When Simon Gleeson recorded his debut album, Elements, he did so with the intent to perform these songs in a concert. Tomorrow, he will finally have the opportunity to fulfil this goal when he takes to the Hamer Hall stage for the Arts Centre Melbourne’s Morning Melodies.
It’s a welcome return to singing for Simon Gleeson. He recently finished a season with MTC in An Ideal Husband, which followed The Production Company’s Oklahoma!
“I haven’t sung since Oklahoma!, nearly three months ago!” exclaimed Gleeson.
While many of the Morning Melodies audiences will recognise him from these recent productions, the role most will identify Simon Gleeson with is his Helpmann Award winning portrayal of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. It was a role Gleeson regards as being “hugely significant” in his career and he remains extremely grateful for the opportunity, not only to do such a demanding role, but also what he learnt in the process.
The Morning Melodies concert will include most of the songs from his album, with some extra inclusions. Of all the songs in his repetoire, there is one Simon Gleeson feels he must include: ‘Bring Him Home’.
“That one is the only song I feel kind of has to be there. It’s such a killer song,” said Gleeson.
What used to be an easy song to perform, Gleeson now finds much more difficult.
“It’s such a hard song to sing. I’ve done it nearly 800 times, but for some reason it is. It used to be easy – maybe it’s expectations?”
Simon Gleeson performed the role of Jean Valjean throughout the Australian season, as well as in London’s West End and parts of Asia. His final performance as Jean Valjean was an extremely emotional one.
“The last night I was dangerously emotional,” reflected Gleeson.
“The flooding emotion was gratitude, and I still feel that.”
After so many performances as Valjean, Simon Gleeson is very comfortable with walking straight out onto stage and being ready to perform this big number. However, he acknowledges an audience also need to be in a receptive mood for this powerful song and he is mindful of this as he prepares for his Morning Melodies concert.
Although there is a lot of content to perform, Gleeson said the singing part is easy. What Gleeson is less comfortable with, is being on stage as himself and not a character persona.
“I’m not that used to walking on stage as myself. That is something that is a little bit different and not my usual place of comfort,” admitted Gleeson.
After the recent success of Oklahoma! Gleeson has included some numbers from this classic musical into his Morning Melodies concerts. The first concert commences at 11am, which will mean an early start for this leading man.
“Having kids, I’m up early anyway!” laughed Simon Gleeson.
Simon Gleeson lives in Geelong with his wife (Natalie O’Donnell who is currently starring as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia!) and their two children, so is quite used to the earlier starts and extra travel time to get to the theatre. Gleeson plans to be “warbling down the highway” on the way to the Arts Centre.
No doubt he’ll be singing ‘Oh what a beautiful morning’ early tomorrow on his way to Hamer Hall.
Simon Gleeson appears in Morning Melodies tomorrow at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne for two concerts at 11am and 1.30pm. Tickets range from $17 to $22.