FROM WICKED WITCH TO GHOST
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.
Jemma Rix in GhostTheMusical.