Courtney Act, Meghan O’Shea and Damon Wade
Photo: Chris Pavlich

I’ve had an Australian strength coffee and I’m good to go.”  Courtney Act is straight off a plane from Hong Kong when we have a chance to chat before the publicity rounds of GREASE THE ARENA EXPERIENCE.

This artist is energetic beyond belief.  Based in LA but always with time to come home, Courtney has a US show, LUMP OF COAL, opening next Sunday in Los Angeles.  Then back here as Ambassador for the ADELAIDE FRINGE and a tour of UNDER THE COVERS next year.

Courtney shares some advice that Marcia Hines gave way back on AUSTRALIAN IDOL. “Sleep when you can get the chance.  On an aeroplane, back of ute…”  Today,   “10 am up in Hong Kong yesterday, airport at 3, on the plane at 5 and asleep by 5:30.”

It’s physically demanding, the touring artist’s life, no wonder coffee is involved.  Part of Courtney’s reason for being in town is not just Press for the show but to begin the detailed discussion around Teen Angel.  Courtney will bring the guiding, tough-love celebrity heartthrob to life for GREASE THE ARENA EXPERIENCE.

Do you remember who you wanted to be when you saw the film for the first time as a youngster? “Sandy is the immediate reply.  Hopelessly Devoted into a hairbrush handle?  “Yep.  But Worse Things I Could Do is still an enduring fave.  But maybe Teen Angel was a role I was born to play, too.”

After throwing a heap of technical questions at this indefatigable star who is working with the Musical Director this week …it’s written originally for a tenor but you have lovely tops and a rich lower register what kind of key are you thinking of? Are you flying?  … we talked about the character.

Beauty School Drop-out is Teen Angel’s signature song and it’s a less than cuddly motivational exercise.  But that is sometimes what guides do.  You have an avid fan base and a social media following who respect your discussions around sex and gender and HIV best practice.  You went to a Trump Rally in Drag.   Obviously, a drive influence hearts and minds.   Is that something to bring to the character, I asked.

“It keeps being proved to me through my experiences that what I am passionate about is what I should be doing.  I’m excited that this is such a mainstream production.  A lot of my audiences come to see me but me as Teen Angel , mums and dads watching with their kids.  There is a conversation to be started there.  Hey Dad, that Teen Angel’s a looker eh?”

Especially in what is sure to be a spectacularly glamorous white costume.  Hopefully flying.  And a scrupulous avoidance of coffee spills.  Australian strength will be required.

Courtney Act will join a stellar cast.  Beau Ryan in the role of the cheesy DJ Vince Fontaine.  Meghan O’Shea (Singing in the Rain) returns in the iconic role of star-crossed lover, Sandy and making his debut in a lead role, Damon Wade as Danny.  Lauren McKenna – who played Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray – the Big Fat Arena Spectacular, will swap a can of hairspray for a Pink Ladies jacket when she takes on the role of Jan.  Also starring Chris Geoghegan as Kenickie, Ruby Clark as Rizzo, Stacey de Waard as Frenchie and Emily Monsma as Marty alongside a mass ensemble of over 500 young performers.

Sydney shows are Friday 19 January @ 8pm Saturday 20 January at 2pm & 8pm at Qudos Bank Arena.  For more information visit: