PERFORMING the role of Sam Wheat in Australian production Ghost the Musical is the biggest acting challenge Rob Mills has taken on, which is exactly why he wanted the part.
“There’s only 12 minutes where I’m off stage out of the two hours and it’s a great acting piece to showcase what I can do,” Mills said.
“I’m not Fiyero (Wicked) dancing through life or Danny Zuko (Grease) or Warner in Legally Blonde who were similar.
“It has great dialogue to get my acting chops up and is my kind of musical theatre with a lot of guitars, heavy drums and big basslines.”
Mills said he identified a great deal with the character who worked hard to make his own luck while at the same time being afraid it could be taken away at any moment.
“He’s quite vulnerable,” he said.
“The writer Bruce Joel Rubin (1990 film and musical) sent an email to Jemma (Rix, playing Molly) and I, talking about why Patrick Swayze was cast in the role and who the other actors were who turned it down because they didn’t want to show a weakness.
“I remember doing an acting class a few years ago where I was told the best way to show your strength is to show your vulnerability; it’s how we relate to people.”
Mills, who kept a tight lid on the musical’s special effects, despite admitting it is a struggle to keep the secrets, said he was given the unique perspective every performance of watching his onstage partner grieve for him.
“It’s something you’ll never do in the real world,” he said.
“I think a lot of people come to this show forgetting that love and loss is one of the main themes.
“If it was any other show, the first song would be the last.
“You’d have gone through all your trials and tribulations, moved into an apartment, the end. This show starts with the happy ending and then it’s not so happy after that.
“That’s why it’s so important in those first 12 minutes Sam and Molly have together that we drive home the love they share.”
Mills said the dialogue in Ghost the Musical was as relevant now as it was when written for the film and he loved that the musical was not “too over-sung”; sometimes there are just snippets of a song.
“The thing I love most about musical theatre is that when you can’t say the words you want to say, you sing them,” he said.
“And when you’re not getting your point across any more through your song, you stop and say it.
“A good musical will do that; it heightens the emotion, whether it’s anger, love, happiness, the music will take you to the next level.”
What: Ghost the Musical
Where: Crown Theatre Perth
When: May 21 to June 12