‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’: Paulini embracing the challenge of musical theatre

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‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’: Paulini embracing the challenge of musical theatre

Words by Jacob McCormack

'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' boasts a massive cast, full of children and adults alike.

The narrator role will be played by Paulini, who despite a musical theatre career still in its early stages, is excited for the challenge that lies ahead.

“The whole thing is sung,” says Paulini. “I narrate the story singing the whole thing. There are a few times where I’m playing other characters. So, I’ve really had to try and get into those roles as well while learning the narrator parts of my role. It’s been a challenge, but what a fun, exciting journey it is going to be for me, I can just feel it.”

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Despite landing the role of the narrator, Paulini almost missed the audition period, and in fact was rather lucky that upon enquiring about the role a spot had opened up for her to try out for the production.

“Basically, I was very fortunate to get the role,” says Paulini. “I had heard through the grapevine that they had closed auditions, and that I wouldn’t have an opportunity to audition. So, I asked my manager to make some enquiries and then they actually said, ‘we’ve got a spot today if you want to come’. And I said, ‘absolutely I’ll come in and sing one of my songs’, even though I didn’t know much about the show and the material.”

It was a surprise for Paulini to be given the role, but a blessing nonetheless.

“I remember walking out of that audition thinking ‘there is no way I’m getting the job’,” says Paulini. “I had no idea what I was doing in there and wasn’t familiar with the whole thing. But I was very blessed and lucky to get the role.”

The role in this new production comes at a time for Paulini where she has been expanding on her singing practice and bringing it into other performative settings, such as musical theatre.

“My first debut into musical theatre was Bodyguard,” says Paulini. “I played Rachel Marron, who was played by Whitney. I’ve done a few since then, I’ve been in Saturday Night Fever, Chess, Priscilla and this would be the fourth one that I’ve landed a role in, so it’s exciting.”

However valuable the past experience of involvement in musical theatre has been, Paulini is aware that the demands of her multi-pronged role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat are unlike anything she has ever done before.

“It’s very different from anything I’ve played before and it’s really challenged me in many ways, especially in the acting area, because I haven’t been trained in acting. Getting my thoughts right and changing from one character to another is something I’ve never done before. I’m learning a lot as I go and it’s a challenge, but it’s a challenge I am up for.”

Although this particular role was an exception the guidance and imparting of knowledge from an acting coach has been a helpful implementation for Paulini in her pursuit of musical theatre.

“I do have an acting coach – Tyrone Park, back home in Sydney. He’s been helping me now for four or five years. Every time I find a role I’d like to play, me and Tyrone will basically spend two or three weeks before I have to go and audition. He just helps me with understanding the role and the storytelling of it all.”

However, due to the fast-tracked and unplanned nature of auditioning and being awarded the role of narrator, Paulini was unable to meet with Park to prepare for the part.

“No, we didn’t work on [this production] at all,” says Paulini. “Simply because I thought they had closed auditions. I think I was doing a few shows, I was doing a little tour while that was happening so I couldn’t get there.

“Thank god that there was an opportunity for me, they basically just said ‘look can you come in tomorrow, we’ve got a space for you’ and I basically said, ‘yep I can be there’.”

Paulini remains gracious and thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this show and with the opening night looming in early November. She is excited to work through the challenge of rehearsals and come into the premiere performance.

“It’s going to be a big week for all of us before we open, but everyone is so great at what they do, so it’s going to be a great show at the end of it. It’s going to be tough but a beautiful journey.”

“Once we get to opening night, everyone’s going to be like ‘Yes, that is exactly what [we’ve been working towards], that sense of ‘Oh my gosh we are here, it’s time now, we’re all ready to go, let’s do this as a team’.”

The audience can expect to be pleasantly surprised at any of the upcoming shows as Paulini will be playing roles that are very dissimilar to characters she has enacted in the past.

“[The audience] definitely will be surprised that I’m playing a few of those characters,” says Paulini. “It’s a different side of me that a lot of people have never seen before. I’m quite playful. There’s lots of bits in the show where it’s me and the kids and we are telling the story.”

“Even for me while we’re in rehearsals I’m finding out new things I can do, I’ve never really played a playful or really serious character before, because I also play Joseph. For me it’s exciting, it’s new, I think that is one thing that audiences will see on the night. It shows a different side to all of us.”

Although Paulini is excited to showcase her performance, she is simultaneously very eager to see how the younger members of the cast perform.

“I’ve never been part of a show that has had children involved in it,” says Paulini. “So, it’s interesting just to watch them work, they are just sponges, everything little thing that you do they just take it in, they really do bring a lot of the innocence and the colour and the energy in the show. There is going to be a lot of colour in that because in this production they pretty much are the backbone of the whole show.”

“It’s beautiful to see how they portray their little characters. How they get on stage, and they really get into the roles and their excited about it every time they come in. It makes us want to bring that same energy level every time we rehearse.”

Paulini is adamant that the audience will be subjected to a performance that has them left feeling awed.

“It’s going to be one of those shows that hits you hard straight away in the face. Its colour, its energy, its beautiful melodic songs, songs that will stick in your head once you leave the theatre. You’ll fall in love with it. If you don’t know the story or the show, when you walk out of that show, you’ll definitely fall in love with it.”

Tickets available here.