Staying Power

Heathers the Musical
Josie Power stars in the Townsville Choral Society's Heathers the Musical IMAGE: Sonia Warrell

Josie Power performed in her first Townsville production 10 years ago.

Beginning as an ensemble member in Chess, she’s since done another 10 shows – and will take on the role of Veronica in the Townsville Choral Society’s next show, Heathers: The Musical.

“Veronica is like everyone in high school,” Josie said.

“She just wants to fit in, be accepted, get through high school, make it into college, all the usual dramas of a teenager; but gets a bit distracted, as a lot of us do, by boys. JD (Sam Stewart) comes in and is a dark soul with trauma in his past who distracts her and takes her down more of a murderous path.

“It’s ultimately about making the right choice – being a moral person even when everything and everyone is trying to mislead you – which is kind of a perfect summary of high school I guess!”

While she has played her share of characters over the years – most recently as Gingy in Shrek and Maureen in Rent – leading the show’s story is a new experience for Josie.

“This is the first role where I am responsible for a lot of the story arc – my other larger roles were characters that added a sort of comedic side story. It is a little daunting being responsible for so much of the story now.

“Playing Veronica definitely means pressure – I try not to think about it too much. Something that’s important to me is celebrating female storylines. I appreciate any story that has a strong female lead, rather than just the romantic character because a lot of musical theatre is set in that way – even My Fair Lady, which is named after a lady, you still feel like it’s about her relationship with these men.

“In Heathers, obviously JD is a huge part of the show, but it’s ultimately about Veronica’s friends and her own personal growth and progression.”

The show also holds significance to Josie because of its venue: the Townsville Choral Society’s Brian and Daphne Pease Memorial Hall.

“When I started doing theatre, Brian and Daphne Pease were on the Choral Society committee and were so supportive of all of the young talent coming through.

“I couldn’t go to the My Fair Lady audition because I was sick, and I messaged Brian and asked if I could still audition on a different day. He messaged me back saying ‘come to the first rehearsal on Wednesday and we’ll audition you then.’ So I showed up on the Wednesday and he said ‘Here’s your music, you’re in the show.’

“Brian was all about getting young people involved in theatre – and they still foster that spirit for sure, he would be so happy seeing where the Society is today.

“Honouring Brian and Daphne by now doing a show in the hall that’s named in their honour – it’s going to make me cry. That’s something I’m incredibly proud of about getting to play Veronica, doing it for them.”

Catch Heathers: The Musical at the Brian and Daphne Pease Memorial Hall on 26 June – 6 July 2019. For times and tickets, click here

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