WAAPA Graduate Simon Gleeson is to be featured in another intimate musical revue, ‘Starting Here, Starting Now’.
Earlier this year Simon was part of another company of four in ‘Another Opening, Another Show’, also presented by Manilla Street Productions. A night of ‘hit songs from flop shows’, Simon wowed audiences with selections such as Larger than Life from ‘My Favourite Year’ and I’ll Be There from ‘The Pirate Queen’.
‘Another Opening, Another Show’ was a newly devised show while ‘Starting Here, Starting Now’, a revue of Maltby & Shire songs, dates back to 1976. Maltby & Shire wrote the Broadway musicals ‘Baby and ‘Big’ as well as another popular revue ‘Closer than Ever’ Simon brings a fresh takes to their canon: ‘At drama school their songs were very popular but I can’t remember singing any of them.’
After graduating from WAAPA in the late 1990s, Simon was in high demand. He appeared in a string of big budget musicals, including ‘Les Misérables’ (10th Anniversary Production), ‘Jolson’, ‘Fame’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Shout!’ and ‘Eureka’.
Jim Murphy raved about Simon’s performance in ‘Eureka’: ‘Lalor’s junior colleague, the young miner Sean Flynn, is the musical’s brightest light, thanks to the engaging acting and superb singing of Simon Gleeson and the prominence given the romantic subplot between Flynn and feisty colleen Bridie O’Malley (Trisha Crowe). …the winning performances of Gleeson and Crowe stamp them as young stars on the fast track to the top.’ (The Age, October 11, 2004)
Simon has the director of ‘Eureka’ to thank for his smooth entry in to acting in London. ‘I was lucky enough to be cast in a West End show before I left Australia. It was a great role in a new show called ‘The Far Pavilions’ and I’m still indebted to Gale Edwards for giving me that opportunity. It made it so easy to enter the UK industry.’
‘The Far Pavilions’ ran for six months in 2005 the Simon moved on to a range of other projects. In 2006 director Nicholas Hytner (Miss Saigon, The History Boys) cast Simon in the play ‘Southwark Fair’. ‘It was a highlight to work with Nick Hytner and a small cast of brilliant actors at The National Theatre.’ Traveling to the Wexford Festival with ‘The Silver Lake’ brought another career highpoint. ‘Probably [the highlight] was a piece I did in Ireland that was the most rewarding and challenging. It was working with a director called Keith Warner who is an amazing man.’
A highly adaptable performer, Simon also had a recurring role in British soap ‘EastEnders’ and was in the feature film ‘My Life in Ruins’. Working in TV was an experience he enjoyed: ‘I love it. For different reasons. I find the technical side of it really interesting and the boundaries that you can push are seemingly endless. I’ve had to take some time out of rehearsals to do some filming with Roger Hodgman. It’s been great working with a TV director who has such a wealth of theatre experience too.’
Simon is enjoying rehearsals for ‘Starting Here, Starting Now’ and is confident that audiences will love the show. ‘The music is endearing, fun and heart-felt. It’s an intimate look at the funny, terrifying, hair-pulling nature of relationships. I’m working with some seriously talented people who know their craft and are already delivering beautiful performances.’