On the Couch with Michael Falzon

Michael Falzon oncWho is Michael Falzon?
Actor, singer, sometime-producer (Swing On This; Painted From Memory; Kurt), one of six kids, a halfie (half Australian, half Maltese), vegetarian, peanut butter lover and avid watcher of Q&A.

What would you do different to what you do now?
I would be on time. My father always says that I was late coming out of the womb and I’ve been running late ever since.

Who inspires you and why?
I’ve pretty much always worked for myself. So I’m very much inspired by entrepreneurs. Trailblazers. I love seeing people challenge the status quo or create something unique. Above that, it’s inspiring to see a great musician or singer who can masterfully navigate a song, telling a story in it that you haven’t heard before.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
There are endless ways that I would like to make a difference… end poverty, animal cruelty and cure cancer. But in the meagre way that I can, I hope that anyone who comes to see my work leaves happier for it. that is the real challenge for any artist. You learn early on that it isn’t about just you, it needs to be fun for everyone.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I’ve spent a bit of time in Japan over the last few months. I love it. Very different from city to village to town. The vegetation is so different to ours (I’m getting old, to notice such things) and the people are such wonderful hosts. Peaceful and vibrant all at once. Oh, and New York City. Because it’s fucking awesome.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I live in the heart of Sydney and so it’s a very easy stroll down to Circular Quay for the immediate, awesome views of Sydney Harbour. Even for interstate guests… Tick. Job done. For American or British visitors, you can almost leave them there, mouths agape, go get a coffee and come back in an hour to collect them.

What are you currently reading?
Embarrassingly, I have about five e-books on the go but they have all been trumped by learning material for a string of upcoming concerts.

What are you currently listening to?
We are just about to put on a concert version of Painted From Memory – the Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello album. So, not surprisingly I’m listening to a lot of Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello. Such beautiful writers, especially collaboratively.

Happiness is?
Spending time with my girlfriend, family and friends. I also find great pleasure in my work – whether singing, acting or producing, I love finding fun and challenging projects to sink my teeth into. And travelling to new destinations… That’s the ticket (if you’ll pardon the pun).

What does the future hold for you?
Well, the immediate future has a bunch of concerts in it, skiing (I got the bug just last year), and a working holiday in Europe. That takes me to October then back in Oz for a busy silly season. Past that, the best laid plans, mice, men, blah blah etc.

With an early career that saw Michael working throughout Australasia in musicals by Gilbert & Sullivan, Jerry Herman and Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael’s break-through role came in 2003 when he was hand-picked by Ben Elton and Queen’s Brian May & Roger Taylor to star as ‘Galileo’ in the first international production of We Will Rock You. After unanimous critical acclaim, Michael was invited to reprise the role in Japan and went on to lead the cast to break box-office records in the United Kingdom, playing the show’s first-ever arena in 2010.

Other credits include Sydney Theatre Company’s The Wharf Revue, Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds (Australia/New Zealand & UK/Europe arena tours), Side by Side by Sondheim, the title role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, ‘Homer’ in Adam Guettel’s Floyd Collins, ‘Jason’ in Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days, ‘Stacee Jaxx’ in Rock of Ages, ‘The Arbiter’ in Gale Edwards’ new production of Chess and ‘Leo Szilard’ in Atomic: A New Musical (Australia/USA co-production).

Frequently in demand as a soloist, Michael has performed with Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania Symphony Orchestras (a recording of the latter released through ABC Classics), around the globe for scores of special events and at the 40th birthday celebrations of Sydney Opera House. In the last twelve months alone, Michael co-produced and starred in The Music of Queen with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, selling out three concerts at Sydney Opera House, Swing on This at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival (touring in 2015) and Painted From Memory at City Recital Hall Angel Place (also touring in 2015).

Amongst Michael’s international cabaret, theatrical and concert credits, he has appeared onscreen in Blue Heelers, in the feature, Ned (for director, Abe Forsythe), and on many antipodean talk shows (including GMA, KAK, The Circle, Sunrise) performing too for each of the major networks on Carols by Candlelight (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne), live with Queen in an ACA special and on Dublin’s The Late Late Show. Most recently, Michael featured as ‘Kyle’ in the Ben Elton sitcom, The Wright Way for BBC 1 and in the Universal Pictures’ cinematic release of The War of the Worlds.

Michael will be appearing in Painted From Memory at the Hayes Theatre (18 – 20 June) as part of the 2015 Cabaret Season, and then the Melbourne Recital Centre (2 July) as part of the American Songbook Festival.

Image: Michael Falzon

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