Anna O'Byrne

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Anna O'Byrne (born 20 September 1987) is an Australian actress and soprano singer best known for her portrayal of Christine Daaé in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera and the original Australian production of Lloyd Webber's sequel, Love Never Dies, for which she was nominated for a Green Room Award.[1] O'Byrne has also portrayed Maria in West Side Story,[2] as well as Sister Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. From 2016, O'Byrne has played Eliza Doolittle in the Julie Andrews directed production of My Fair Lady for Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House,[3] touring in 2017 to Brisbane, Melbourne and back to Sydney. She is currently based in London and performs internationally. Her performance career includes opera, theatre, concert, and film.

Early life[edit]

Anna O’Byrne was born in Melbourne, Australia, and was educated at Elwood Primary School and St Michael's Grammar School. She played violin from the age of 5, and performed in school orchestras and sang with the Australian Girls Choir. As a seventeen year old, she won the best Junior Female Performer in the Music Theatre Guild of Victoria[4] Awards for her role as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd.

She later studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and was awarded a Bachelor of Music Performance (Honours).

Theatre[edit]

Two weeks after graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, Anna was recruited to the Australasian tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, covering the role of Christine Daaé.[5] She performed in the role opposite Anthony Warlow as the Phantom during 2009 in Perth and Adelaide.

Anna became a Principal Artist at Victorian Opera, singing Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera[6] co-production with the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne, and Pamina in The Magic Flute.

Anna was chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber to create the role of Christine Daaé[7] in the new Australian production of Love Never Dies, his sequel to The Phantom of the Opera. She performed with Ben Lewis as the Phantom and Simon Gleeson as Raoul. This Simon Phillips-directed production premiered at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne on 21 May 2011 and ran until December. With Ben Lewis and cast members, Anna sang at Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in December 2011.[8][9] Regarded as the definitive production of this musical, Love Never Dies was filmed and released in cinemas internationally by Universal Pictures. The DVD and Blu-Ray release debuted at #1 on the international music charts, and #4 on the overall charts.[10] Love Never Dies subsequently transferred to the Capitol Theatre in Sydney in 2012. Anna was nominated for Sydney Theatre[11] and Green Room[12] awards for her portrayal of Christine.

In April, Anna joined Ruthie Henshall and others in Side By Side By Sondheim, a musical revue showcasing the work of composer Stephen Sondheim performed at the Theatre Royal, Sydney.[13][14]

Following Love Never Dies, Anna was invited to make her West End debut on 3 September 2012 as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera opposite Marcus Lovett in the flagship production of the show at Her Majesty's Theatre, London.[15][16][17]

In 2013, she played Anne Egerman in Alex Parker's production of A Little Night Music with Janie Dee and Joanna Riding at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre at Guildford.[18][19] She then created the role of Jenny Lind in Cameron Mackintosh’s Barnum at the Chichester Festival Theatre.[20][21] The rehearsal process was featured in the documentary The Sound of Musicals[22] on Channel 4. Anna then returned to the West End in Robert Allan Ackerman’s Strangers on a Train at the Gielgud Theatre.

She was invited to sing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu at Westminster Abbey at the Memorial Service for Sir David Frost[23][24] on 13 March 2014. The service was attended by Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and other dignitaries.[25] A month later, she was the first actress to perform in Russia as Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, in a special performance with John Owen-Jones as The Phantom, broadcast nationally from the Bolshoi Theatre as part of the Golden Mask Awards.[26][27]

In January 2015, she reprised the role of Anne Egerman in Alex Parker's production of A Little Night Music with Janie Dee and Joanna Riding at the Palace Theatre as part of the show's 40th anniversary celebrations.[28] She then debuted with English National Opera in their production of Sweeney Todd, starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson.[29] Returning to her hometown Melbourne, Australia in July 2015, she performed the role of Maria in a sell-out season of West Side Story at the State Theatre for The Production Company.[30][31] For this performance, she was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Female Actor in a Leading Role.

Later that year in Sydney, she appeared with David Campbell in the Hayes Theatre’s An Evening With… cabaret, alongside Judi Connelli, John Diedrich, Amy Lehpamer, James Millar and Alex Rathgeber.[32] In November 2015 she returned to the West End in Alex Parker's Kings of Broadway at the Palace Theatre.[33]

She joined the UK tour of Guys and Dolls playing Sarah Brown opposite Louise Dearman and Richard Fleeshman from March to July 2016.[34]

Returning again to Australia, she was chosen by director Dame Julie Andrews to play the iconic role of Eliza Doolittle in the 60th anniversary My Fair Lady Opera Australia/Gordon Frost co-production at the Sydney Opera House.[35][36] The show opened in September 2016 and ran until November, breaking the box office record for the Sydney Opera House,[37] with more tickets sold than any other production in the Opera House's 43 years. My Fair Lady also featured Alex Jennings as Henry Higgins, Robyn Nevin as Mrs Higgins and Reg Livermore as Alfred P. Doolittle.[38] For this performance, Anna won the Colleen Clifford Memorial Award in The Glugs Theatrical Awards,[39] and was also nominated for the Sydney Theatre Judith Johnson Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a musical.[40]

Anna was back in London for concerts in December 2016 and January 2017.

Anna continued with My Fair Lady to Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane in March, with Charles Edwards as Henry Higgins, and at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne from 16 May to July 2017. A return Sydney season for My Fair Lady followed from August to October 2017 at the Capitol Theatre.[41] For her performance as Eliza Doolittle, Anna won a Helpmann Award[42] for Best Female Actor in a Musical on 24 July 2017. She was also nominated for a Green Room Award.[43]

Anna returned to the London stage from November 2017 to February 2018 as Laura Fairlie in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Woman in White at the Charing Cross Theatre.[44]

She joined Ramin Karimloo's Australasian tour[45] in May and June 2018, as well as appearing as Laurey Williams in The Production Company's Oklahoma! alongside Simon Gleeson, Elise McCann and Bobby Fox in Melbourne.[46] Back in London, she appeared in a workshop version of Unmasked,[47] a not-so-reverent musical retrospective celebrating Andrew Lloyd-Webber's 70th birthday.

Film[edit]

Recordings[edit]

  • Dream (2016); album by Anna O’Byrne, Musical Director Guy Simpson, Producer Alex Parker.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Production Role Result
2011 Green Room Awards Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Music Theatre) Love Never Dies Christine Daaé Nominated
2012 Sydney Theatre Awards Judith Johnson Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical Love Never Dies Christine Daaé Nominated
2015 Green Room Awards Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Music Theatre) West Side Story Maria Nominated
2016 Sydney Theatre Awards Judith Johnson Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle Nominated
2016 Glugs Theatrical Awards Colleen Clifford Memorial Award for the most Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle Won
2017 Helpmann Awards Best Female Actor in a Musical My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle Won
2017 Green Room Awards Best Female Actor in a Leading Role (Music Theatre) My Fair Lady Eliza Doolittle Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lloyd Webber Casts Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne in Australian Love Never Dies | Playbill
  2. ^ Bunbury, Stephanie. "Anna O'Byrne laughing her way through the emotional demands of West Side Story". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  3. ^ How Julie Andrews chose me for My Fair Lady: Anna O'Byrne tells
  4. ^ "Previous Winners – 2003 | Music Theatre Guild of Victoria Inc". www.musictheatreguildvic.org. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Anna O'Byrne Fans". www.artisttrove.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  6. ^ "The Threepenny Opera | Stage Whispers". www.stagewhispers.com.au. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Lloyd Webber Casts Ben Lewis and Anna O'Byrne in Australian Love Never Dies | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  8. ^ Burns, Andy (9 December 2011). "Christie Whelan and Anna O'Byrne to light up the Carols stage". Herald Sun. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  9. ^ Kelly Leddy (14 October 2012), Ben Lewis & Anne O'Byrne at Carols by Candlelight 2011.flv, retrieved 1 March 2017
  10. ^ "The Film - Home". Love Never Dies - The Film. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  11. ^ "2012 | Sydney Theatre Awards". www.sydneytheatreawards.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  12. ^ "2011 Green Room Nominations Announced | News". AussieTheatre.com. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Side By Side By Sondheim: Special Charity Event | Stage Whispers". www.stagewhispers.com.au. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Side by Side by Sondheim - more cast announced | News". AussieTheatre.com. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  15. ^ BWW. "Photo Flash: First Look at Marcus Lovett, Simon Thomas and More in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Major cast changes for Phantom London". The Phantom of the Opera. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  17. ^ Cheesman, Neil (20 November 2012). "Interview with Anna O'Byrne: Christine Daaé in The Phantom of The..." LondonTheatre1.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  18. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Hadley Fraser, Anna O'Byrne and More Set for A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC Concert This June". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  19. ^ "A LIttle Night Music". www.jonathanbaz.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  20. ^ "Barnum – Theatre In The Park, Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester". The Reviews Hub. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  21. ^ Cheesman, Neil (5 August 2013). "Anna O'Byrne in Barnum at Chichester Festival Theatre". LondonTheatre1.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  22. ^ "The Sound of Musicals - Episode Guide - All 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Abbey pays tribute to Sir David Frost". www.westminster-abbey.org. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Andrew Lloyd Webber takes musical star Anna O'Byrne out for dinner". Mail Online. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Westminster Abbey SIR DAVID FROST OBE A SERVICE TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND WORK OF. Thursday 13th March 2014 Noon. 7th April st August PDF". docplayer.net. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  26. ^ Tube, Stage. "STAGE TUBE: Phantoms x3! THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Previews at Golden Mask in Moscow". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  27. ^ Cheesman, Neil (17 April 2014). "John Owen-Jones and Anna O'Byrne sing at The Bolshoi Theatre". LondonTheatre1.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  28. ^ "A Little Night Music - Review". www.jonathanbaz.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  29. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Photo Coverage: Terfel and Thompson in ENO's SWEENEY TODD!". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  30. ^ "West Side Story | Stage Whispers". www.stagewhispers.com.au. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  31. ^ "West Side Story | The Production Company". www.australianstage.com.au. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  32. ^ "Instagram post by Anna O'Byrne • Nov 17, 2015 at 3:32am UTC". Instagram. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  33. ^ Collins, Stephen (28 November 2015). "Review - Kings of Broadway". Live Theatre UK. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  34. ^ "West End Wilma – Richard Fleeshman, Maxwell Caulfield, Louise Dearman and Anna O'Byrne to star in the UK Tour of GUYS AND DOLLS". www.westendwilma.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  35. ^ Waterhouse, Kate (19 August 2016). "How Julie Andrews chose me for My Fair Lady: Anna O'Byrne tells". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  36. ^ Jade Kops (11 May 2016), Anna O'Byrne, Australia's new Eliza Doolittle sings "I Could Have Danced All Night", retrieved 1 March 2017
  37. ^ "My Fair Lady tops Opera House sales record". News.com.au. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  38. ^ "Opera Australia announces starry cast for My Fair Lady | Daily Review: Film, stage and music reviews, interviews and more". dailyreview.com.au. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  39. ^ "Sydney's GLUG Awards announced". Talking Arts. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  40. ^ "2016 | Sydney Theatre Awards". www.sydneytheatreawards.com. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
  41. ^ "My Fair Lady - Sydney 2017". My Fair Lady. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  42. ^ "2017 Nominees and Winners | Helpmann Awards". www.helpmannawards.com.au. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  43. ^ "2018 Nominees – The Green Room Awards". www.greenroom.org.au. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  44. ^ "Anna O'Byrne cast in first London revival of The Woman In White". britishtheatre.com. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  45. ^ "Ramin Karimloo concert tour".
  46. ^ "2018 home". The Production Company. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  47. ^ Kitchen, The Web (26 October 2018). "Unmasked - A Public Workshop". Andrew Lloyd Webber. Retrieved 27 December 2018.