On the Couch with Amanda Harrison

Amanda Harrison_photo by Kurt Sneddon oncWho is Amanda Harrison?
Actor, singer, wife, mother and diva! Known for roles in Musical Theatre, most notably Elphaba in the original Australian production of Wicked and Oz in We Will Rock You (Helpmann Award). Noted Facebook and Twitter addict and follower of The Voice Australia.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would’ve done better at math and science and become a doctor of some description.

Who inspires you and why?
Great female voices inspire me. Adele, Sara Bareilles, Sia, Whitney Houston among many others. People who are brave and talented and make fabulous music. Julian Burnside the Australian Barrister, human rights and refugee advocate inspires me to be open minded, kind and focused on humanity instead of politics. Ricky Gervais inspires me. He isn’t afraid to share his views and he makes great television.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Bring awareness to important issues. I would love to be an ambassador of some charity or cause one day. If I had super powers, I would love to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere warm where you can lie on a beach. I don’t understand people who go on skiing trips. Why spend loads of money going some place where you freeze your bum off and quite possibly break a bone in the process!

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Probably Federation Square. Even though some think it’s an eyesore, I think it’s quite lovely and there are restaurants, bars, live music and sometimes sporting events shown on screens. It’s fun for the kids to run around and there is also ACMI, which always has great exhibitions and workshops going on.

What are you currently reading?
Stephen King’s Different Seasons, which includes four novellas including The Shawshank Redemption and Apt Pupil, which is a horrifying story of a young boy that gets caught up with a Nazi war criminal. It also has one called The Body, which is the story the movie Stand By Me was based on.

What are you currently listening to?
Sia – 1000 Forms of Fear. I think the song Chandelier is dark and brilliant! Her voice is crazy.

Happiness is?
Getting through a day without yelling at your kids.

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully some stability of employment. I know that’s a tough ask for people in the business of show, but hopefully one day this may be our reality. More roles in musicals and possibly straight theatre and TV. And the ongoing task of being a mother of two kids and providing a safe and happy environment for them to grow in.

Amanda Harrison’s performance credits span three continents including the USA, the UK and Australia. Amanda made her professional debut playing Jenny in Aspects of Love. Other theatrical credits in Australia include Betty in Sunset Boulevard; Les Miserables; The Journey Girl; Ellen in Miss Saigon; Liza in The Boy From Oz; and Ellie in Leader Of The Pack.

She also appeared in Celebrity Autobiography at The Sydney Opera House and We Will Rock You, for which she was awarded the 2004 Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Oz. For The Production Company, Amanda has appeared in Mame; She Loves Me; Guys And Dolls; Oklahoma! and as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes.

Amanda is most well known for originating the role of Elphaba in the Australian production of Wicked for the Gordon Frost Organisation. For playing the role, Amanda was nominated for Green Room, Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. In 2012 Amanda also created the role of Paula in the World Premiere of An Officer And A Gentleman.

On London’s West End Amanda has appeared as Ali in Mamma Mia! She was also an Original London Cast member of We Will Rock You. Amanda’s TV appearances in the UK include Parkinson, Children In Need and guest roles in Oscar Charlie, Grange Hill and Casualty. In New York Amanda sang at Carnegie Hall in Australia Plays Broadway as part of G’day Australia Week in 2009.

In concert Amanda has performed in Do You Hear The People Sing? in Shanghai, China alongside Lea Salonga, Michael Ball and David Harris, and also in The Music of Queen – A Rock and Symphonic Spectacular with Michael Falzon and Mig Ayesa in February 2014 at The Sydney Opera House and in Perth WA. Amanda voices characters on a new animated series called Get Ace for Galaxy Pop and Channel 10.

Amanda will be performing her show Up Close and Reasonably Personal as part of the 2014 Cabaret Soiree at Perth’s His Majesty Theatre from 21 – 23 August. For more information, visit: His Majesty’s Theatre Facebook Page.

Image: Amanda Harrison – photo by Kurt Sneddon

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