New Zealand’s Georgia Bergerson stars in the German-language production of Starlight Express in Bochum, Germany, where the show continues to play to packed houses after more than twenty years in the specially built Starlighthalle Theatre. We caught up with Georgia to talk skating, dream roles, and everything in between…
How long have you been in the show in Bochum?
This is my second year appearing in the show.
Had you seen Starlight Express before appearing in the production?
I was part of the Starlight Express tour in New Zealand in 2009, but I hadn’t seen the show before appearing in it. I think it’s absolutely amazing – it really is the most incredible show ever.
How does playing in Bochum, and onstage at the Starlighthalle, differ to playing the show elsewhere in the world?
The stage makes all the difference. It is such an awesome opportunity to skate on this amazing set, and to whizz past the audience at such speed…
What are the Bochum audiences like?
Amazing, especially because we have a standing ovation every night!
You perform in German, which isn’t your first language. Is that difficult?
It can be very tough. But it’s an amazing opportunity to learn a new language and a good challenge as well.
How does the skating element of the show make Starlight Express different from performing in other musical theatre productions?
All of your dance training suddenly gets changed into a completely new skill. For me, the skating is my favourite part of being involved in this show.
Did you know how to skate before appearing in the show?
No, I had never skated before – we all took part in skate school to learn.
What are you like on your roller skates now?
I think I am pretty good. I love it so much, which helps!
Have you experienced any skating-related injuries?
Apart from a split eye, I’ve been pretty lucky with having not one day off for injury. Fingers crossed it will continue that way…
How do you get about offstage during the show – do you keep your skates on?
I’m always on my skates – you get from place to place so much faster!
Have you any disasters onstage?
Yes, in a race my “Engine” fell and then I did too. I was sent to hospital at the break to see if I’d broken my arm. Luckily I hadn’t!
What is your favourite song of the show?
My favourite Song is ‘Nur mit ihm’, because it’s beautiful! And when I play Pearl it is an amazing feeling to be centre stage alone with a huge audience listening to me sing.
What is your favourite part of the show?
Definitely the Megamix! I love involving the audience and seeing how much they’re enjoying the show.
What do you like most about performing in the show?
I love the skating for Pearl. It’s so wonderful but it’s a challenging role to play.
Are there any other roles in the show that you would like to play?
I would love to play a Hip Hopper, but unfortunately that isn’t a female role!
What inspired you to pursue a career in musical theatre?
Ever since the first ballet class I attended at the age of 5, I’ve always loved performing, especially to an audience. And my mother always took me to musicals, which totally inspired me.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My mother, my dance teacher Maureen, and Justin Timberlake.
What would your dream role be?
Either Rumpleteazer in Cats or Penny in Hairspray.
Do you miss anything about home when you are performing in Bochum?
Yes, I obviously miss my family, my best friends, the beach and warm summer days!
Are the cast in Bochum very close?
Yes, especially us girls. I have some amazing friends. Our skate school group is very close, we all went through a tough and emotional but very rewarding time together.
How would you spend your perfect day off?
With my best friend Jos. We love to go places on the train, seeing different cities in Europe. I like to make the most of every day I have in Europe as everything is right on your doorstep over here…
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