The slower pace of life, outdoor space and welcoming community have been positives for Bassingthwaighte, but she says she’s definitely keeping irons in the fire when it comes to work, too. The star is returning to her musical theatre roots next month in a touring production of Chess the Musical.
Bassingthwaighte will play chess player Florence Vassy (the role was originally made famous in London’s West End by Elaine Paige).
“Florence is probably one of the most exciting and challenging characters I’ve played in my life,” Bassingthwaighte says. “I’m so excited to take her on.”
After a year of settling into Byron life and homeschooling, how are you feeling about heading back to work?
It’s amazing to be getting back on stage. I can’t wait to perform for an audience again and to feel that exhilaration you can only get from a live performance. We’re going to have a massive orchestra on stage and the songs (written by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus) ‘I Know Him So Well’ and ‘One Night In Bangkok’ will just blow everyone away.
Did you know much about the show?
I was a big fan of the show when I was younger, but I was especially a fan of the songs. When I was asked to join the cast (alongside Paulini and Rob Mills), I had another look at the character and checked if the schedule would work with my family. The stars aligned and we kick off in April.
How do you and your husband make decisions about what work you’ll take?
It’s always a juggle because prior to COVID, Cam was on tour around the country with the [band] Screaming Jets and I was doing eight shows a week in Chicago. We’re a family that really likes to spend a lot of time together, so any work we take on can’t involve too much time away from each other.
Do your kids get what you do?
Yes, now that they’re a little older. They came to see me in Chicago and thought it was so bizarre to see mum rocking on stage in a wig. My son Hendrix was playing DJ in the car recently and he heard ‘Watching You’ for the first time. He couldn’t believe it was me in “the Road Traders”. I was like, “Um, buddy, it’s Rogue Traders and yes, that really is me!” It’s not like we sit around at home listening to our music so he was pretty surprised.
What’s downtime like for you?
We’ve got such a great house now with space; we’re actually building a big outdoor chess set because Hendrix loves to play. Harper’s always putting on shows with her Squishy toys for us.
(Chess the Musical will tour Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane from Apr. 22. For tickets, visit www.chessmusical.info)
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