On the Couch with John O’Hara

John OHara oncWho is John O’Hara?
Hey! I’m John O’Hara. I’m an actor/singer who is bringing my one man show, Dedications to Chapel off Chapel and GPAC this August, after premiering it at the 2015 Adelaide Cabaret Festival… and I’m bloody excited to be doing so!

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would stop overthinking EVERYTHING. I’m getting better at it, but I’m wired in a way that makes me question, ponder and lose sleep over the most ridiculous things… it’s almost comedic.

Who inspires you and why?
Lots of people inspire me but right now; the creative team behind Dedications spring to mind. Anthony Harkin, Luke Hunter and Melanie Hawkins have all shown incredible talent, strength and compassion in pushing and helping me to bring Dedications to life. They’re all wonderful artists in their own right and their generosity towards this project is incredibly humbling, selfless and inspiring.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
My friend, actor Esther Hannaford said to me a few months ago ‘imagine if everyone everywhere practiced being mindful for a period of time, and how different that would be’. It stuck with me and got me thinking about the change it might bring. I’m trying it as much as I can myself after Esther planted the seed.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It’s a toss up between Byron Bay or Rottnest Island depending on what side of the country I’m on. I’m a Perth boy originally so Rottnest holds a special place in my heart, and Byron is a place that hold special memories as an adult. Both destinations are simple, beautiful and have incredible beaches.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I have regular friends/family visitors from Perth. We always walk The Botanical Gardens because it’s in my opinion the most beautiful walk in Melbourne, eat at my local cafe The Premises in Kensington because they do the best breakfast on the west side and then see whatever show I’m working on so this time it’ll be Dedications at Chapel off Chapel.

What are you currently reading?
Right after I got back from the Adelaide Cabaret Festival I saw a copy of Barry Humphries biography Handling Edna in a second hand book shop. After meeting and seeing him perform at the festival I’ve become a huge fan and I want to know everything!

What are you currently listening to?
Well, Broadway legend Audra Mcdonald is coming to town in October; Luke and I have tickets, so I’m listening to her latest album Go Back Home and I’m always listening to Sara Barelilles… always.

Happiness is?
Christmas in Perth. I do my best to get back every year. Summer nights, bbq’s, early morning swims, my brothers back yard, my nephew, shopping with mum and talking about the new year.

What does the future hold for you?
Who knows? Immediately we have some dates booked for Dedications around the country. Beyond that, I’m unsure… the life of an actor! I have for some time wanted to pursue the medium of radio so I’m laying the foundations for that. And auditions… they never get any easier.

Originally from Perth, John O’Hara graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and has spent the past decade carving out an international career as an actor. Professional theatre credits include Shout!, Hair, Eureka (original cast), High Society, Leader of the Pack, Oklahoma, Dusty (original cast), Jesus Christ Superstar (South Africa) and The Rocky Horror Show.

John enjoyed a 28 city engagement playing glam rocker Rum Tum Tugger in the international touring production of Cats. He toured throughout Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, the Philippines and Australia with the show receiving wide critical acclaim. 2011 saw John perform in The Boy From Oz alongside Todd Mckenney before joining the original Australian cast of Broadway hit, Rock of Ages. He then transferred directly into the international touring company of Wicked in Singapore.

John appeared in The Production Company’s acclaimed re-staging of Singin’ in the Rain as Roscoe Dexter and returned to Wicked for the 10th anniversary production. He is also part of the continuing workshop process for new Australian musicals Happy People by Matthew Robinson and Georgy Girl, based on the story of the Australian pop group The Seekers.

 John has worked with some of the worlds most well known and respected theatre practitioners including Gale Edwards, David Atkins, Jason Coleman, Nancy Hayes, John O’Connell, Lea Salonga and the late Ross Coleman, and provides the male voice to new and popular vocal warm up app for singers Warm me Up for iPhone available through itunes.

After a critically acclaimed season of his one-man show, Dedications at the 2015 Adelaide Cabaret Festival, John will be performing at Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel: 14 – 15 August; Perth’s His Majesty’s Theatre: 20 – 22 August; and GPAC: 28 – 29 August. For more information, visit: www.facebook.com for details.

Image: John O’Hara