It is hard to believe Rory Nolan was only 6 years old when Mamma Mia first premiered on London's West End stage 15 years ago.
Now the 21-year-old law student is about to play one of the lead roles when the musical opens at The Civic in March.
Mr Nolan plays Sky, the fiance of the young female lead. He says this version of the musical will be different to all the other productions that have appeared throughout the world.
"It's the first time it's an all-New Zealand cast and it's an entirely new brand with new stage design and costumes," he says.
Mr Nolan is not following the usual path of a young, struggling actor waiting on tables to make ends meet.
While studying law at Auckland University and juggling Mamma Mia rehearsals he has also been interning at a large city law firm.
"I've been finding it quite a challenge this summer. Working to 6pm, rehearsals at 7pm, getting home at 10.30pm."
He says although he was "really into music" as a St Kentigern College student, the singing and acting bug did not take hold until Year 11 and he "auditioned randomly" for a part in the school production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Although a few more major singing roles have landed in his path since then, he is realistic about a singing and acting career in New Zealand.
"I think I've always wanted to be a singer but the reality of making it into a career in New Zealand is probably quite limited. At the moment I like balancing law with singing on the side."
The "upbeat" role is a change from those he usually plays.
"I'm used to playing bad guys and darker roles."
He has also had to learn to dance, which has been a challenge.
"It's intense choreography needing a high level of fitness. But I've improved a lot over the past few months."
Mamma Mia is one of the biggest musicals on stage and has been seen by more than 90 million people.
"I think a New Zealand cast is just as capable of putting on the same quality as an international show and I think it's great people can see something locally produced and know we can do it."
The show will be at The Civic from March 4. Tickets from ticketmaster.co.nz or phone 970 9700.
- East And Bays Courier
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