Musical theatre performer Ross Chisari has appeared in some of the biggest musicals that have travelled across Australia in recent times, including Aladdin and The Rocky Horror Show. Tonight, he’ll take the stage in Sydney as the multi-award-winning, best-selling British solo artist, Robbie Williams, in Let Me Entertain You! – The Robbie Williams Story. It’s a show that explores the ups and downs of the superstar’s career, and will play for one night only as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival 2018.
Theatre People caught up with Chisari to find out more about his career and paying homage to one of the biggest male artists of our time.
Chisari describes himself as a “late bloomer” who began singing and dance lessons at 16 in his hometown of Mildura in Victoria. In 2013, he graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and soon after appeared in productions with Sydney’s Squabbalogic Theatre Company and Hayes Theatre Co. He was cast in The Production Company’s West Side Story and then landed the role of Willie Lopez in the Australian tour of Ghost: The Musical.
Asked to single out a career highlight, Chisari cites playing the role of Sancho Panza in Squabbalogic’s 2015 production of Man of La Mancha. It’s an experience that saw him play alongside Tony and Olivier Award nominee Tony Sheldon.
“I have never learned so much about my craft from one experience,” he says.
Chisari has just completed the Melbourne season of The Rocky Horror Show, in which he appeared as a Phantom.
“The Phantoms are a hell of a lot of fun and help the show to progress with energy and mystery,” he says. “The ensemble of The Rocky Horror Show is only four Phantoms, so between the four of us, we never leave the stage and do a lot of singing and dancing (both on and off stage).”
Let Me Entertain You! – The Robbie Williams Story came about during a brief break Chisari had in between his time in West Side Story and Ghost: The Musical.
“I had toyed with the idea of putting on my own work and knew I had a soft spot for Robbie’s music and his life story. So I sat down, wrote my heart out, sang my lungs out and hoped for the best. Luckily for me people bought tickets, showed up and had the time of their lives and the rest is history!”
So what is it about Robbie Williams that has made him one of the world’s most successful male artists for more than two decades?
“The thing about Robbie is he knows who he is,” Chisari says. “He knows he’s made mistakes, he knows he’s got regrets, he knows he’s hit rock bottom – more than once – but that is what makes him a living legend. He has hit rock bottom and gotten back up again to prove not only to himself but also to his fans that life is worth living and that through music, we can all come together and find our feet once more. His story is relatable and his music is addictive. He’s one inspirational rock star.”
Asked to give us a sense of what audiences can expect from his show, Chisari gives little away, but assures us those who attend will be treated to “a night they won’t forget”. This rock concert-meets-cabaret experience will see him joined on stage by a full live band performing all of Williams’ hits.
Sydney, it’s time to let Ross Chisari entertain you!
LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU! – THE ROBBIE WILLIAMS STORY
Date: Thursday 6 September 2018
Duration: 90 minutes
Venue: Leadbelly, 42 King Street, Newtown, NSW
Price:$30 Full price