From his days with the Arcadians through to stand-out performances as The Phantom and Annie’s Daddy Warbucks on Broadway, Anthony Warlow is celebrating close to four decades in theatre with another iconic production, The Wizard Of Oz.
Wicked favourites Jemma Rix and Lucy Durack reprise their witching roles in the Andrew Lloyd Weber adaption of the family favourite, which has already begun it’s Australian tour in Brisbane.
So far audiences are loving it, though Warlow (who plays Professor Marvel and The Wizard) doesn’t subscribe to reading reviews, admitting he gave up years ago.
“Unless they’re thrown at me,” he said. “There’s an old adage that was mentioned by the great [Irish playwright] George Bernard Shaw: that critics in those days were like people in wheelchairs telling people how to run. You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.”
The entertainer – who has become very selective with the roles he takes on – explained his work is for the benefit of the show, personal satisfaction and artistic dignity. This passion is what sets the scene for his character development and attention to detail, striving for perfection.
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Even in his current role, made famous through the 1939 Hollywood movie, Warlow set out to research his characters as much as he could. This involved reading an analysis of L Frank Baum’s original novel and voicing an audio-book of the book.
“What is the The Wizard Of Oz about? It’s about the word home, it’s about finding everything you need inside yourself or for the young crowd today it’s ‘we are enough’. It’s a good moral story,” he said.
Despite his research research and rehearsals, nerves still do play a part in performance for this musical veteran. However, he called them “disciplinary nerves” which were vital.
“I think it’s important to be nervous, if you lose that then I think the job is not worth doing. When racing car drivers get in their car, they don’t just get in there and turn the key,” he said. “It just sets up a kind of excitement and an immediate acceptance from the audience.”
That flutter of butterflies is often felt when appearing on Broadway in the US when it’s quite customary to applaud main actors when walking onto their first scene.
That’s one of the major differences between arts patrons here and in the US. Though sadly Warlow believes Americans embrace and celebrate the arts far more than our sporting nation.
“I’m probably putting my neck out there, but it is the truth,” he said. “I think the arts is a very integral and important part of social welfare in this country. It’s an escape at times of great stress and tragedy, people go to the arts for solace.”
The Wizard of Oz is at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from December 30.
The Illawarra Mercury has 4 x double passes to give away to the Wizard of Oz performance on December 31 midday in Sydney. For details on how to win CLICK HERE