Amanda Harrison

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Amanda Harrison
Amanda Harrison in March 2012.jpg
Amanda Harrison in March 2012
Background information
Born Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Genres Musical Theatre
Occupation(s) Singer, actor
Years active 1997–present

Amanda Harrison is an Australian actress and singer, known for her roles in Wicked (Elphaba) We Will Rock You (Meat u/s -UK, and Oz- Australia) and for originating the role of Paula Pokrifki in the world premiere of An Officer and A Gentleman.[1] She has performed in cabaret several times, including her current production Up Close and Reasonably Personal[2] which she is expected to perform at Melbourne Cabaret Festival in June 2014[3] and recently David Harris, Michael Ball, Lea Salonga and Marie Zamora for Enda Markey Presents Do You Hear The People Sing[4] at Shanghai Grand Theatre. She voiced characters for Get Ace an animation series released in January 2014.[5] She appeared with Mig Ayesa, Michael Falzon and Carly Thomas-Smith for three performances of The Music of Queen - Rock and Symphonic Spectacular.[6] The concert series began on 7 February 2014, at Sydney Opera House supported by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra before three performances in Perth, Western Australia (Joondalup Resort,[7] Riverside Theatre[8] and Boardwalk Theatre)[9] between 13–15 February.

Early years[edit]

Harrison grew up in Bangor and attended Menai High School[10] in Sydney's Sutherland Shire. Harrison attended short courses at The Actors Centre and started the Musical Theatre BA at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 1997, but left after only six weeks to take the role of Betty Schaefer in the Original Australian Production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard.[11]

In 1993 Harrison graduated from the Talent Development Project[12] - a program aimed at identifying and supporting students with talent and an interest in a career as an entertainer.[13]

Theatre career[edit]

Harrison made her professional debut playing Jenny in Aspects of Love.[11] Other theatrical credits include Sunset Boulevard, Les Misérables, The Journey Girl, and as Liza Minnelli in The Boy from Oz with Todd McKenney. For The Production Company, she has appeared in Mame, She Loves Me, Guys and Dolls,[14] and a Green Room nominated performance of Ado Annie in Oklahoma!

In 2001 Harrison moved to London and made her debut in the West End as Ali in Mamma Mia!

She was an Original London Cast member of the Queen and Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You, starring Tony Vincent and Hannah Jane Fox which opened at the Dominion Theatre on 14 May 2002. Harrison understudied the roles of Scaramouche and Meatloaf. She returned to Australia in 2003 for the Australian Tour, which ran from 7 August 2003 – 13 March 2005[15] in the role of Oz - short for Ozzie Osbourne (formerly Meatloaf in London) The production also starred Michael Falzon as Galileo, Kate Maree Hoolihan as Scaramouche, and Jason Chong– (later Daniel Fletcher) as Brit.[15] For her portrayal of Oz, Harrison was awarded the 2004 Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

In 2005 Harrison appeared in Leader of the Pack – The Ellie Greenwich Musical playing Ellie Greenwich, an inspirational songwriter of the 1960s. Her performance was nominated for both Helpmann and Green Room Awards.

Taking over the role from Sophie Katinis, Harrison played Ellen in Miss Saigon[16] for the Brisbane and Sydney seasons in 2007. This production featured David Harris as Chris and Laurie Cadevida as Kim.

In 2008, Harrison originated the role of Elphaba in the Australian production of Wicked which opened in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre. Harrison took a leave of absence from the show in November 2009 citing health and family reasons, with the intention of returning in 2010,[17] however by February it became clear the leave would be permanent.[18] For playing the role, Harrison was nominated for Green Room, Helpmann and Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Harrison appeared as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes for The Production Company. She starred alongside Todd McKenney (Lord Evelyn Oakleigh), Wayne Scott Kermond (Moonface Martin) Christie Whelan (Erma) and Alex Rathgeber (Billy Crocker).[19] Anything Goes ran from 20 – 24 July 2011 at the State Theatre in The Arts Centre, Melbourne, Victoria.

Harrison originated the role of Paula Pokrifki in the World Premiere of An Officer and a Gentleman[20] at the Sydney Lyric Theatre which ran for six weeks in 2012. Harrison was cast opposite Ben Mingay as Zack May, in a production that included Alex Rathgeber, Kate Kendall, Bert Labonte, Bartholomew John and Tara Morice. Despite its short run (18 May 2012 to 1 July 2012) An Officer and A Gentleman was nominated for five Helpmann Awards[21] and five Theatre People Pro Choice Awards [22] including Best Female Actor in a Musical and Best Actress nominations for Harrison.

Harrison stepped in to sing the role of Anita in The Production Company's 2015 West Side Story, when actor Deone Zanotto suddenly came down with laryngitis. Anita's spoken dialogue was provided by assistant director Natalie Gilhome, while Zanotto continued to provide the physical performance.[23]

Theatre Credits[edit]

Production Role Company Location Date
Aspects of Love[24] Jenny Really Useful Productions Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW. Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, VIC. 19–29 November 1992
Sunset Boulevard[11] Betty Schaefer Really Useful Productions Regent Theatre, Melbourne, VIC. 26 October 1996 - 6 June 1997[25]
Les Misérables[25] u/s Eponine Cameron Mackintosh Theatre Royal, Sydney, NSW. Princess Theatre, Melbourne, VIC 29 November 1997 – 13 June 1998; 27 June - 25 July 1998
The Journey Girl Annie Particular Productions Athenaeum Theatre Two, Melbourne, VIC. 13 March 1999
Mame[26] Pegeen Ryan The Production Company State Theatre, Melbourne, VIC 1999
The Boy From Oz[25] Liza Minnelli Gannon Fox Productions Pty Ltd Princess Theatre, Melbourne, VIC. Festival Theatre, Adelaide, SA. Burswood Theatre, Perth, WA. 5 January - March 2000
Guys and Dolls[25] Sarah Brown The Production Company State Theatre, Melbourne, VIC. 16 August 2000
Mama Mia[27] Ali Little Star Services West End London 19 March 2001 - 16 March 2002[28]
We Will Rock You[29] u/s Meat Phil McIntyre Productions Dominion Theatre, London. 2002
We Will Rock You[30] Oz Phil McIntyre, Michael Coppel, Queen, Tribecca Australia 7 August 2003 – 13 March 2005
Leader of the Pack[31] Ellie Greenwich New Theatricals The Palms at Crown, Southbank, VIC. 12 July - 28 August 2005
Oklahoma![32] Ado Annie The Production Company State Theatre, Melbourne, VIC. 28 September - 1 October 2005
Boy Band[25][33] Ricochet Working Productions Seymour Downstairs Theatre, Chippendale, NSW, 3–25 March 2006
Miss Saigon[34] Ellen Cameron Mackintosh Brisbane QPAC Lyric Theatre. Sydney Lyric Theatre 20 September - 22 December 2007
Wicked Elphaba Wicked Australia Regent Theatre, Melbourne, VIC. Capitol Theatre, Haymarket, NSW. 2008
Anything Goes[35] Reno Sweeney The Production Company, The Arts Centre State Theatre, Melbourne, VIC 20 – 24 July 2011
An Officer and a Gentleman[1] Paula Gordon Frost Organisation Lyric Theatre, Sydney 18 May-1 July 2012


Harrison performed her own cabaret "The Story Goes On" at Statement Lounge Bar, in Sydney from 13 July 2006 to 15 July 2006 describing the show as

"... a little tongue-in-cheek, piss-take of my life," Harrison says. "When I was looking at my life trying to make something for this show I [realised] I've done some really cool things, but in essence I'm still a really big dag."[14]

With Wicked cast mate Lucy Durack, she sang the Australian national anthem Advance Australia Fair at the opening of the AFL Grand Final[36] Harrison performed the song "One Short Day" with fellow Wicked cast members at the 2008 Melbourne Myer Windows display to kick off the Christmas Parade. On 24 December, Harrison and Durack sang at Vision Australia's Annual Carols by Candlelight Concert at the Sydney Meyer Music Bowl.

On 20 January 2009, Harrison performed at Carnegie Hall as part of Australia Week in "Australia Plays Broadway", where she sang "The Wizard and I" from Wicked, "Arthur's Theme" from The Boy From Oz and "I Still Call Australia Home" alongside Olivia Newton-John, Simon Burke and David Campbell[37]

For the 2010 Rob Guest Endowment Concert, held on 4 October Harrison sang The Story Goes On.[38]

In conjunction with Sharon Millerchip and Caroline O’Connor, Harrison performed a tribute to JC Williamson Award winners Nancye Hayes OAM, Toni Lamond AM and Jill Perryman AM MBE at the 2011 Helpmann Awards.[39]

On 13 February 2011 at the Seymour Centre in Sydney[40] and then on 28 August at the National Theatre in Melbourne, Harrison performed for Hats Off! an annual fundraising concert presented by Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (OSCEFA),[41] then in its 12th year. Harrison also performed at the 2012 concert in Sydney on 13 February.[42][43] Hats Off raises money to support Australians living wit HIV.

Martin Crewes performed with Harrison at QPAC Spirit of Christmas on 9–10 December 2011.[44]

Harrison performed as a guest at We Will Rock You cast mate Michael Falzon’s cabaret ‘Michael Falzon - Plugged In!’[45] in October 2012

Amanda Harrison — Up Close and Reasonably Personal debuted in The Basement, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, on 20 July 2013 for The Arts Centre Gold Coast and Matt Ward Entertainment.[46] This was followed by a performance at Slide in Sydney on 3 October[47][48] and 17 January 2014, again in Queensland, at The Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane.[49] It will also make up part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival in June 2014.[3] Up Close and Reasonably Personal was written by James Millar in collaboration with Harrison and includes songs from a variety of genres.[50]

Harrison joined Michael Ball, Lea Salonga David Harris, and Marie Zamora for Enda Markey Presents Do You Hear The People Sing at Shanghai Grand Theatre from 27 November until 1 December 2013.[51] Harrison is to rejoin Harris and Ball in Taipei to continue the tour. No further dates are as yet available.[52] Do You Hear The People Sing features the work of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg including music from Les Misérables and Miss Saigon.

She appeared at Sydney's annual Carols in the Domain on 21 December[53] where she sang Let It Go from Disney's Frozen.

Harrison, along with Mig Ayesa, Michael Falzon and Carly Thomas-Smith headlined six performances of The Music of Queen - Rock and Symphonic Spectacular.[6] The concert series began on 7 February 2014, at Sydney Opera House with two shows following on 8 February, supported by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. A further three performances in Perth, Western Australia (Joondalup Resort,[7] Riverside Theatre[8] and Boardwalk Theatre)[9] with the Perth Symphony Orchestra followed between 13–15 February. All three of the Opera House performances sold out and the Perth shows were at capacity,[54] including an 8000-person event for the City of Joondalup at the Joondalup Resort.[55]

Other performances[edit]


  • In 2000, Harrison performed in Cardiff, Wales as a finalist at the inaugural Voice of Musical Theatre for BBC Radio 2. She was subsequently featured in the BBC documentary about the competition Broadway Babies, which aired throughout the UK and Australia.[56]
  • Highlights of her year in London’s WWRY included performing at Party in the Park at Hyde Park, and again at Buckingham Palace with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor for the Jubilee Celebration, 'Party at the Palace'.
  • Amanda’s TV appearances in the UK include Parkinson, Children In Need and guest roles in Oscar Charlie, Grange Hill and Casualty, all for the BBC.
  • On 27 September 2008, Harrison performed the Australian National Anthem with Wicked co-star Lucy Durack at the 2008 AFL Grand Final.
  • As part of the cast of We Will Rock You, Harrison performed at the opening of the Australian Rules Football Grand Final, 2003 at the (approx) 90,000 person capacity MCG, and aired nationally on the 10 Network Australia.[57]
  • Harrisons appearance as part of the 2013 annual Carols in the Domain was telecast nationally via the Seven Network on Saturday 21 December 2013.[58]
  • She voiced characters for Get Ace, an animation series scheduled for release in January 2014.


  • Included in internationally released cast recording of We Will Rock You[59]
  • Featured in promotional release of five songs from An Officer and A Gentleman with Ben Mingay, including
Up Where We Belong, performed by Ben Mingay, Amanda Harrison, Kate Kendall and Alex Rathgeber, and
If You Believe In Love, sung by Amanda Harrison.[60]
Memory; Cats[62]
Don’t Cry for Me Argentina; Evita

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Production Role Result
2004[63] Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical We Will Rock You Oz Won
2005 Green Room Awards Best Leading Actress in a Musical Leader of the Pack Ellie Greenwich Nominated
2005 Green Room Awards Best Leading Actress in a Musical Oklahoma Ado Annie Nominated
2006[64] Helpmann Awards Best Leading Actress in a Musical Leader of the Pack Ellie Greenwich Nominated
2009[65] Sydney Theatre Awards Judith Johnson Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical Wicked Elphaba Nominated
2009'[66] Green Room Awards Best Leading Actress in a Musical Wicked Elphaba Nominated
2009[67] Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Musical Wicked Elphaba Nominated
2012 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Musical An Officer and a Gentleman Paula Pokrifki Nominated
2012 Theatre People Pro Choice Best Actress An Officer and a Gentleman Paula Pokrifki Nominated


  1. ^ a b Simon Parris (14 March 2012). "An Interview with Amanda Harrison and Ben Mingay". Theatre People. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  2. ^ David Allen (21 September 2013). "Amanda Harrison: Wife, Mother, Diva – Up Close and Reasonably Personal". Aussie Theatre. Retrieved 21 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "2014 Melbourne Cabaret Festival". Arts Review. 27 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Do You Hear The People Sing?". Enda Markey Presents. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Amanda Harrison: Up Close And Reasonably Personal". Arts Hub. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Kristy Symonds (8 December 2013). "He Will Rock You". The Sunday Times. p. 97. 
  7. ^ a b Justin Bianchini (21 November 2013). "Concert will rock resort". Joondalup Weekender. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "The Music Of Queen – A Rock & Symphonic Spectacular featuring the Perth Symphony Orchestra". Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "The Music Of Queen". MPAC. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Kevin Sadlier (19 April 2012). "World is a stage for optimist with dreams". Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Fiona Gruber (11 July 2011). "Wicked star takes a de-lovely turn". The Australian. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "TDP grads steal the limelight in China". Talent Development Project. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Objectives". Talent Development Project. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Clara Iaccarino (10 July 2006). "Amanda Harrison: The Story Goes On". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Bernard Zuel (9 October 2004). "We Will Rock You (Preview)". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  16. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald. (24 September 2007). "Miss Saigon". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Troy Dodds (30 December 2009). "Amanda Harrison will return". Aussie Theatre. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Bryce Hallett (9 February 2010). "Wicked effect on star's voice forces her to call it quits". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  19. ^ Sally Bennet (18 July 2011). "Wicked star Amanda Harrison returns in Anything Goes". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "An Officer and A Gentleman Musical Cast Announced". Stage Whispers. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  21. ^ "Helpmann Award Nominees 2012". live Performance Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  22. ^ Simon Parris (28 November 2012). "Theatre People Pro Choice 2012 Winners Announced!". Theatre People. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  23. ^ Alison Hilbig (12 July 2015). "Thee Show Must Go On And It Did". Theatre People. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Aspects of Love". Ovrtur. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c d e "Aus Stage Amanda Harrison". AusStage • Researching Australian live performance. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  26. ^ "Leader of the Pack Media Kit" (PDF). Retrieved 6 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Girl of the Week: Amanda Harrison". Broadway is Wicked. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  28. ^ "Mamma Mia - Principal Cast". London Musicals Online. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  29. ^ Matt Wolf (17 May 2002). "We Will Rock You". Variety. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  30. ^ Rebecca-Anne do Rozario. "We Will Rock You (review)". Project Muse. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  31. ^ "They're Only Words". The Age. 16 July 2005. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  32. ^ Jim Murphy (30 September 2005). "Oklahoma!". The Age. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  33. ^ "Boyband returns". Star Observer. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Jack Teiwes (24 September 2007). "Miss Saigon | Cameron Mackintosh". Australian Stage. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  35. ^ Stephanie Glickman (22 July 2011). "Anything Goes | The Production Company". Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  36. ^ Stephen Drill (27 September 2008). "Stadium rocks to old-style show". Sunday Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 October 2013. 
  37. ^ "Wrap up - Australia Plays Broadway". American Australian Association. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  38. ^ Karen Jemison (7 October 2010). "Rob Guest Endowment Concert". Theatre People. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  39. ^ Erin James (1 August 2011). "Leadling ladies honoured". Aussie Theatre. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  40. ^ Clint Salter (15 February 2011). "Huge Line up for Hats Off!". Dance Life. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  41. ^ "Hats Off 2011". theatrepeople. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  42. ^ Ron Hughes. "Step Right Up: Hats Off! 2012". Gay News Network. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  43. ^ "Hats Off! 2012" (PDF). Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  44. ^ Sommer Tothill (13 December 2011). "QPAC gets into the spirit". The best way to stage Christmas. Brisbane Times. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  45. ^ (15 October 2012). "Special AussieTheatre offer for Michael Falzon concert, Sydney". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  46. ^ Bobbi-Lea Dionysius (10 July 2013). "Amanda Harrison — Up Close and Reasonably Personal". Aussie Theatre. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  47. ^ "Amanda Harrison". Slide. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  48. ^ Cec Busby (17 September 2013). "Queens of Cabaret Land at Slide". Gay News Network. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  49. ^ "Amanda Harrison: Up Close and reasonably Personal". Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  50. ^ David Allen (12 October 2013). "Amanda Harrison: Up Close and Reasonably Personal". Aussie Theatre. Retrieved 12 October 2013. 
  51. ^ Jacqueline Bublitz (17 September 2013). "Michael Ball and Lea Salonga Headline Do You Hear the People Sing? in Shanghai, 11/27". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  52. ^ "Enda Markey Presents". Enda Markey Presents. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  53. ^ Lisa Hollinshead (16 December 2013). "Carols in the Domain". Sydney Social. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  54. ^ "Symphonic Queen a hit in Australia". North Street Music. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  55. ^ Tyler Brown (18 February 2014). "Queen spectacular draws 8000". Joondalup Times. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  56. ^ "Wicked Australia". 10 July 2006. 
  57. ^ Caroline Wilson (27 July 2003). "We will rock you, says AFL, finally with-it". The Age. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  58. ^ Ed Gibbs. "Carols in The Domain shaping up to be a cracker of a night". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  59. ^ "We Will Rock You". The Guide to Musical Theatre. 14 May 2002. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  60. ^ "An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical: Songs for Download". Stage Whispers. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  61. ^ "I Dreamed a Dream: Hit Songs from Broadway". © 2013 Universal Music Australia Pty Limited. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  62. ^ "I Dreamed A Dream – Hit Songs of Broadway". ABC. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  63. ^ "Helpmann Awards Winners (2004)". Live Performance Australia. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  64. ^ "Helpmann Award nominees (2006)". Live Performance Australia. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  65. ^ "2009 - Nominations and Winners". Sydney Theatre Awards. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  66. ^ "Green Room Awards Past Recipients (2008)". Green Room Awards. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  67. ^ "Helpmann Award nominees (2009)". Live Performance Australia. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 

External links[edit]