The Fame Reporter interviewed Australia’s own John O’Hara, who will perform in the launch of a brand new musical concept album for composer Bradley McCaw entitled ‘Any Moment.’ The launch concert will take place at Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel on the 25 and 26 June. Soon thereafter he will continue as Ned Schneebly in the Australian tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘School of Rock’ musical!
John is an in demand actor, singer and radio host. Professionally, John has worked extensively across Australia and abroad. Highlights include Hair, Shout!, Eureka, Leader Of The Pack, High Society, Oklahoma!, Dusty, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Rocky Horror Show, Cats, The Boy From Oz, Rock of Ages, Singin’ In The Rain, Elegies, Grease, Legally Blonde the tenth anniversary tour of Wicked, Stephen Sondheim’s Company and Songs For A New World.
John played Rodney in the new all Australian re-staging of Dusty for The Production Company in Melbourne, Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert throughout Europe in 2017 and recently starred in Songs From An Unmade Bed as part of American Song Cycle: A Double Bill.
John’s one-man show Dedications premiered to critical acclaim at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival curated in 2015 by Barry Humphries and has since toured Australia nationally.
We talked to John about his involvement in the ‘Any moment’ concert, his role in the Australian tour of ‘School of rock’, his dream roles and more.
See our interview below!
Welcome to The Fame Reporter John, what sparked your interest in performing initially?
I grew up in Perth and was OBSESSED with the TV show ‘Johnny Young Talent Time.’ The last season they did was the cast that I’d fallen in love with. I used to tell people I was going to be on the show (flat out lies, I never even auditioned!), so when the show was cancelled I was devastated.
Some time after my Auntie took my Cousin and I to see the ’92 John Farnham arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar. I was HOOKED.
What is the ‘Any Moment’ concept album about and what drew you to be involved in the concert launch at Chapel off Chapel?
This is my first involvement with ‘Any Moment’ and Brad has been working on it tirelessly for a long time now. The concept album is all the songs that exist within the musical.
What drew me to be a part of it is Brad. We’ve known each other a few years now and he asked me as we’re fans of each others work. Chapel off Chapel is a very dear place to me as Melbourne is my adopted home and I’ve performed there many times. It really is the Victorian hub for new, independent works.
Any Moment will be part of the The Melbourne Cabaret Festival this year so it’ll be BUZZING.
What song from the album will you be performing and what do you love about it?
I’ll be performing two songs at the concert. My solo number is ‘Rock And A Hard Place.’ I LOVE this song. It’s dangerous and contemporary and a big belter. It also paints a picture that isn’t necessary nice or comfortable and I love that. I love playing those dark emotions that we all experience.
I’ll also be performing in ’20 More Till’ which is the opening number from ‘Any Moment.’ This is gorgeous. It introduces you to all the characters and sets up the feel for the show.
Brad is very gifted as both a lyricist and composer so it’s a real treat to perform his work.
Do you have any role in musical theatre/straight theatre that you are dying to play?
Oh my god! SO many! Miss Trunchbull in ‘Matilda’, Hedwig in ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’, Lord Farquaad in ‘Shrek’, King George in ‘Hamilton’, Kashoggi in ‘We Will Rock You’, The Baker or the Bakers WIFE in ‘Into The Woods.’
Congratulations on your success landing the role of the iconic Ned Schneebly in ‘School of Rock’, what do you look for in a role and what have you learned working with the kids in the show?
Thank you! I’m loving being a part of ‘School of Rock’ and playing Ned is ridiculous fun. I love roles that are quirky and are integral to the telling of the story. Ned is both of those things.
Being onstage with the children is literally mind blowing. Our children, all of them, are just the most talented, kind and diverse bunch of rascals.
These kids are our industry’s future and it’s exciting to watch them grow and fly.
They teach us all to play and to enjoy every moment. They never get tired or bored and it’s infectious.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Oh LORD! Gaga because I’m obsessed. Neil Patrick Harris because he’s my idol and Freddie Mercury because his music is constantly in my ears.
How does it feel to be part of the ‘Any moment’ launch and being involved in the process of an up and coming original Australian musical?
I feel very lucky. Sometimes in all the craziness I forget that I’m living my dream. Being a part of any new work is very exciting. Being a part of a new Australian work is important.
We need new Aussie works and we’re becoming serious contenders with success stories like Eddie Perfect and Tim Minchin.
Brad is part of a small but impressive group of Aussie writers who are making a difference and an impact. I’m proud to be a small part of that.
Who or what inspires you?
Kindness and mindfulness inspire me. It’s simple but it’s more difficult than you think. Hard work inspires me. The truth and admitting you’re wrong inspires me.
As far as people go… my mum, my brother and anyone who embarks on a career in the arts… it’s really bloody hard! But totally worth it.
Fame Reporter Word Play
I am one!
Go-to Karaoke song
I hate karaoke and refuse to take part… I need a rehearsal!!!
Any secret talents
Drinking expensive wine
Dressing Room necessity
Water and photographs and some kind of delicious smelling diffuser.
Gotta learn my lyrics!
Nico Tortorelli from Younger.
Proud to be a part of it.
Favourite ‘School of Rock’ Song
Stick It To The Man.
Place you want to travel to
To be married.
TV Show Binge
Finally, favourite thing about performing
All of it. I truly believe it’s what I’m supposed to be doing and in many ways I live for it.
Thank-you John for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for the launch of ‘Any Moment.’
John will be performing at the concert release of the Any Moment ‘Studio Concept Recording’, Melbourne will get the exclusive first look at a new work from award winning writer/performer Bradley McCaw as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival!
Featuring an all-star cast including Natalie O’Donnell (Mamma Mia!) John O’Hara (School of Rock, #VAL) and Helpmann winner Kerrie-Anne Greenland (Les Miserables, Pictures), Vidya Makan (Sunday in the Park with George), Du Toit Bredenkamp (Molly, Sound of Music), Jessie Singleton (Melbourne Shakespeare Company) Anthony Craig (Sunday in the Park with George), Bradley McCaw (Becoming Bill) and more!
Set over the course of 24 hours, the work begins at Midnight on New Years Eve, and moves throughout a single town, hearing stories from various individuals, as the clock tumbles toward Midnight and a New Year.
Inspired by hit musicals like ‘Songs for A New World,’ and ‘Closer Than Ever,’ Any Moment is proof of the new generation of Australia writers and artists bringing exciting world class independent works to stage here.
Come and see it for yourself! FIRST. Before New York & London.
Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 June
Chapel Off Chapel
For more information
Old Fashioned Production Company
All photos – Supplied