Long reign fore­cast for sin­gin’, actin’, dancin’ role

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

MU­SIC theatre per­former and WAAPA grad­u­ate Gre­tel Scar­lett promised her­self she would never do another iconic role after play­ing Sandy in the 2013-14 pro­duc­tion of Grease.

And then au­di­tions for an Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion of Sin­gin’ in the Rain were an­nounced.

“Peo­ple would con­stantly ask me what it was like play­ing Olivia New­ton-John; I didn’t play Olivia, I played Sandy,” Rock­hamp­ton-raised Scar­lett said.

“I fin­ished with that show and said never again, and then this one came out and I couldn’t stop star­ing at the brief be­cause a triple threat role (singing, act­ing and danc­ing) is rare in Aus­tralia.

“I love (the char­ac­ter) Kathy Selden and think she’s just a ray of sun­shine; she’s like no one else on the stage and doesn’t play the Hol­ly­wood games.”

Scar­lett grew up watch­ing old MGM movies on a Sun­day af­ter­noon, in­spired by Carousel, Kiss Me Kate and Ok­la­homa!, but it was Sin­gin’ in the Rain that was her big­gest in­flu­ence.

“I was prob­a­bly about seven or eight when I first saw it and that Good Morn­ing scene was the thing where I went ‘that’s what I want to do’,” she said.

“That was my en­tire in­spi­ra­tion be­cause we couldn’t af­ford to go to the big city to see pro­fes­sional theatre.”

Scar­lett stopped her rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics classes, although she still com­bines the tech­niques with bal­let and pi­lates in her 45minute full body pre-show warmup, and con­cen­trated on act­ing, singing and danc­ing.

She grad­u­ated from WAAPA in 2008 and has since been in pro­duc­tions of Mamma Mia!, Wicked and Grease.

De­spite hav­ing to nav­i­gate around the drains on stage for the 6000 litres of wa­ter used each time it rains, Scar­lett’s big­gest chal­lenge in Sin­gin’ in the Rain has been danc­ing with sev­eral Don Lock­woods after Adam Gar­cia in­jured his calf and was forced to leave the pro­duc­tion. Grant Almi­rall and Ro­han Browne now share the part, per­form­ing four shows a week each. “Ev­ery­one at first was run­ning around like a head­less chook, freak­ing out that we needed more Don Lock­woods and no one stopped to won­der how I was do­ing,” she said. “I change ev­ery show be­tween Ro­han and Grant; you can’t ask two boys to be the same, so I have to be ready for how­ever they’re go­ing to hold me. “Peo­ple would tell us how dis­ap­pointed they were not to see him (Gar­cia) but we lost the guy that was lead­ing us from the be­gin­ning and all had to pick up the pieces and keep the cur­tain up.” The cur­tain stayed up and the pro­duc­tion will be at Crown Theatre Perth from De­cem­ber 31. Scar­lett hoped au­di­ences of all gen­er­a­tions would take away beau­ti­ful memories. “I saw this gor­geous pic­ture I put on Twit­ter while we were in Mel­bourne where some­one had posted a grand­fa­ther with a walk­ing frame who was hold­ing the hand of a four-year-old girl,” she said. “I think it’s so in­spir­ing for grand­par­ents and par­ents bring­ing along the younger gen­er­a­tion to see what real mu­sic theatre is like. “It’s those memories where peo­ple say it’s spec­tac­u­lar and you didn’t ex­pect it to be as great as it was. You just have to see it to be­lieve it.”

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