Growing up in Rosebud, on the Mornington Peninsula, had its advantages, according to Jason Coleman.
“I feel really lucky to have come from a small country town. I was accountable in this town. Anything I did, my parents found out about!” laughed Coleman.
While Coleman admits he, and so many others, could readily identify with the story of Billy Elliot, he was content with his life.
“I was happy to be different. I became everything that I ever thought I would,” reflected Coleman.
Jason Coleman has achieved huge success in his career so far. He has choreographed some of the world’s biggest events: the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the Handover Ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and the Opening and Closing of the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. His work has literally been seen by billions of people around the world.
Coleman has an extensive list of theatre, music and television credits. He also runs the Ministry of Dance: the largest dance school in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet, it’s his time as a judge on the hit television series So You Think You Can Dance Australia that most audiences recognise him from.
“People see me as a big shot from television, but that was just three years of reality in my life … I’m just a chorus boy and I’m having a go and I’m deeply proud,” said Coleman.
Coleman’s latest work is The Rhythm of Life. There is a genuine humility about Coleman. He regards himself as a young producer who is still learning the ropes.
“I run it so tough and tight,” he admitted, explaining the mammoth task of pulling the show together with just five days to rehearse.
“I’m so proud of them.”
Coleman’s commitment to the industry, and his cast, extends to the fact he is paying them all at award rates. Many of the cast have come from Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance.
“It’s so rewarding to see I’m creating an industry for these younger versions of myself. I run a really old-fashioned, tight, disciplined course – with no attitudes. You need to be humble and hard working and serving – and stay and help. I’m really proud of the joy they’re getting from what they’re doing.”
It was only towards the end of our conversation that Coleman confessed he’d been hospitalised with food poisoning in the lead up to the opening of The Rhythm of Life. After three days in hospital, and still very unwell, Coleman was advised to take a further three weeks off work. His response? He couldn’t even afford to take three hours off.
As he explained, “This added a whole different level to this ridiculous five days. Each of those amazing numbers you see in the show, I put down in just two hours. That’s all I could afford.”
The quality of the show is testament to the passion and enthusiasm of Jason Coleman for his work. It’s also testament to the quality cast he has assembled.
If he had been given a crystal ball back when he was a 20 year old chorus boy, and imagined all that he has in his life right now, Coleman said he would’ve thought he’d feel very accomplished or a sense of ego in it all. The truth is, Jason Coleman feels more like a custodian. He admits he’s sat in the Cabaret Cathedral venue, situated in the Coleman Reserve on Rosebud’s foreshore, and just looked around and considered what he and his team are really doing: “dragging people to the theatre that don’t normally go to the theatre.”
“I feel like I’ve got a massive opportunity to show people our world and hopefully every good show gets people to see another show,” explained Coleman.
Coleman knows the demographic of the average theatre-goer is female, so he aims to put on a show for the husbands and boyfriends who have been dragged along. He knows the female ticket-buying audience already love the singing and dancing and will be invested in the show, regardless. He wants to win over the men.
The result is The Rhythm of Life – a slick and sexy cabaret, that leaves the audience buzzing.
“It’s all about pace and energy,” said Coleman, acknowledging David Atkins as a very significant influence in his life.
The show has been written for the Rosebud season – the town where Jason Coleman grew up – but ultimately, Coleman would love to rewrite the show and take it to the world – and in particular to New York. Looking at what Jason Coleman has achieved already, he probably will.
For now, this boy from Rosebud is sharing his story, in his local community, appreciative of what he’s achieved already.
The Rhythm of Life is now playing at the Cabaret Cathedral in Rosebud.
Tickets available at: https://www.stickytickets.com.au/44210/jason_colemans_the_rhythm_of_life.aspx