Door opens to a dream role
Thomas McGuane never set out to clinch a lead role in the Broadway smash hit musical Frozen when it came to Australia.
The Geelong-born performer was vying for a spot in the ensemble and hoping for a cover role when his audition of some Prince Hans material caught the eye of the Disney creative team.
“The call-backs came one after the other and it eventually got down to the last day of auditions in Sydney,” Thomas recalls.
“They pulled me aside at the end of it and said ‘hey, we’d actually love you to come in for an extra day because we have the president of Disney Theatricals here, Thomas Schumacher, and we want him to see you do the Hans material.
“At that point it was like ‘holy crap, here we go, this is going to another level’.
“It was a mixture of elation and absolute terror,” he adds, with a laugh.
The 25-year-old says it was unlike anything he had experienced before and the following day things got even better.
“As a performer you have these lovely moments in your career where auditions just work.
“When I went in for that extra day and performed the Hans material for the entire panel, I just remember leaving that audition thinking ‘I nailed that’ – it felt incredible.
“It couldn’t have gone any better.”
Needless to say, he got the role and a childhood dream to work for Disney was realised in that life-changing moment.
“I was half-way walking home and I remember receiving the call, hanging up the phone and then running home the rest of the way – just to relieve the energy a bit,” he says.
“If I’m being honest, when I got home I didn’t really say anything, I just cried.
“I was so happy and I felt like I had worked hard and truly earned it.
“It’s been my number one goal as a child to be involved with this Disney universe in one way or another.
“Thankfully it is a musical and it’s an artform that I truly, truly love.”
Thomas says playing the princely role of Hans continues to exceed his expectations.
He sees the villainous Hans as being incredibly complex – something that is explored more in the musical than in the original film.
“He gets more time to explain who he is, he gets his own musical motif and he gets so much more time with the people of Arendelle to convince them of his plight and of saving Anna.
“He is this great character where I get to put on multiple masks all in one.”
Thomas’ favourite scene in the musical is Love is an Open Door which he performs alongside Courtney Monsma who plays Anna.
“It’s so lovely having had both perspectives of being in the audience at Her Majesty’s so many times and now being on stage
“I go out there knowing that someone is going to have a magical night. We say as an industry ‘we’re going out there and someone could be in the audience seeing their first show and having their first theatre experience’.
“Each time we go out we are giving someone that magic and there is nothing more wholesome and wonderful than that.”
Thomas, who grew up in Colac, performed in school musicals and learned instruments such as the violin and guitar, as well as taking dancing classes.
But he says the pivotal moment was landing a role in a Geelong production of My Fair Lady in 2014 – which he pursued so he could perform alongside his father, accomplished performer Jamie McGuane.
“Dad’s voice was the soundtrack of my childhood and just knowing I could do a show with him was wonderful,” he says, adding that both his parents have been his greatest supporters.
Thomas says it was conversations with his My Fair Lady cast members who had studied musical theatre that cemented his ambition to become a professional performer.
“From there it was theatre or bust,” he explains.
Thomas went on to study at the Victorian College of the Arts (BFA, Music Theatre) and received the Cassidy Bequest Scholarship based on merit in the three disciplines of acting, singing, and dance.
He also won the GLUG award for Most Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer for his performance of Bob Gaudio in the national tour of Jersey and was a finalist for the 2017 Rob Guest Endowment Award.
He holds ambitions to one day perform on Broadway or the West End but for now starring in Frozen is filling his cup, with the next stop being Brisbane after the Melbourne season ends on January 23.
Thomas encourages anyone thinking of seeing Frozen while it is still in Melbourne to seize the chance, with new release tickets for December now on sale due to restrictions lifting.
“This show truly is for everyone,” he says. “It is for families, for sons and daughters and for the grandmothers and grandfathers.
“For anyone who loves Disney it brings so much to the table. It truly is a spectacle for all.”
To purchase tickets go to the ‘frozenthemusical’ website or Ticketek.