The Fame Reporter interviewed the outstanding star of stage and screen, Alinta Chidzey, she is currently starring as the iconic Velma Kelly in the longest-running American musical, Chicago at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Brisbane.
Alinta is one of Australia’s most captivating leading ladies – and a multi award winner. She is well known for her sassy portrayal of Anita in West Side Story, which saw her nominated for several awards, including the Helpmann, Green Room and Sydney Theatre Awards. Alinta is an acclaimed jazz vocalist, songwriter and recording artist. She recently released her debut album with Hook Turn Orchestra, titled Jazz and the Silver Screen, a collection of beautifully rearranged cinematic soundtracks.
Alinta performed alongside Hugh Jackman in his Broadway to Oz tour (Dainty Group) and has become a fixture on The Production Company stage, playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Magnolia in Show Boat, Kathy Selden in Singin’ In the Rain, Svetlana in Chess which garnered her a Green Room Award for Best Female Artist in a Supporting Role and more. Her screen credits include Wentworth (Foxtel), Winners & Losers (Ch 9), U.S. telemovie The Frontier (Sony), The Dr Blake Mysteries (ABC) and Neighbours (Fremantle).
We talked to Alinta about what drew her to take on the legendary role of Velma Kelly, what is the most rewarding and challenging aspects about performing in the show, the importance of seeing strong women on stage or screen and more!
See our interview below!
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Alinta, what sparked your interest in performing initially?
I saw my sister’s year at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School do a performance with singing and dancing and I immediately knew I wanted to do it. Then later I attended the same school later after studying at Centrestage Performing Arts School.
What about your character, the sassy criminal Velma Kelly drew you to take on this role and what is your ultimate favourite moment in the show?
I saw the production when I was 16 and instantly loved the role of Velma and knew I wanted to play that character.
I mean who wouldn’t want to have the best entrance in Musical Theatre and sing ‘All That Jazz’?
Do you have a role in musical theatre/straight theatre that you are dying to play?
Musical – Eliza in ‘Hamilton’
Play – Maggie in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’
Chicago is known for the incredible Bob Fosse inspired dance moves, how has this production incorporated his dance style and what is your favourite number choreography – wise in the show?
There are so many great numbers in the show it’s hard to pin down a favourite, but doing ‘All That Jazz’ is a winner. The challenge is constantly working hard on the inside to seem like the choreography is effortless.
The Fosse style is so detailed and structured towards storytelling which is why I love it so much. It’s not about being flashy doing flips and cheap tricks… it’s all about style.
What has been the most rewarding and challenging parts about performing in this classic story?
It’s been fantastic to explore the world of the dark humour within the show. The script is so well written, basically a laugh a minute. How could one not enjoy hearing an audience laugh. The show is physically demanding, so keeping fit and healthy is vital. We are constantly maintaining our bodies and voices like athletes doing 8 shows a week.
Chicago is one of the most popular musicals of all time, known for its powerful female characters, why do you believe we need to see strong women on stage or screen?
I think it’s especially important for young women to see other women as strong role models. We are changing the landscape of society.
Seeing intelligent women working more, standing up for their rights and being independent is empowering.
What do you like about stage work versus film and TV?
I like the immediacy of having an audiences response on stage. The fact that we are all on the journey together has an energy in the theatre like no other. With film I enjoy the intimacy of doing a scene without feeling you have to hit the back of the theatre and you only do it a few times for the camera.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Prince, Meryl Streep and Joaquin Phoenix
What is it like being part of a smash Broadway hit and what have you learned about yourself throughout this process?
I’ve learnt that Velma, like myself faces a lot of knock backs but always finds a way to keep going because of her self belief and love for what she does.
She’s a force to be reckoned with. To own your power is a lot of fun!
What do you hope audiences take away from this production of Chicago?
I hope they can forget their troubles and have a good belly laugh. This show allows audiences to really enjoy themselves. I believe most audiences have been walking away with this feeling, which delights me.
Fame Reporter Word Play
Sexy, sophisticated and dark.
Swimming with the whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef.
Comedy or Drama
Go-to Karaoke song
Favourite mantra when you are down
I do a meditation which focuses on all my senses to keep me present.
Any secret talents
I’m a dolphin whisperer.
Dressing Room necessity
Voost (vitamin booster).
Jazz – Gregory Porter.
Favourite song in the show and favourite to perform
All that Jazz.
Can’t live without
Place you want to travel to
To have my own Food and Travel show.
TV Show Binge
I love ‘Abstract’ and ‘Chef’s Table’on Netflix.
Finally, favourite thing about performing
The people I work with and also knowing I might have changed someone’s day who watched the show.
Thank-you Alinta for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for Chicago at The Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Brisbane from 2 November – 6 December!
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All photos – Supplied