FROM WICKED WITCH TO GHOST

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

MU­SI­CAL theatre per­former Jemma Rix will look and sound quite dif­fer­ent to the last time Perth au­di­ences saw her per­form at Crown Theatre.

Gone is the ‘greeni­fied’ witch El­phaba of Wicked and in her place stands the griev­ing Molly Jensen in Ghost The Mu­si­cal, based on the 1990 film star­ring Pa­trick Swayze and Demi Moore.

Molly is a role Rix has dreamt of play­ing since first hear­ing the sound­track in 2012 while tour­ing Wicked in Korea, where she lis­tened to it ev­ery day on the hour­long trip from her ho­tel to the theatre.

As fate would have it, Ghost The Mu­si­cal Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion au­di­tions were called last year while she was on a huge Euro­pean trip with hus­band Josh.

“Nor­mally with mu­si­cals you find out quite ahead of time, so you have a chance to pre­pare your­self, but this just came out of nowhere while I was in Italy,” Rix said.

“I got an email that said Ghost was au­di­tion­ing in 10 days and I was dev­as­tated be­cause I was on this mas­sive nine-week trip with my hus­band, hav­ing just fin­ished Wicked in Perth.

“I hadn’t sung in a month and there I was in Rome, singing in a ho­tel con­fer­ence room so I didn’t dis­turb any­one, while Josh filmed two songs and two scenes on his iPhone.”

On land­ing the role, op­po­site Rob Mills as her part­ner Sam Wheat who is killed af­ter a mug­ging goes wrong, Rix said she had the ar­du­ous task of be­ing re­spect­ful to her char­ac­ter’s jour­ney.

“You re­ally want the jour­ney to feel heart­felt, not forced, and find this bal­ance of strength but also sad­ness and grief as well,” she said.

“It was a daunting feel­ing know­ing I wanted to cap­ture that eight shows a week.

“Those first scenes are so vi­tal be­cause Sam is only alive for the first 11 to 12 min­utes of the show, and if you don’t be­lieve in their love, then the story doesn’t have that strength and power.”

Rix said Mills, whom she worked with on Wicked, had been fab­u­lous to find a per­fect bal­ance with and the act­ing side of her role had given her a big con­fi­dence boost.

“I played El­phaba for so long, I had my doubts of whether I could play an­other char­ac­ter,” she said.

“I’ve con­quered that fear and feel con­fi­dent in my Molly that she’s true and de­tailed.”

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group has 10 dou­ble passes to Ghost the Mu­si­cal on Satur­day, May 21. En­ter at www.com­mu­ni­tynews.com.au by April 4.

Tanya MacNaughton

Jemma Rix in GhostTheMu­si­cal.

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