Alex Rathgeber began performing in musicals in his hometown, Horsham when he was just a little tacker and fondly recalls playing Friedrich in The Sound Of Music when his voice was still breaking. Once bitten by the musical theatre bug, he pursued musicals right through high school and then managed to get straight into WAAPA. Since finishing WAAPA in 2003 he’s been working steadily in the professional industry in Australia, with highlight roles including Greg Connell opposite Todd McKenney in The Boy From Oz, Robert Martin in MTC's The Drowsy Chaperone and Sid Worley in An Officer And A Gentleman, as well as a 12-month stint playing Raoul in the West End production of The Phantom Of The Opera in 2007/2008.
When asked why he’s now undertaking the mammoth task of recording an album, he said “I've always loved to sing, I've always loved musicals, and as long as I can remember I've dreamed of recording my own album of Broadway music. Early on I was inspired by Anthony Warlow and I used to listen to his albums on repeat…virtually non-stop! I thought of making a different kind of album for my first album, like 'songs from the crooners' or something a bit less obvious, but I kept coming back to showtunes! I realised, the truth is these are the songs I love to sing the most and with which I feel the strongest connection, so I have to record these ones.”
“My song list has literally evolved over the last 10+ years! I've had countless pieces of A4 paper with different versions of 'My Album List' written on them. It's taken a lot of figuring out which songs to run with… there are so many to choose from. Some are songs from shows that I've done, like If Ever I Would Leave You which I sang as Lancelot in Camelot for The Production Company, which was my first opportunity to play a lead role. Others are songs that I just adore, such as Somewhere from West Side Story, which I'm absolutely delighted to announce I'll be singing with the very, very gorgeous Lucy Maunder. Lucy and I played opposite one another as Brad and Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, which we toured New Zealand and Korea with in 2010, and since then we've been great friends. I've always adored the gentle beauty of Lucy's voice, and her ability to make the most unsexy lyric sexy! I think because she's grown up with very musical parents, it's in her bones – she has an innate musicality that can't be taught, and she's just heavenly to work with.”
But the list of Australian Musical Theatre Royalty lining up to help him on this album doesn’t end there. “I'm very lucky to have three special guest artists on the album…..and I'm going to keep the other two a surprise just a little bit longer! What I can say that this album will be an all-out tribute to Broadway, with songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cole Porter, Bernstein & Sondheim, more recent Broadway favourite Jason Robert Brown, and a special number from our own home-grown Broadway hit, The Boy From Oz.”
When we crashed the recording studio, Lucy and Alex were recording Somewhere from West Side Story. Alex said “Today was the first session for recording vocals. We recorded the band separately a couple of weeks ago and I had to sing guide vocals for each song over those two days it took to record. In the end I would've sung each of the 12 songs full-out at least 5 times each…it was a big couple of days! But I had so much adrenalin running through my system, I barely got tired.”
The studio, Rockcandy is a relaxed atmosphere based in the unassuming suburb of Burwood Melbourne. “Rockcandy Productions has been the producer of the whole project. James Kempster is one of our country's greatest double bass players – just finished playing on Les Miserables and currently playing on The Lion King – and he heads up Rockcandy. They've produced the most recent albums of Silvie Paladino and Anthony Callea, as well as Gretel Scarlett's recent album and the upcoming album from Patrice Tipoki, who's playing Fantine in Les Miserables. All the vocals are being recorded at Rockcandy, and the band was recorded at Oaklands Recording Studios, where James has worked a lot. Can I just add that I've been lucky enough to have all the songs arranged by the amazing Stephen Amos, who's the musical director of Matilda, with Stephen also playing piano, and James and Stephen together assembled some of the best musicians in the country to play on the album also, including John Barrett on saxophone and clarinet, Ben Robertson on double bass, Erica Kennedy on violin and David Beck on drums.”
Alex is aiming for a mid may release and the album will be available on iTunes and through his website www.alexrathgeber.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Hughes