The hilarious New York and Las Vegas hit Friends! The Musical Parody is currently on its Australian national tour, visiting Adelaide, Hobart, Wollongong, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne.

Join your six favourite friends at their favourite café for a night of unstoppable laughs with a new musical that lovingly lampoons the beloved NBC sitcom. Friends! The Musical Parody celebrates the misadventures of our favourite group of 20-something pals as they navigate the pitfalls of work, life and love in 1990s Manhattan.

Friends! The Musical Parody marks Eleanor MacIntyre’s professional music theatre debut, and she is beyond thrilled to be taking on the iconic role of Rachel Green.

Eleanor MacIntyre

Eleanor is a Melbourne-based performer who grew up in England and New Zealand. She completed the Foundation (Music Theatre) course at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), before being accepted into the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre), where she was vocally trained by Heather Fletcher, Rosemarie Harris, and Peter Rutherford. Eleanor performed in the self-devised project Mongrel, as Suzanne in The Hello Girls and as ensemble/understudy Charity in Sweet Charity. Eleanor recently starred as the lead role of Katie in the short film Contact. In New Zealand, Eleanor participated in two CIMTSS Intensives, working with tutors such as Sutton Foster, Jonathan Groff, Michael McElroy, Andrea Burns, Peter Flynn, Carmel Dean and Leslie Bell. She learned classical flute for eight years and during her study has become increasingly interested in gender studies, feminist theatre, and exploring more diverse musical styles within Musical Theatre. Outside of theatre Eleanor is a passionate painter/artist and is currently developing a platform for her art.

Can you tell me a bit about your background with performing?

Eleanor: Growing up in England and New Zealand, I participated in very small community theatre productions and I genuinely fell in love with it. I loved the way it allowed me to explore countless different lives and emotions, which enabled me to better understand myself, others, and the world around me. I then moved to Melbourne to start studying at The Victorian College of the Arts, where I completed a diploma and Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theatre. My inspiration for acting/performing has evolved and changed, but ultimately what drives me is people. People and their stories. People and their passion, inspiration, purpose… you name it. I have a constant drive to learn more, listen, be generous and re-tell people’s stories to the best of my ability… that’s my inspiration.

What has been the most exciting part about working on Friends! The Musical Parody?

Eleanor: The audience. Being a part of a show such as this is a rare and special occasion. The fan base of Friends is so immense and having the chance to recreate these iconic characters on stage for people is simply joyous. Knowing that the audience is instantly on our side, allows us to play, break the fourth wall (a lot) and live in and outside these characters to create a super-inclusive and interactive piece of theatre. The upbeat and fun energy doesn’t stop at the proscenium arch but is a shared energy throughout the theatre – both performers and audience alike.

And the most challenging?

Eleanor: Because the characters, the show, and the actors themselves are so well known it was challenging to live up to expectations. Being in a fast-paced and comedic parody musical like Friends! The Musical Parody is a skill in itself, let alone layering an impression on top. Finding and embodying Rachel/Jennifer Aniston’s quirks, vocal inflections, physicality, and of course, her personality took a lot of research. I felt like I had to know Rachel better than anyone and that can be pretty difficult when there are so many Friends super fans. Luckily, there are ten years and 236 episodes of research material and I was already a BIG fan of the show!

Do you see any of yourself in Rachel?

Eleanor: To begin with, I wasn’t so sure, but after all this time of getting to know her, I am constantly seeing more of myself in her. Rachel is a cheerleader in every aspect of her life. She is loyal, fun, empathetic, witty, a little vain and she will definitely play the princess when the opportunity arises. The main thing I have in common with Rachel is her courage. She isn’t afraid to go for what she wants. She stumbles her way through life, heart first, and whether that pans out well or not, she picks herself up and keeps going. She also has a witty, sarcastic sense of humour which I love and strongly identify with/strive for!

Why do you think Friends is still so loved, 18 years after the TV show finished?

Eleanor: I think Friends is a show that encapsulates the simple joys of life, celebrating failure and not giving up on love. Things such as these don’t go out of fashion. When I watch it now, I think it glorifies being happy/content in a mostly simple, and mundane day-to-day life. With so many TV series based on these incredible and heightened lives/situations it can make regular day-to-day life feel “less than”.  So I find it comforting to come back to Friends and remind myself that going to a coffee shop with friends or going on a date can be the highlight of my week. That, if I lose a job or get a divorce or am working as a sub-par actor for the rest of my life, I still deserve and can achieve happiness. The comedy, although some has not aged too well, is classic, is effortless and so relatable which allows it to still be funny now or even if it’s the 10th time you’ve seen the episode. I believe people love this show because it has heart, reliability, and is wrapped in a warm hug of nostalgia. Plus it played on every TV in every waiting room, how could you forget it!

For tickets and more information, visit the Friends! The Musical Parody website.

Header photo credit: Oliver Toth

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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