Performer in hit musical Frozen and rapidly rising musical theatre starlet Courtney Monsma recently sat down with Theatre People writer, Nichole Conolly to chat about her newly released album IN THE LIGHT, her journey portraying Princess Anna in the Australian production of hit musical Frozen, and what it means to her to be a starlet and role model.

 

 

 

FROZEN

 

Nichole Conolly (NC): Hey Courtney! You are currently portraying Princess Anna in Frozen, how did you prepare to play such an iconic, well- known and beloved character?

Courtney Monsma (CM): Luckily for me, I had a break before Frozen (Courtney previously appeared in the Australian productions of Aladdin and Mamma Mia!). I had time to really make sure that the material fitted my voice well. I conducted research into every aspect of Princess Anna and ensured that I found my own version of the role in the audition and rehearsal rooms.

This extensive preparation and knowledge of the role I play has really assisted me in playing the role for as long as I have.

NC: Do you feel as though you’ve grown since the beginning of this journey and how?

CM: Definitely, in some ways, yes. I think sometimes when you’re new, you’re a little more brave because you don’t know what to expect. I have tried to keep that aspect. I have definitely grown. I’ve learned to trust myself a bit more. I’ve matured as a performer. This helps me perform the role so many times a week.

NC: You have played opposite very different people, Jemma Rix is the main Elsa but you have also played opposite Gretel Scarlett, Samm Hagen, and Sophie Weiss. How do you find adapting to the characterisation of different actors and changes on stage?

CM: I think that is the beauty of live theatre. You know; we only realistically experience this story once. So, you know, having something fresh and exciting is awesome. That is what acting is really. It is adapting to what you’re given. Jemma and I have done the show many times, and every time it’s different and it’s fresh. That is because she’s a beautiful actress and we give each other different things to play with.

NC: Is there a part of the character that you’d perhaps like to explore a little more in depth?

CM: Yeah, I think in real life. I think Anna is very brave and she just, if she wants to do something she would just go for it. There’s no question about it. I think I could adopt that strength a bit more in my life. She inspires me to be a bit brave.

 

Courtney Monsma as Princess Anna

 

STEPPING INTO THE LIGHT

 

NC: Talking of being brave, you have released an album IN THE LIGHT, what does the title In the Light mean to you?

CM: In the Light reminds me of a moment in time. I guess it’s a shining light on me. A spotlight on where I am right now in my journey. It’s a nice moment to reflect on my career and my life.

NC: We’re there any songs that were going to be included on the album from day one?

CM: Of course! Definitely Frozen ones for sure. At the beginning, there was a massive list. I had to cull it down. However, a lot of the songs on the album were my first picks for sure.

NC: What was the creative process like?

CM: So much fun! It was so cool to try and tell a story with just my voice, in a studio. I really loved that. I loved having the opportunity to be a bit personal with it as well. I loved that it was real, lots of play, and I could have an opinion. I would change something if I didn’t like it and I liked having that control.

NC: Do you have any people that really influenced the creation period or really assisted you?

CM: Yeah, definitely. know, my Executive Producer, Troy Sussman was a massive help with that as well as the maker and Producer of the music, James Kempster. Us three worked really, super hard on it. I had a lot of inspiration. You know, I think inspiration is everywhere for people. I’m working with many mentors. They all impact how it sounds in the end.

 

 

NC: When composing, did you enjoy getting to create different sounds?

CM: I loved it! With my original, you know I loved having an idea in my head to put to paper. That was a really cool process. Having musicians that I could talk to, to help me bring it to life was very exciting.

NC: Did you have any sounds that you particularly wanted or did you explore by experimentation or was it an entwining of both processes?

CM: With my song, I was constantly playing around on my iPad with different sounds, seeing what felt right to me. It is about conveying love in and through music. It conveys emotion.  There’s kind of a lot of freestyling with that until you find what’s right when it’s right. It’s right.

NC: How long did the process of writing your song take?

CM: I actually wrote the song in a day. I was so bored and we in lock down. I was quite sad. I was trying to find inspiration and it really helped me get through that time. There was lots of little editing however, I made most of it in the day which was awesome.

NC: To listen to albums we use to buy the album and listen to it in the CD player (I’m really showing my age), do you think the internet has impacted the promotion of and the reason why we do music?

CM: Definitely. I think in good and bad ways. I kind of liked the fact that you’d have to go out and buy a CD and that was the only way but the internet definitely helps you share more globally. Unfortunately, you know, with these online services, it doesn’t really give much back to the artist in terms of being able to create more so there’s I think there’s good and bad but it’s definitely amazing to be able to share it so easily.

 

 

NC: How was releasing an album; firstly in your home state? and how was the lead up to doing so and the moments after?

CM: I was a nervous wreck in a good way. You know, it was finally coming through and with that came with a lot of excitement.  It was very, very special to release it while I was at home. I definitely had a bit of an adrenaline crash afterwards, but I think I needed to let myself have that and that’s only natural when you give a lot to something.

NC: Do you have any crazy or funny anecdotes from the creative period?

CM: Well, not really. I will have you know I was doing nine show weeks of Frozen and then I was going to the studio afterwards. I thought that was really cool. You know; popping my wig on, doing Frozen and then running back to the studio to record after. It kind of taught me that anything is possible if you be smart with how you work.

NC: Do you plan on performing little shows while you’re on tour with Frozen, in different cities?

CM: Definitely. I think I think with Frozen it’s a massive, massive job for me especially as Anna but I’m definitely hoping in the pipeline there’s a bit of a concert tour. It will be awesome to share the music and you know, meet the people that listened to it.

 

 

NC: Will your album be available at the Frozen merchandise desk?

CM: Sure will! People can buy it at merch desk!

NC: If you are unable to make it to the show, Courtney’s album can be purchased from https://courtneymonsma.com/album

NC: Finally, do you have a message to the people that perhaps are hearing you for the first time outside of the role of Anna after seeing Frozen, or one for those who are already fans?

CM: Yeah, definitely,  I would like to say that it would not have been possible without you. Like I said, this is a shared experience. I wouldn’t have the platform if I didn’t have people to share it with and I’m very aware of that. I’m very grateful that I have the support and and I hope that I can inspire others to do the same.

NC: Thank you for giving me your time.

CM: Thank you for doing this.

 

 

Courtney Monsma is currently appearing in the Australian tour of Frozen. The Brisbane season closes tomorrow (Sunday, May 8th) before heading to Adelaide’s Festival Theatre. Tickets are available from https://frozenthemusical.com.au