MUSIC theatre performer Brendan Hanson is at the stage in his career where he still has to audition but his creative input is also key.
So when Ian Westrip asked the WAAPA lecturer and director, who is a commissioned writer and resident artist at Black Swan State Theatre Company, to recommend a largescale musical for newly formed not-for-profit MUSAE – The Music Theatre Company of WA – Hanson pitched Oklahoma!.
“It’s a piece that’s so easily refreshed, it’s accessible and it has music everyone knows with Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey with the Fringe on Top and I Can’t Say No,” the 1994 WAAPA graduate said.
“Then it was a process of putting the team together and it’s a fantastic one with Adam Mitchell directing, Claudia Alessi doing the choreography and Ian (Westrip) waving the baton.”
Hanson also secured the role of Curly in the American musical love story set at the turn of the 20th century and will pull on his cowboy boots opposite Cottesloe soprano Emma Pettemerides as feisty girl next door Laurey and baritone Ian Cross playing the villainous farmhand Jud.
Although Hanson has directed Pettemerides before, he has never been her onstage beau. But he has performed opposite Cross as his nemesis in a 2012 production of Les Miserables where Cross was Javert to Hanson’s Jean Valjean.
“There’s a familiarity there but these are completely different characters. It worked well last time and it’s already doing its job in the rehearsal room this time,” Hanson said.
Hanson said he found his Midwest pioneering spirit the same way he approached every role – by doing a lot of research, which this time involved extensive reading and watching rodeo footage on YouTube.
“These people ploughed out into the middle of the US and carved up the hard and unforgiving land,” he said.
“I’ve been getting myself into the mindset, then it’s the accent and flow of the text.
“So much is about the swagger and the hat and as cliche as they sound, they are the foundation of a cowboy’s look and the reason for the way he carries himself. ”
Community Newspaper Group has 10 double passes to give away to Oklahoma! Enter at www.communitynews.com.au before August 10.
Brendan Hanson stars as Curly McLain in Oklahoma! at the Regal Theatre in