The Fame Reporter interviewed musical theatre superstar Jayde Westaby who plays the iconic role of Donna in Matt Ward Entertainment’s latest production the hit musical Mamma Mia the Musical. The show is currently playing at The Star Gold Coast until 11 July 2021.
We talked to Jayde about returning to the joyous ABBA musical, her love for performing, what she adores about Queensland theatre and more.
What sparked your interest in performing initially?
I started dancing at a very early age and thanks to my parents dedication and support my love for performing took off and continued to grow. Watching shows inspired me and I loved being on stage.
What do you love about Donna and Sophie’s evolving mother/daughter relationship throughout the show? Donna & Sophie’s relationship is a very special one. Donna being a single parent & living on the island gives them such a unique bond. We see their relationship alter slightly as truths are told and Sophie matures.
But ultimately their love and respect for one another shines through.
What is your favourite moment in the show?
There are too many! My favourite in this particular production would have to be singing and performing alongside my partner in real life Sean Mulligan, who is playing Sam.
Having previously played Tanya in Mamma Mia, now playing Donna do you have any way you will approach Donna differently?
Donna and Tanya are both brilliant and fascinating characters. They both have their unique challenges. I have tried to approach Donna with fresh eyes and take on the challenge that way.
Working with a great new creative team and cast who I bounce off and react differently too has been helpful in my process of finding my own Donna.
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Jennifer Lopez, Chita Rivera, Cyd Charisse.
How fun is it performing alongside this stellar cast with a lot of them being their professional stage debut? We’re having the most fun! It’s a great cast who are working so hard and learning very quickly the ropes of how to get a Musical up and running.
In your career what job or role has taught you the most and what did you learn?
I learn something from every show and role I take on. But I would say the show I learned the most on was my first which was Beauty and the Beast. I would just watch all the incredible actors and learned a lot about how important it is to have a good work ethic.
The role that was the most challenging was Anita in West Side Story and that in itself is a huge learning curve. How to stay show fit, focused and consistent.
If you could be stranded on a Greek Island right now what would you do and who would you take with you?
My family and friends and have a big party!
What do you love about workshopping original shows like ‘Dreamlover’ vs. coming into a well-established long-running production?
There is something very special about creating in the studio and being part of the process in making a new show. I feel like you have more freedom in many ways. But then the formula and being part of a well established Musical is challenging and great too!
Is there any role in any musical theatre or straight theatre show you are dying to play?
Too many to mention! I’ve always loved the show Matilda and would love to play Mrs. Wormwood, she looks like fun!
What are your favourite messages in this show that all walks of life can relate to?
My favourite thing in Mamma Mia are all the relationships. Whether it’s mother/daughter, friends, partners.
There is something every audience member will relate too in some way which it makes it more personal.
What do you love about Queensland theatre in particular?
The theatre scene up here in Queensland is really taking off! It’s a great opportunity for all performers that are local and I’m very proud to be one of them!
Who or what inspires you?
Performers who are professional, with a great attitude and work ethic who can do it all!
What can audiences expect and why will they love this version of the show?
You will recognise all the elements you love about Mamma Mia with a modern, Gold Coast sparkle!
Fame Reporter Word Play
Penguin (they were always my favourite at the zoo!)
Favourite mantra when you are down
Never give up!
Any secret talents
Favourite ABBA song
Does Your Mother Know
Savoury or Sweet
Dressing Room necessity
A sofa to rest on!
Can’t live without
Jennifer Lopez or Beyonce. They can do it all.
Place you want to travel to
England to see my family.
To be happy, healthy and successful.
TV Show Binge
So many! But I can watch Friends on repeat.
Finally, favourite thing about performing
It’s never the same twice and audience reactions.
Thank-you Jayde for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for Mamma Mia at The Star!
Mamma Mia the Musical
The Star Gold Coast
19 June – 11 July
All photos – Supplied