Former Rother-Swain Drama Studio student Grant Almirall set out to reach international theatre success more than 10 years ago and has never looked back.
Tap dancing to one of the most iconic scenes in a musical, Almirall, who grew up in Walmer, left for Australia earlier this year for the production of Singing in the Rain which is currently at the Lyric Theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Singing in the Rain is a 1952 musical starring Gene Kelly which was based on 1920’s Hollywood. In the musical, Almirall plays Don Lockwood, a silent movie star who has a widely publicised “romance” with actress Lina Lamont (played by Taryn Lee-Hudson) who is convinced that their on-screen romance is real.
Almirall chats to Weekend Post about his career in theatre and shares more about his upcoming role as the lead in West Side Story which will be on stage in January next year at the Mandela Theatre in Johannesburg.
Q: How and when did you get into performing?
A: I started drama class in year five at the Rother-Swain drama studio. It was something some of my friends were doing and one day they invited me along. I was 13, I think. I then did the musicals at my high school (Victoria Park High School).
Q: Productions you have been involved with?
A: I’ve done quite a few things but off the top of my head I can only think of We Will Rock You, Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chicago, Rent and Jersey Boys.
Q: How did you hear about Singing in the Rain?
A: I did the show in Johannesburg and Cape Town and toured to Hong Kong and New Zealand. They contacted me when the lead in Australia tore his calf muscle and they needed someone who knew the show to jump in quickly.
Q: When did you leave for Australia and how long will production run for?
A: I left at the beginning of May. The tour is until January 30 and from then onwards, I’ll be back in South Africa doing West Side Story.
Q: What was your audition number?
A: Well, I didn’t audition.
Q: As a lead actor in a musical what sort of things can you do that the rest of the cast can’t?
A: The cast will hang out together on their day off or take a trip, but I can’t really do that too much as I need to save energy and look after myself. This is a very physical show. I do a lot of dancing because Don’s in every scene and every dance number.
Q: Could you tell me more about your upcoming production, West Side Story?
A: It’s a return season of the show. It was on last year in Cape Town and now they are doing the show in Johannesburg. The musical was inspired by Shakespeare’s tumultuous love story Romeo and Juliet, and set amidst the vicious rivalry of teenage gangs in 1950s New York.
Q: What is your role in the production?
A: I’m playing Action.
Q: In terms of performing, who do you look up to?
A: I guess I look up to a performer like Neil Patrick Harris. But I never had many role models growing up.
Q: What drew you to performing?
A: It’s just something I’ve always done. My friends invited me and then I just never stopped.
- Tickets for West Side Story are available at Computicket. For more details, contact (021)- 461-4554.