Gyton Grantley Talks Musical Theatre, Surfing and Spam

19 December 2012

For television and film star, Gyton Grantley, performing in the iconic Rogers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific is his first foray into musical theatre.

"I've never done musical theatre before. It's a new adventure for me. This has been a unique rehearsal process. The show has been running since June in Sydney and Melbourne. I'm replacing Eddie Perfect in the role of Luther Billis and Christine Anu is replacing Kate Cebrano as Bloody Mary," said Gyton.

 Gyton Grantley

"Last week, Christine and I spent a week with the cast to essentially learn the show - as much as we could. We have been thrown into the deep end of a very big pool. I'm currently learning my lines and the choreography."

This incarnation of the much loved musical is based on a Tony Award winning production that originally premiered at the Lincoln Center Theatre in New York in 2008; the cast played to sold-out houses for two and a half years. It was Opera Australia and theatre producer John Frost who brought the show to Australia and after wowing audiences in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane theatre goers will soon have a chance to savour some enchanted evening.

Gyton is thrilled to be joining the cast, which consists of four time Gold Logie award-winner Lisa McCune and acclaimed opera star Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

"Everyone knows the songs such as There is Nothin' Like a Dame, I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Bali Ha'i'. It's exotic; being set in the south pacific. The picturesque background is set against war. But it's also a lot of fun, it's a spectacle and a joy to watch," he said.

"My character Luther Billis is the self appointed leader of the battalion; he's an optimist. He leads the gang with a bullish charm. He's also hopelessly in love with Lisa McCune's character, Nellie Forbush and will do anything for her. He's essentially trying to make the best of the situation he's in."

Despite taking to the stage every night to perform in a musical set in the South Pacific, Gyton himself hasn't ventured to a South Pacific Island. He has, however, been to Hawaii.

"I went surfing at Waikiki. I then headed up to the North Shore, where I rode waves, swam with turtles and ate spam. I think during the war spam was one of the only food they could get in Hawaii, so now it's become really popular - along with pineapples," said Gyton.

"Stradbroke Island is one of my places of all time. It's the natural beauty that makes it special; it's so peaceful and has a selection of great beaches and beautiful lakes. I find it very calming and relaxing."

Earlier this year, Gyton headed to China. He travelled quite a bit around the country; the highlights were walking on the Great Wall of China, skiing at Yabui and attending the ice festival in Harbin which Gyton describes as a magical wonderland.

"My dream destination would have to be space. To be able to see the world in its entirety would be something special."

Gyton Grantley is performing in South Pacific at QPAC from December 27.

Lyndon Barnett

Guided by curiosity and a sense of adventure, Lyndon travelled independently to 69 countries on six continents. As such, travel is Lyndon's only addiction. He enjoys with equal measure - scaling the peaks of a South American mountain at altitude, attending opera in a European Opera House or hunting for a bargain in an Asian market.