When young Perth actor, Kaori Maeda-Judge, had just made some big life decisions to pack up her life and move to Canada after being seen for some major Netflix series, fate seemed to knock on the door at just the right time resulting with her landing a role in the original Australian cast of David
Bowie’s hit musical, Lazarus.
Having been a lifelong fan of Bowie’s music through her parent’s influence and growing up watching The Labyrinth Kaori knew that this was not an opportunity to be missed. With stars in her eyes and butterflies in her heart, she was beyond over joyed to hear that she had landed the role.
Having sold and donated a lot of her belongings in preparation for her endeavours overseas, Kaori now started unpacking her boxes again, but it was all worth it for what this opportunity represented to her.
Not only was she able to fulfill a personal dream of being able to embody work created by an idol, but she also had the opportunity to represent her culture on stage.
Being born in Japan, Kaori moved to Australia with her family at a young age where she was raised to be bilingual with a strong influence of both cultures in her life. Her parents enrolled her into speech and drama classes from a young age to help her confidence which ended up blossoming into a love and passion for performing.
Being bilingual has helped her significantly throughout her career which has been made even more prevalent now in her current project, Lazarus, where she performs a number almost entirely in Japanese.
If you think you recognise her, you might not be too far off, as Kaori has had success, not only on stage, but also on television. After making the leap from Perth to Melbourne in previous years to pursue her acting career, Kaori achieved her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Theatre at the prestigious, Victorian College of the Arts, whereupon graduating she landed another dream role on Neighbours.
Kaori was a series regular on Neighbours over a couple of years where she played the role of Jasmine Udagawa, owner of the fictional hotel franchise made famous on the show, Lassiter’s Hotel. On her time with the show, she got to go head to head with veterans such as Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson)
and Alan Fletcher (Dr Karl Kennedy).
Having being able to represent ethnic minorities on both stage and screen, Kaori was also proud to share the screen with Comedian Nazeem Hussain on his new comedy skit show, Orange Is The New Brown, proving that people of colour can be protagonists as well as supports.
As well as on screen, Kaori has the pleasure to sing on stage with people such as accomplished Broadway composer, John Bucchino, as a soloist in a concert of his work and alongside such Australian icons as John Waters, Tim Freedman and Brian Mannix in the cast of PARIS – A Rock Odyssey.
With an increase of shows on Broadway that are demonstrating colour blind casting, Kaori hopes to follow in the footsteps of inspirations such as Kimmiko Glen (Waitress) and Ashley Park (Mean Girls) and continue to bring diversity to the Australian entertainment industry.