Medlyn scores superior role
‘‘Sometimes you read a role and, in a way, your soul goes, 'This is you.'’’
Opera singer Helen Medlyn had never the seen the Whoopi Goldberg movie Sister Act, until she began thinking about taking a role in its stage counterpart. So, when asked to audition, Medlyn figured she’d better have a ‘‘quick’’ watch of the movie, and just loved it.
Sister Act: The Musical , is coming to Auckland with Northcote’s Medlyn as Mother Superior. Medlyn describes her role as a ‘‘scorcher’’.
As Mother Superior, Medlyn plays the role of 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 said the chemistry between her and the main character, Keshia Tunks was important. ‘‘We have to be at odds, me and her. So to have a colleague that you bond with, admire and also someone you really like - only then can you do the clashes so wonderfully.’’
Medlyn said she fell in love with the script from the get go. ‘‘Sometimes you read a role and, in a way, your soul goes, ‘This is you’,’’ she said. Then, when I got the part, I was like: ‘‘Oh Helen, how lucky are you!’’
Medlyn calls Sister Act, ‘‘full-circle’’ return to her her musical-theatre roots, after years of 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. She is also a judge at the New Zealand Aria competition, among other things. She also spends a lot of her time riding her Harley Davidson.
Medlyn found her love for performing when she was just 8 years old, playing a pirate in The Pirates Of Penzance. She said 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. They had a choice, they could have stayed home...I still find that a knock-out. I had that feeling when I was 8, and I still have that.’’
❚ Sister Act is on from November 25 to December 16 at Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre. Go in the draw to win a double pass to the November 29 show by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with Sister Act in the subject line, your contact details, suburb and reason why you would like to go by November 20.
Helen Medlyn plays Mother Superior in the stageshow Sister Act: The Musical. Helen Medlyn