It’s not just because he’s “ours”, local boy made good etc, but Hugh Sheridan is a really nice guy. When asked how he felt about coming home he said it was always great but really special this time as California Crooners Club happened because he was asked to do something with the Adelaide Fringe this year. Hugh was happy to put together something with two talented mates, Emile Welman and Gabe Roland – they had been discussing it for a while and this was the opportunity.
Although Hugh is undoubtedly a Triple Threat – he trained at NIDA (Bachelor of Dramatic Art Course), Australian Ballet School (Advance Diploma of Dance) and he studied Opera at the Victorian College of the Arts – he himself says that music was his first love. But he enjoys all genres of theatre and music. Hugh grew up with music in the house – his father is Jazz Musician Denis Sheridan – watching MGM musicals and making his role models Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly.
I asked Hugh about pre-professional days in Adelaide. He said he really enjoyed working with some of the people and commented on how professional amateur theatre here is and what a good training ground it was. He has fond memories of working with Unley Youth Theatre, The Hills Musical Co and the Met. It is because of his fond memories of Adelaide and the Festival and Fringe that he is so glad to be premiering California Crooners Club here. There was an opportunity to try the show out in LA, but Hugh wanted to save it for his hometown. Hugh feels Adelaide is going through a renaissance with so much new building and activity in the heart of the city – it has come to life again.
Hugh speaks very highly of his collaborators in this venture, saying they are both very talented individuals and he’s looking forward to working with them closely. The show is a blending of genres which will showcase swing and even some rap. Hugh commented that with the wide array of music that is gaining popularity, it is a good time to combine old and new.
He describes living in LA as awesome, a melting pot of musicians that gave him the chance to see and meet some top rate performers, but it was a massive transition. 2015 was a hard year with plenty of personal hurdles and time spent waiting for his green card when he couldn’t leave but he couldn’t work! However, it gave him lots of time to concentrate on his music.
Hugh has performed in many different types of productions, from his famous stint on Packed to the Rafters to stage performances with Geoffrey Rush and others and a mini-series on INXS. Most recently we saw him on our small screens in the ABC production of The Divorce, an opera written for TV. Hugh’s performance was well received, but I asked how it felt doing something so different? He admitted that while they were working on it he had his doubts but enjoyed it immensely. “It was great” he said, “challenging and different”.
When we got back to chatting about California Crooners Club, I asked what he hoped audiences would take away from it and enjoy. His reply was “I just want everyone to enjoy the performance as much as I do while performing!” Hugh and his friends are touring this show around Australia and then heading back to LA with it, and I understand there is a record release in the offing.
I thoroughly recommend that you don’t miss this Adelaide performer and his LA friends in this year’s Fringe production California Crooners Club, and Hugh is hoping to see lots of friendly faces!
California Crooners Club With Hugh Sheridan plays from 12 – 18 February at the State Library of South Australia in the Mortlock Chamber; then from 8-14 March at Gluttony – The Octagon. Tickets from FringeTix
Interview by Fran Edwards