Learn your Defying Gravity concert stars well! Joanna Ampil

Defying Gravity, a world premiere concert celebrating the work of acclaimed composer Stephen Schwartz, will premiere at Sydney’s Theatre Royal for three performances only – on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 February 2016. If you’re a fan of international musical theatre, you won’t want to miss this exciting musical event! It has a stellar line up of performers – headlined by none other than Tony Award-winning Sutton Foster and Broadway heartthrob Aaron Tveit, and features renowned West End star Joanna Ampil, Broadway and film icon Betty Buckley, and two of Australia’s own talents Helen Dallimore and David Harris.

Joanna Ampil
Joanna Ampil

At the concert you’ll hear Stephen Schwartz classics such as Day by Day, Colors of the Wind, When You BelievePopular, Corner of the Sky, Beautiful City, Meadowlark and, of course, Defying Gravity.

In the lead up to the concert, we want to make sure you know everything you need to know about these talented stars, and about Stephen Schwartz, the man behind the magic, so we have created a handy series of beginners’ guides to all these big names! Our next featured performer is Joanna Ampil, a Filipino musical theatre star who’s graced the international stage. Put your learning caps on, and make sure to book your tickets now – they’re  selling fast!

Joanna Ampil 101

Who she is:

Joanna Ampil was born in the Philippines and her musical theatre career has spanned across Asia, Europe and the USA. In Manila she has appeared as Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Across Europe, she has appeared as Grizabella in Cats, Mimi in Rent, both Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables, and Kim in Miss Saigon. Her international career has also involved originating the role of Thanh in The Real Love in Los Angeles starring opposite Anthony Rapp.


Shows she’s worked on:

The Bridges of Madison County (Manila), Chuva Choo Choo (Manila), South Pacific (Manila), Cats (UK and European Tour), The Sound of Music (Manila), The Real Love (LA), Pinocchio (Singapore), Avenue Q (London), West Side Story (Manila), Rent (European Tour), I Sing! (London), Musical of Musicals (London), Hair (London), Les Miserables (London), Jesus Christ Superstar (London), Miss Saigon (London, Sydney and UK and Southern Ireland Tour).


Manila’s Aliw Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Maria in The Sound of Music and nominated for an Australian MO award for Best Actress for Miss Saigon.

Ampil has been awarded an Aliw Award for her contribution to live entertainment on an international scale, along with a Global Filipino award.

Fun Fact:

Ampil has appeared in a few on screen roles, including appearing in the film One Day.

Essential viewing:

A stunning and captivating performance of ‘Memory’ from Cats.


Joanna Ampil singing with fellow West End star Kerry Ellis, one of Schwartz rare songs ‘For Good’, from the little known musical Wicked.



A lovely and detailed performance from Jason Robert Brown’s Bridges of Madison County.

Bec Caton

Bec has a diploma in musical theatre and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English. She is a freelance theatre writer in Sydney.

Bec Caton

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