it up!
You graduated from the Australian Dance Performance Institute. What lesson did you learn there that you still hold dear?
ADPI was a fantastic part of my life. I got to sing and dance every day and my teachers were very supportive. The most important thing I learnt was to be more confident in my choices and to stop doubting my self. Confidence is the key!!!!!!!
Tell us about your experience in King Kong – how has it felt to work on a world premiere musical?
Kong has been an epic ride. I’m not going to lie, at times it was hard, but having had the opportunity to watch the show come to life and see how technically amazing it is makes everything worth while. Knowing that you helped inspire some of the choreography, have costumes designed specially for you and to bring a story to the stage that seemed impossible to tell outside of a movie theatre is a pretty incredible feeling.
What’s the number one item on your Bucket List?
Ahhh, I can’t decide. There are two that are pretty high up there, obviously to perform on Broadway one day, haha! The other thing would be to head to Memphis and visit Graceland to see where Elvis lived!!!
This is a tough industry. What keeps you going?
It’s hard, oh man is it hard! But getting to go out on stage and perform every night is worth all of the heartache. I’m also very lucky to have a beautiful family who help keep me sane.
What’s your go-to, belt-it-out-in-the-shower song?
Umm, well I would say “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis, but the All Shook Up version. I love it!