Q&A

Lucy Du­rack, singer, ac­tor, dancer, 34

The Weekend Australian - Magazine - - FRONT - By Penny Durham Pho­tog­ra­phy Jesse Mar­low

Is it a ter­ri­ble cliché to call you a triple threat? My hus­band [dancer, chore­og­ra­pher and teacher Christo­pher Horsey] is an amaz­ing dancer, so I feel like I’m a 2½ threat – I can dance enough, I’m a singer-ac­tor-mover.

You were in the mu­si­cal Wicked for four and a half years, in­clud­ing a na­tional tour. Did you ever get sick of the tunes? I know it sounds crazy but I never did. I grew up lov­ing The Wizard of Oz, and play­ing Glinda the good witch in Wicked was my dream, a ma­jor life goal. So I never lost a sense of how lucky I was. I only fin­ished up when I was five months’ preg­nant with my daugh­ter Polly, who’s now two.

And now you’ve joined The Wizard of Oz in the same role, right? Yes – and re­vis­it­ing the Glinda char­ac­ter in a very dif­fer­ent, more min­i­mal­ist way is very spe­cial to me.

You won a Help­mann and a Syd­ney The­atre Award for your per­for­mance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Is com­edy your pre­ferred medium or are you just a nat­u­ral? Thank you! I don’t think I’m that good at it but I’m a huge fan. I’m cur­rently work­ing with co­me­dian Joel Creasey and I’m in awe of peo­ple like that who are so nat­u­rally gifted. There’s so much great com­edy in Aus­tralia at the mo­ment.

What’s the silliest thing that’s hap­pened to you dur­ing a pro­duc­tion? I once walked three Melbourne blocks with the Tin Man’s chin stuck to my bot­tom.

Did you al­ways want to be on stage? Grow­ing up in Perth, I was in school mu­si­cals and choirs, and in the WA Opera’s chil­dren’s choir for Car­men when I was 11. But I didn’t know any­one who did it for a liv­ing; I never thought of it as a ca­reer un­til in Year 12 a teacher told me I could make a go of it.

You’ve been rack­ing up a lot of screen cred­its, most re­cently in The Let­down for ABC and Net­flix, and Sis­ters for Ten. What are your roles in those two se­ries? In The Let­down I play So­phie, a highly strung he­li­copter mother. In Sis­ters I play a chil­dren’s en­ter­tainer with an ad­dic­tion to painkillers – and I’m one of 100 chil­dren fa­thered by Barry Otto as an IVF doc­tor. It’s a beau­ti­ful, quirky, quite dark show.

Do you pre­fer stage or screen? I like va­ri­ety. It’s been my per­fect year: I’ve done some con­cert work, some record­ing [with a self-ti­tled jazz al­bum], some stage work and a healthy dose of screen – and try­ing to see my fam­ily amongst it all.

Hav­ing a child clearly hasn’t slowed you down at all. Just when I thought things might wind down they did the op­po­site! I’m lucky to have a re­ally sup­port­ive hus­band and mother.

You’re from a fa­mous fam­ily of West Aus­tralian pi­o­neers and pas­toral­ists. What was that like grow­ing up? I’ve al­ways been very proud of be­ing a Du­rack. It was a fam­ily full of strong men and very strong women. I was lucky enough to meet Dame Mary and El­iz­a­beth Du­rack when I was eight or nine. Mary wrote our fam­ily story [ Kings in Grass Cas­tles], about com­ing across the top of Aus­tralia and set­tling in the Kim­ber­ley. They took sev­eral hun­dred cat­tle and three years to get there. When­ever I’m hav­ing a tough time I think, “If they could do that, you can do this…”

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