Kiwis shine at Oz awards

Last updated 20:47 28/08/2014
Danielle Cormack
ACTRESS: Danielle Cormack is starring in Wentworth.

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Out of her prison scrubs and into a figure-hugging full-length gold dress, Kiwi actress Danielle Cormack was one of the New Zealanders who, despite torrential rain, shone at the annual Helpmann Awards in Sydney.

Cormack was a presenter at the Helpmanns, Australia’s version of Broadway’s Tony Awards, held to celebrate the country’s performing arts industry.

But she may well be back next year picking up an award. 

Cormack has just finished filming the third series of prison drama Wentworth – we’re now seeing the second series on TV2 – but early next year she will work on a major theatre project.  She is sworn to secrecy about it:  “I’m sorry, if I could talk about it then I would but I just can’t at the moment.”

Cormack, who plays Bea Smith in Wentworth, says her Australian break was in a Melbourne play in 2009 which led to starring roles on TV series such as Rake, Underbelly and, more recently,Wentworth.

She says there are more talented Kiwis than ever working in Australia, especially with the growth of musical theatre.   

That was obvious at the Helpmanns. New Zealanders Jason Te Patu, singer J.Williams, Akina Edmonds, Toni Stewart and Nick Afoa who are among the cast of The Lion King, Patrice Tipoki who’s starring in Les Miserables, and opera singer Teddy Tahu Rhodes from The King and I, rubbed shoulders with the likes of Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush and Strictly Ballroom and The Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann.

Tahu Rhodes performed a number from The King and I alongside girlfriend and former Blue Heelers star Lisa McCune.  Both were delighted when the musical, produced by Opera Australia, scooped the award for Best Musical.

Asked if New Zealanders can expect to see The King and I here any time soon, both said they would love to come but the decision rests with producers who have to see if it’s cost-effective.

Helpmann Awards are presented in about 40 categories, including gongs for technical and onstage work in plays, musicals, opera, dance and live music events. The awards are presented by industry body Live Performance Australia (LPA) and voted on by LPA members.

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