Coming back to Queensland for Elvis: A Musical Revolution is very special for performer Lauren Jimmieson, a Brisbane native. It’s been 10 years since she graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium at Griffith University where she trained in a Bachelor of Music (Musical Theatre) and got her start in the industry. We had a chat ahead of the Queensland season of Elvis: A Musical Revolution, opening on 15th June at HOTA on the Gold Coast.

What’s the best thing about working as a touring, musical theatre performer?

The best thing about being on tour is constantly being on a paid holiday! I get to do what I love but I also get to see the entire country, which not many people get to do for their work. You end up going to places you probably never would have taken yourself. I’m very well-travelled thanks to Elvis: A Musical Revolution. We all get along like family and it’s just one big party. There’s no way you can be in a show or come see a show like this and leave with a frown on your face, it’s such a feel-good musical.

Do you have an audience story or stage door story to share from the Elvis tour?

Absolutely! The real, true Elvis fans are getting seats right up the front, and at the very end of our show, Rob Mallett does the Elvis sweat towel moment, where he dabs himself with the towel and throws it into the audience. We’ve seen many an elderly lady fight over those sweat towels! And the most beautiful part is they often bring them to the stage door and get Rob to sign them after the show. It’s so sweet.

How many wig changes do you have in the show? I lost count on your reel!

I think, by chance, I have the most wig changes in the entire show! I’ve got 14 wig changes. It would be so amazing if the audience could see the chaos and the fun that’s happening backstage, there are so many quick-change costumes and wigs, it’s so engaging and exciting, nearly more exciting than what’s happening on stage!

What are some other fun facts about the show?

I think what is really cool, is that incorporated into this show is 40 of Elvis’ hits. We sing them out so you can sing along if you choose to, but they are so beautifully arranged and interwoven. My favourite part is seeing the oldies out there singing along, but also, it’s the grandchildren they are bringing along and passing this love of Elvis on to. It’s amazing seeing these little kids singing along to songs that were written decades ago.

How do you get the songs out of your head when you’re not performing?

The truth is, you don’t. My husband Anthony is also involved in the production on the Gold Coast, he is on dome lighting, and we’ve just succumbed to it now. Every time you’re in the shower, when you boil the kettle, you’re just going to be singing something. But it’s great music, so it’s not so bad.

Lauren Jimmieson

What are your go-to rituals for staying healthy while touring?

For anyone who’s seen Elvis, it’s a very, very physically demanding show. So, for me, taking care of my body is so important. I like going to a yoga or pilates class in the morning for a bit of a warm-up before heading into the theatre just to get in the zone. Vocally, all of us backstage have a straw, and we’re all humming vocal exercises into our straws to prepare for the show. We also hum into the straw after the show as a vocal cool down. Lots of singers walk around with a straw in their handbag, and that’s why.

It’s been 10 years since you graduated from your Musical Theatre degree at the Con. Have you had a chance to reflect on your career in that time and re-evaluate goals?

Absolutely I have. For me, a goal is being in a show as huge a calibre as Elvis, and our show is choreographed by Michael Ralph, who is an award-winning Australian choreographer. It was a goal of mine to be in a show choreographed by him, so definitely a bucket list tick there.

Is there a dream show you’d still like to perform in?

I would really love to do Mary Poppins, that’s a childhood dream.

What advice do you have for the people about to graduate from their Musical Theatre training and enter the industry?

I remember that feeling so well. All of a sudden, you are out there on your own. My simple, big advice is, if you love it, stick with it. What is meant for you will find you. Sometimes it can take a little while to land that first big gig but stick with it if it’s your passion. The show that’s meant to be in your life will find you when the time is right.

Do you have any advice for those about to start auditioning for the Musical Theatre courses around the country?

When we’re auditioning, even in the adult world, we’re always trying to tick somebody else’s box, we’re trying to present ourselves the way we believe they need us to be. But just be yourself in the audition room, because nobody is like you. Show them who you really are so that you can find the right course for you. And you can be nurtured in the way that’s best for your career.

Elvis: A Musical Revolution is running for a strictly limited season from 15th June – 7th July.



On stage photo credit: Nicole Leary