Helen’s superior Sister Act role
Opera singer Helen Medlyn had never the seen the Whoopi Goldberg movie Sister Act until she began thinking about taking a part in its stage counterpart.
When asked to audition, Medlyn figured she’d better have a ‘‘quick’’ watch of the film, and just loved it.
Sister Act: The Musical, is coming to Auckland with Medlyn as Mother Superior. She describes her role as a ‘‘scorcher’’, adding it’s full of joy, delicious lines and ‘‘wicked irreverence’’.
As Mother Superior, Medlyn plays the battle-axe, stuck with the job of providing safe haven in her convent to wannabe diva Deloris Van Cartier, after the singer witnesses a crime.
Medlyn says the chemistry between her and the main character, Keshia Tunks who plays Deloris, is important.
‘‘We have to be at odds, me and her. To have a colleague you bond with, admire and also someone you really like - only then can you do the clashes so wonderfully.’’
Medlyn says she fell in love with the script from the get go.
‘‘Sometimes you read a role and your soul goes this is you. When I got the part, I was like ‘oh Helen, how lucky are you’.’’
Medlyn calls Sister Act ‘‘full-circle’’ return to musical-theatre roots, her her after having enjoyed a lengthy and successful opera career under the wing of singing teacher Janice Webb. In between her own shows, Medlyn teaches performance around the country, most recently at Victoria University, Wellington. She’s also a judge at the New Zealand Aria competition, among many activities.
Medlyn found her love for performing when she was just eight years old, playing a pirate in The Pirates Of Penzance.
She says the exhilaration she felt bowing to the audience from on stage that first night still hits her now all these years later.
‘‘You’re thanking people for coming. Thank you for being here. They had a choice, they could have stayed home.
‘‘When I come out and bow, it’s the most extraordinary thing. I still find that a knockout. I had that feeling when I was eight, and I still have that.’’
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to see Sister Act at Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre. To enter, send an email to email@example.com with Sister Act in the subject line, with your contact details, address and phone number by 5pm on November 19.
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Leading singer Helen Medlyn says playing Mother Superior is a ‘‘scorcher’’ of a part.