AIM Alumni Natalie Abbott secures lead role in Muriel’s Wedding.
It’s not every day that someone can say they’ve landed their dream role in a huge stage production spanning five months and two cities – and even rarer that it’s their first professional stage production.
Enter 23-year-old AIM Alumni Natalie Abbott who has done just that, stepping into the lead role of Muriel Heslop in the upcoming Melbourne and Sydney seasons of Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.
From a young age Natalie says she always had a penchant for performing, even receiving a scholarship from Bell Shakespeare during school but came to a crossroads when she finished her Higher School Certificate and had to decide which discipline to pursue – torn between acting or singing she says that she was very conflicted until a chance encounter with a friend of her mother’s who happened to be an AIM Alumni and who suggested she combine her two passions by studying Music Theatre.
And the rest is history.
Well, not quite.
“I actually really struggled in my first year – I was shocked at how difficult it was plus moving up to Sydney from the South Coast was also tough so yeah, it was all a bit overwhelming.”
Despite all this Natalie kept at it and eventually, it all clicked for her.
“I got the chance to perform a solo piece, it was actually ABBA’s ‘The Winner Takes It All’ and after it I had lots of people coming up to me saying that I had done really well and that I had a great voice.”
“While I was a bit uncertain about myself and what I was studying, after performing that piece I knew for sure that Music Theatre is what I wanted to do and I’ve dedicated myself to it ever since.”
It’s that dedication that has now landed Natalie her dream role, but it very nearly didn’t end up that way – Natalie says she was initially reluctant and that it took a lot of positive encouragement from her family and friends to put herself forward for the role and then when she finally did it took several gruelling auditions (and a lot of nervous waiting in-between, she says) before she finally got the call saying that she had secured the role.
Despite being un-managed and against the odds, Natalie will now take up the role of Muriel Heslop in the 2019 production along with her best friend Rhonda, played by Elizabeth Esguerra.
Asked what she’s excited about the most, Natalie says “…just the whole experience – but if I had to pick out one thing in particular it’d be opening night – I can’t wait!”
As exciting as this all is for her and despite the next six months being a very busy time for her, Natalie wants to keep the ball rolling once the Muriel’s Wedding production winds up. Asked if she sees herself in the West End or Broadway in the future she’s initially hesitant;
“Yeah it’d obviously be great to go and do that one day but at the same time I also kind of want to stay here in Australia and work on productions here.”
“There is so much great talent here, from actors to directors and everyone in-between – I remember we used to perform these really great musicals written by my Music Theatre teacher at AIM but apart from that the scripts would just sit unused and unread under his bed.”
In any case, big things lie ahead for Natalie as she looks to embark on what will most likely be the most challenging yet rewarding experience of her life so far.
Catch Natalie in Muriel’s Wedding The Musical which will play a strictly limited season in Melbourne at Her Majesty’s Theatre from March 2019 before returning to Sydney in June 2019 playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre – tickets are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com.
MELBOURNE SEASON 2019
Her Majesty’s Theatre
Previews from March 12
Opening night March 23
SYDNEY SEASON 2019
Sydney Lyric Theatre
Previews from June 28