With Christmas less than a month away, KMPR are kicking off the festive celebrations with one of Australia’s leading ladies: Marina Prior.
You may know her as Christine Daae in the original Australian production of Phantom of the Opera, Maria in West Side Story, Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins, Baroness Schraeder in the recent Australian tour of The Sound of Music, or even as ‘that nice lady who sings every year at Carols by Candlelight’. There isn’t a lot that Marina Prior has not done in her performance career over the last three decades.
Adelaide audiences are in for a treat on December 3 and 4, as Marina Prior will be performing two concerts at the stunningly renovated Regal Theatre.
I recently caught up with Marina, just after it was announced she had landed the leading role in the musical 9 to 5 next year, and needless to say she was very excited about it.
“I love that the three protagonists are females, and that in itself in a musical is unusual. It’s sad this is still the case, though it is slowly changing. In this show we are not there as the wife, or the girlfriend, or the mum – we are actually there driving the narrative forward. It’s about female friendship and alliance, which is very powerful, rather than pitting the leading ladies up against each other. It’s about working together, which I love. The original script writer from the movie has written the libretto for the show, Patricia Resnick, and it’s really witty and clever dialogue. I saw the show in London and absolutely loved it. I am also a huge Dolly fan, so it’s the perfect thing for me. There also aren’t a lot of leading roles written for women who are over 50, so having that in this show is fantastic.”
With Christmas fast approaching, Marina shared with me why she loves the silly season.
“I just love the joy of Christmas. I love how it brings people together. The spirit of Christmas seems to transcend all cultures or religions – it is pure joy. It has so much positivity. After the last two years, with everyone across Australia suffering in some way or another, I think we need things like Christmas. We need simplicity, laughter and joy.”
Christmas comes with a very large songbook, from traditional religious and cultural carols, through the rock’n’roll Christmas songs of the 50s, to festive contemporary songs released by pop artists. I was curious to know if Marina had a personal favourite.
“That’s almost like asking who my favourite child is! There are just so many. I do love Mary’s Boy Child. I sang that on Carols By Candlelight when I was less than 48 hours away from giving birth to my first son. I knew I was having a boy, so I have this sentimental attachment to that song.”
A Christmas Celebration’will be a true celebration of Christmas in the glorious setting of the Regal Theatre.
“I’m very excited to be coming back to Adelaide. This will be my first Christmas show for the year – in fact, my first Christmas show in a while!
“I’ll be joined by David Cameron, who is an absolute maestro leading on piano and guitar, as well as a string quartet, bass and percussion. So, it’s a six-piece Adelaide ensemble. It’s a great combination of instruments and we have great local Adelaide musicians playing with us as well. They played with us for the last show I did in Adelaide, and they just were amazing.
“I also love Christmas music. We’re not just doing Christmas songs; we are throwing in some musical theatre pieces and some other pieces as well.”
A Christmas Celebration, starring Marina Prior, will be performing at The Regal Theatre, 275 Kensington Rd, on the evening of Friday December 3 at 8pm and a special matinee performance on Saturday December 4 at 2.30pm. Full details and bookings can be made at https://www.trybooking.com/BVIKE
Interview by Ben Stefanoff