The Fame Reporter interviewed talented Australian performer, Kirby Burgess starring as Linda in The Wedding Singer the Musical. Playing in Sydney from 5-23 January at the State Theatre before its seasons in Melbourne and Perth.
Kirby is a musical theatre superstar and has embodied some incredible roles in the industry. These include Baby in Dirty Dancing the Stage Show, Heather Chandler in Heathers the Musical, Campbell in Bring it on the Musical, The Ringmaster in Barnum the Musical, she also appeared on The Voice Australia among other accolades.
We talked to Kirby about what enticed her to want to join The Wedding Singer the Musical, roles that have impacted her, what she hopes for the future of the theatre industry and more.
Welcome to The Fame Reporter Kirby, what drew you to be involved in ‘The Wedding Singer’ the Musical?
The absolute fun of the show! It has heart, it has hilarity, you get all the goods of nostalgia from the film but the 80s dial is turned ALL the way up.
What do you love about your character Linda and what have you learnt from her thus far?
Oh Linda, what a wild woman. She is a very rare character as she has absolutely no redeeming quality. This makes her exceptionally fun to play.
I love her unapologetic ‘fire’. She has a strong sense of self and regardless of her being ‘the bad guy’, I am inspired by her strength.
Describe the music in the show for us?
The music is all original but it screams familiarity with hints of every sound that made the 80s great.
The eclectic collection of pop to rock is all on display and performed with absolute flair! You can’t help but have a fun time!
What do you love about the Australian theatre community and what do you hope for the future of the industry?
The talent. The talent . The talent!! There must be something in the water, because I have worked with and witnessed world class displays of talent and skill right here at home. I have learned from and been inspired by a community of people that are leading the way across all aspects of the industry. I feel incredibly lucky to have grown as a performer in such a rich environment.
My hopes for our future… Speaking on the whole entertainment industry- equality and representation of all. ‘Now’ is not the time- it has always been ‘the time’.
I stand by the BIPOC community and consider myself an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. I believe this change is necessary and I support its future.
What is the most rewarding and challenging part of this show?
My act two number ‘Let me come home’. Our incredible choreographer, Micheal Ralph, has designed the most athletic, wild and ridiculous routine for this massive song. It is a challenge to stay standing by the end but what a thrill it is to perform every night!
What is an 80s trend that you wish would make a comeback?
Shoulder pads. Big hair. Daily bright eyeshadow….I mean, how do I choose? It is all just too good!
What 3 performers dead or alive would you love to have a dinner party with?
Only three!!! That is hard! Ok….
1. Elvis to flirt and dance with
2. Lady Gaga to wine and ‘jam’ with
3. Janis Joplin to rock and roll with
What role have you embodied that has stuck with you or has changed you the most?
I have two for two very strong reasons;
Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman in Dirty Dancing the Stage Show. It is a rare opportunity for a female actor to get to play the leading role that is the damsel and also the hero, the comedy relief and the heart of the show, display such sensitivity but also absolute bravery. I believe she is a great role model for young women.
Baby shows us you can be vulnerable and brave all at the same time and there is strength in both.
Campbell in Bring it On the musical. This character is the most challenging vocal and physical role I have ever done.
Belting my highest notes whilst being thrown in the air is not an experience many can say they have faced.
I am very proud of what my body and mind achieved getting through that show. At times I would wrap my arms around myself, hugging MYSELF in gratitude for the energy I mustered up to get through. This role opened up a capacity in me that was waiting to be released and for that I am grateful. But, at times I pushed myself too far and as painful as that is – it is an important lesson to learn.
In this show I started my own tradition that I have carried with me since. Before I walk on stage I kneel down, kiss my hand then press it onto the stage floor. The stage should be respected and I give mine to it before every big number.
Any upcoming projects or future dreams you can share?
Always big dreams! However, after the turmoil the performance industry has faced over the last two years, I am happy just being grateful for today’s job.
Why should audiences come along and see The Wedding Singer?
Do you like having fun? Do you like seeing exceptionally talented people doing exceptionally wonderful things?
The 80s are at an all time high in this show and we relish in it. It is a great show and most importantly it is a GREAT night out. So come and have some fun with us!
Fame Reporter Word Play
The Wedding Singer
As Linda in The Wedding singer- a Panther. Myself – a Hummingbird.
Favourite role you’ve ever played
The Ringmaster – Barnum the Musical
Favourite mantra when you are down
Expect to win.
“What’s your damage?”
Any secret talents
I design and make furniture.
Favourite song in The Wedding Singer
‘Casualty of Love’
Dressing Room necessity
Every day – Forever
Can’t live without
Place you want to travel to
TV Show Binge
Big little lies.
Finally, favourite thing about performing
Sharing a true love with absolute strangers- that is a rare beauty in life.
Thank-you Kirby for joining us at The Fame Reporter and we wish you all the best for The Wedding Singer the Musical!
State Theatre, Sydney
5 – 23 January 2021
All photos and videos – Supplied