After spending most of his childhood in a dance school his mother taught at, Todd McKenney developed a passion for musical theatre that drove him to toe-tap his way to fame.
“I never had to think too hard about what I wanted to do. But when I was living in Perth, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for a career in musical theatre,” McKenney told the Sun.
“In 1983 I auditioned for a musical in Adelaide and got the role. I soon realised I wanted to stay in musical theatre, but to do that I had to learn to sing.”
Four years down the track, McKenney took an understudy role in the musical Cats and was “forced” to sing in public for the first time.
“It was the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
“I decided after that performance I’d take up singing lessons.
“I parked myself in a studio a number of times every week, for a few years, and really polished up my singing skills. It’s given me a truly amazing career.”
I never had to think too hard about what I wanted to do.
He said landing small musical roles led to even bigger ones.
“The Boy from Oz came along where I was the motor of the whole show, with 23 songs – that really just changed my life,” McKenney said.
This year marks 20 years since he immersed himself in the colourful musical and life of the late Peter Allen, assuming his character in the legendary musical, The Boy from Oz.
McKenney said he was warmly embraced by Allen’s family as he prepared for the role, and they’ve remained lifelong friends.
“The memory and legacy of Peter Allen lives on,” he said.
McKenney’s role as Allen will be celebrated as he continues to play musical homage to Allen in his 2017 national tour, Todd McKenney Sings Peter Allen 20th Anniversary Tour.
“This revamped and updated 2017/2018 version of the show features more Peter Allen songs than ever before, plus plenty of new stories and laughs along the way,” he said.
“If you’ve got a question call it out during the show and I’ll shout back!”
- 8pm, October 28, Rooty Hill RSL, 55 Sherbrooke St, Rooty Hill. Tickets: $55. Bookings: 9625 5500 or rootyhillrsl.com.au.