MUSICAL ARTIST FROM THE PHILIPPINES JOANNA AMPIL IS THE LONE ASIAN JOINING AN INTERNATIONAL MUSIC THEATRE STELLAR CAST IN “DEFYING GRAVITY-THE SONGS OF STEPHEN SCHWARTZ FROM GODSPELL TO WICKED”
Filipina musical theatre star Joanna Ampil seemed to be enjoying the Australian summer heat having a snapshot somewhere along the Sydney CBD’s George Street with co-stars Helen Dallimore and David Harris as she shared on her Instagram
“I feel like a proper #Aussie in between the beautiful and fit @dillidalli and @davidharrisoz”
Yes, the awarded musical theatre actress from the Philippines is back here down under as the lone Asian performer joining a stellar cast of internationally acclaimed musical theatre actors for the world premiere of Edna Markey’s Defying Gravity, a concert celebrating the work of acclaimed composer Stephen Schwartz. Previously, Joanna Ampil played the role of Kim in the Australian premiere in Sydney of Miss Saigon upon the invitation of Sir Cameron Mackintosh and in 2011 she performed the main role as Thanh in the showcase performance of the musical The Real Love. She has played various roles in major West End musicals including Les Miserables in London (where she played the role of Fantine until 21 June 2008), Avenue Q, Jesus Christ Superstar and Miss Saigon.
Joanna chats with PCHN publisher Evelyn Zaragoza on her musical theatre journey and performing with broadway’s celebrated artists in Defying Gravity:
When did you start your career in musical theatre?
It all started when I got the part of Kim in Miss Saigon when i was 17 years old. I flew to London with my mum as my guardian since I was considered a minor then. It was one of those cliches things of being in the right place at the right time.
What is the most challenging experience you have in your career, performing with Filipino and overseas artists?
Performing with fellow Filipinos has its pressures too. Every Filipino can sing really well. I always have to make sure my singing is on top form. Plus, Filipinos are very critical in the most positive sense of the word. They know a good voice and good sound when they hear it. You need to grab the attention when you have the opportunity.
There's also immense pressure working abroad because I feel that I have to prove myself why I am worthy of being on a international stage. The more I do things, the more nervous I get and that's probably because I know that the expectations will also be greater.
What are you most looking forward to about “Defying Gravity”.
I am very much looking forward to performing with the amazing artists who are also part of the show. To experience how they work, since they are the celebrated artists of Broadway.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists who want to be part of the international stage?
To keep persevering and never giving up. And to NEVER take anything personally. Try to see each experience, may it be good or bad, as part of the training and always be kind and gracious in the process.
Catch Joanna Ampil onstage with an international musical theatre stellar cast in Defying Gravity, 12-13 February, Theater Royal, Sydney.