Since graduating from the VCA in 2006, Teagan Wouters has carved out an extensive career on stage. She most recently performed the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler On The Roof – a musical based on a well known movie. It wasn’t the first time Wouters has performed in a musical based on a movie. Prior to Fiddler, she played Lisa Houseman in the Australian tour of Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage, Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, Babette in Beauty and the Beast and Sharpay Evans in Disney’s High School Musical – Live on Stage. She also appeared in Legally Blonde the Musical and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. All musicals adapted from a movie. Recently, Teagan Wouters was announced as Nicola in the upcoming Australian premiere of Kinky Boots – another musical based on a movie.
This week Teagan Wouters takes on a whole new challenge in Blue Saint Productions’ Songs For A New World, opening at Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel on Thursday night.
Songs For A New World is a song cycle written by Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years, Parade, Bridges of Madison County). Blue Saint Productions describe Songs For A New World as being, “About one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back. These are the stories and characters of today.”
While Wouters has not seen the full song cycle professionally performed, she certainly knows the music.
“I first came into contact with it when studying at the VCA. We all had to do a song and one of the girls sang ‘I’m Not Afraid of Anything’ and that’s when I first learnt about it,” explained Wouters.
Wouters is well aware just how different Songs For A New World is compared with the musicals she has been performing in during the past few years.
“Those shows are so commercial, and were movies, so people do know them. Songs For A New World is a song cycle, basically, so it doesn’t even have one through story line that you can explain to the public. I think that’s its beauty – it is a piece of theatre that is so different to usual music theatre.”
Wouters had one full session early on to learn the music, but then had to wait until the tour of Fiddler On The Roof, and the demanding eight shows a week schedule, had ended before she could really get stuck into Songs For A New World ahead of the short rehearsal period.
“Being a fully sung show, with no book attached to it and no dialogue, it’s very vocally demanding. So I had to ease into it. Some of the harmonies are really difficult so it’s a good challenge! That was one of the reasons I decided to take it on and do it, because a lot of the shows I’ve done recently haven’t involved a lot of solo singing but more ensemble singing. This is just a whole different ball game for me so it will be good!”
One of the biggest challenges for the performers is the fact all the story telling is done through the songs and there is no dialougue leading up to each number. Wouter says each performer must be very clear on the intent for each particular song.
Joining Teagan Wouters in Songs For A New World are John O’Hara, fellow Kinky Boots cast member Linden Furnell and Natalie O’Donnell. The show is directed by Helpmann and Green Room Award winner Luke Joslin (Avenue Q, Les Miserables) with musical direction by Geoffrey Castles (Les Miserables, Aladdin).
Wouters current favourite song from the show is ‘I’d Give It All For You’. It’s always been one of her “go to” songs, although she admits her favourite may change at any time.
Songs For A New World is a show that Wouters believes will appeal to anyone, “I just know that it’s pretty special and everyone will be able to relate to something in it, because it’s essentially about the human condition and how we respond and move forward from decisions and points in our life that throw us off track.”
SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD
The Loft, Chapel off Chapel
Dates: 2nd June – 12th June
Times: Tuesday to Saturday 8pm, Saturday 2pm, Sunday 1pm and 6pm
Tickets*: Adult $59 Concession $54 Group $49 (for 10+)
Bookings: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au or phone 03 8290 7000
*not including booking fees
Running time 1 Hour 30 Minutes – No intermission