We often refer to a musical theatre performer as a ‘triple threat’ without giving a lot of thought to what that term actually means. Practically a musical theatre performer is an artist who excels in three distinct and complex art forms. This is someone who can sing both original and well-known scores, who can present storyline and emotion through dance and who can convey a character to an audience. It’s a tall order but this is what the Rob Guest Endowment is looking for. 

The late Rob Guest, who passed away in 2008, was a veteran musical theatre performer with credits including Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Sound of Music and Wicked. The Endowment was established as a tribute to Guest and seeks to highlight and develop musical theatre performers in the early stages of their career.

It’s taken six months and an Australian wide search to find the six 2013 finalists who will perform at Sydney Lyric on 25 November 2013. This will be the first time the event will be held in Sydney after four years at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. The finalist include:

• Helpmann Award nominee Euan Doidge who is currently performing in Grease The Musical

• WAAPA graduate Rob Mallett who credits include Violet, Xanadu, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Into the Woods

• fellow WAAPA graduate, Edward Grey, who has performed in Legally Blonde The Musical, Lisa (on and E) and John and Jen

• Angelique Cassimatis, a graduate from Australian Dance Performance Institute, made her musical theatre debut as “Pepper” in Annie and has since appeared in the world premiere of King Kong The Musical

• Elisa Colla, a graduate from Australian Institute of Music, has toured with Wicked in Australia, Singapore and Seoul and will next appear in the short film Penelope

• Samantha- Leigh Dodemaide whose credits include Wicked, Anything Goes, The Producers, A Chorus Line and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum and who has studied at Patrick Studios Australia.

Notably the Showbiz International Future Prospect Award, reversed for a performer who showed great potential but did not make the finals, went to Ben Bennett. Congratulations to all seven performers – we look forward to the finals and to seeing your future work on the stage.