Ok­la­homa! bound

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Suburbs Weekly - By TANYA MACNAUGHTON

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.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d441186

Bren­dan Han­son stars as Curly McLain in Ok­la­homa! at the Re­gal Theatre in

Septem­ber.

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