MAKING her way to the theatre stage feels as if Lisa McCune is coming home.
There is a feeling of warmth and safety she finds in musical theatre.
"I grew up in our family's lounge room listening to my mother's musical theatre LP's.
"Rogers and Hammerstein songs were always my favourite."
Worlds away from a young Lisa singing along to records, the performer will grace the stage of the QPAC Lyric Theatre in Brisbane for the Queensland season of the King and 1 in April.
Many would know Lisa McCune as the four-time Gold Logie winner and her role as Senior Constable Maggie Doyle on Blue Heelers.
But her roots in performing started with musical theatre taking on the role or Dorothy in her high school production of the Wizard of Oz before being accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAPPA).
A similar role to that of Maria von Trapp she played in the Sound of Music in 2000, McCune will play English governess Anna Leonownes, while internationally acclaimed opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes takes on his second musical theatre role as the King of Siam.
McCune describes the show in three words as opulent, romantic and funny.
For McCune the role of Anna is a terrific role for any woman to play.
"She is adventurous, she travels to Siam, when she could go to any place in the world, and I admire that about her.
"Anna also has a love of children, a love of music and education."
When playing a particular role McCune likes to find something within the character she can relate to.
"I like to find the human being traits, the sarcasm or the quick one-liner that help fine tune a character," she said.
In the King and I McCune wears some beautifully detailed pieces.
"The costumes are incredibly beautiful. With any Roger and Hammerstein shows they are beautiful and transport people.
"As a actor it is when I put on the shoes of the character I feel in role, plus the dresses I wear are from the 1860s and dictate how I move and work on stage," she said.
Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini and Australian theatre producer John Frost were thrilled with the cast they have assembled.
"I know this production will be as magnificent as the original, which is remembered as a milestone in Australian theatrical history. It brings me great joy to be able to return to this special production with Opera Australia following our huge success with South Pacific, Mr Frost said.
"Teddy and Lisa coming together worked wonderfully well in South Pacific and it seemed to us that we should capitalise on that success and continue with it. They were both terrific in South Pacific and the audience really responded to them as I'm sure they will in The King and I," said Mr Terracini.
The King and I was Rodgers and Hammerstein's fifth musical together and is considered one of the jewels in their crown. It was based on Margaret Landon's 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam, which took its inspiration from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a British governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1860s.
The beautiful score includes the songs "I Whistle a Happy Tune", "Getting to Know You", "Shall We Dance?" and "Hello, Young Lovers".
A hit on Broadway in 1951, where it starred Gertrude Lawrence (who died during the season) and Yul Brynner, the show ran for three years before touring. The first London production opened in 1953, enjoying similar success.
In 1956 it became a famous film starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner who won an Academy Award for his performance.
McCune said she loves to tell a story through song.
"In the King and I there are moments when we sing when we can't talk and that is the beauty of musical theatre," she said.
The King and I opens in Brisbane at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in April 2014, then moves to the Princess Theatre, Melbourne in June, followed by a Sydney season at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House in September. http://www.thekingandimusical.com.au.
Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane
Season: From 15 April, 2014
Performance Times: Wed-Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Tues, Wed & Sat 1.30pm & Sun 3pm
Price: Please refer to QPAC website for current pricing qpac.com.au
Bookings: qpac.com.au or phone 136 246
Groups of 10 or more 07 3840 7466
Premium Tickets & Packages visit SHOWBIZ.COM.AU or 1300 4 SHOWS
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