23 Nov 2018
Alexis van Maanen started singing at a young age with the Australian girls choir, travelling with them on two international tours. It’s here that her love for performing blossomed. Her first taste of musical theatre came in 2010 when she joined Opera Australia’s production of La Boheme in the children’s chorus.
Since graduating high school at the end of 2017, Alexis van Maanen has accomplished what many performers her age are just starting to work towards. She landed a principal role with the hit musical EVITA, which, backing up a successful season at Sydney Opera House, is making its way to Arts Centre Melbourne from 5 December.
“I was sent the EVITA audition brief by my agent, and I had been called to audition for the role of the Mistress. Initially I didn’t know too much about the show and the history. I got straight into the research, so I could go into the audition prepared and understanding what I was singing. It was then that I really came to connect with the show and the role of the Mistress,” Alexis explains. “I did the audition — I felt hesitantly confident leaving the room but it’s always hard to gauge how you went — and got a callback. On the second last day of year 12 my agent called me to say, ‘This time next year you will be standing on the EVITA stage.’ And here I am! It’s an honour to be part of a show that is a perfect showcase of what classic, beautiful and quirky musical theatre is.”
Performing opposite ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Tina Arena, who plays the lead role of Eva Peron, Alexis is rubbing shoulders with some of the industry’s best.
“Tina is the definition of professional. She is so calm and collected. I am in awe of her voice, her acting and her performance. I am very grateful to be in this cast alongside her.”
According to Alexis, while the Mistress does not have quite as much stage time as Tina Arena’s Eva Peron character, it’s a pivotal role to the storyline of EVITA.
“Eva Peron harshly and unapologetically kicks the Mistress out onto the street with her few possessions in her suitcase and Eva’s fur coat over her shoulders. It is that moment where the audience is able to finally see the second side of EVITA. Eva shows a moment of softness towards the Mistress, then shifts effortlessly to ruthless and harsh when she pushes the Mistress out the door,” says Alexis. “It’s a really telling moment for EVITA, followed by the beautifully sad song, ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’”.
When it comes to who inspires her as a performer, Alexis explains it’s feeling that inspires her more than any one performer.
“It’s a feeling of watching someone perform and thinking ‘wow, that is why I want to do this’. Watching talented people do what they love inspires me and continues to inspire me throughout every EVITA performance.”
Outside of performing, when she’s not honing her German and Chinese language skills, Alexis keeps abreast of international relations and politics. When she’s home in Melbourne enjoying some time out though, it’s all about enjoying life’s little pleasures.
“Melbourne is home to me, and I love its vibe. If it is a warm day, I might head to Brighton or St Kilda for some beach time. Or I’ll head out to one of Melbourne’s great brunch spots.”
Bar Any rooftop bar, especially Siglo. I love having a glass of wine with a view.
Restaurant Sister of Soul is a vegan restaurant on Acland Street in St Kilda. It offers so many different cuisines and options.
Café Huff Bagelry on Koornang Road in Carnegie. They have the best bagels and coffee. I always get roast veggies, herbed fetta spread and rocket toasted on a sesame bagel — it’s never let me down!
Nature Spot The Royal Botanic Gardens is such a great place for a run or to have a picnic.
Place to Indulge I love yoghurt and Yo-Chi has so many different flavours of frozen yoghurt and toppings. You can go nuts!
Event White Night is always so interactive and has lots of different things going on.
Place to Shop I love op shops and Glen Huntly Road in Elwood has the best ones in town.
Hidden Gem Vintage Bazaar is a must-see on Chapel Street. It’s a massive vintage store, with lots of hidden gems inside.