Blake Bowden - Bringing Mario Lanza to Life
One of the finest young voices in Australia teams up with the incomparable Phil Scott in a new show about the legendary Mario Lanza. Blake Bowden spoke to Peter Burdon.
The appearance of Phil Scott’s name on the promotion for a show is a guarantee of quality, and that’s what Blake Bowden wanted when he approached him to help get his vision of a show about Mario Lanza up and running.
“I just knew I wanted Phil to do it,” Bowden explains, “because he’s just the best there is. I put the idea to him and then he turned to me and said he’d do it, but only on the condition that he was in the show! Now that was a bonus I wasn’t expecting.”
Readers who spotted my review of Bowden’s performance in South Pacific will know that I described him as having a ringing tenor that just about stole the show. To me, he seems perfectly suited to the role of Lanza.
“I’m lucky that my voice is up to the challenge,” Bowden says. “His voice was absolutely a gift from God. It made him a superstar in his day, and he had celebrity to burn, but alongside this there was a tragic side to him, a really sad story, and he died when he was only 38. That’s one of the reasons I wanted Phil Scott to be involved: he can tell any story without making it too depressing! We’re calling it a heartfelt show with a smile or two.”
Many of Lanza’s greatest songs will be there.
“A lot of his stuff was for the stage and the screen, but he did have an operatic side to him as well, and we’ll be looking at all of that. I’ve come to think of him as one of the first crossover artists! And everyone in Adelaide will get to hear it for the first time ever.
The world premiere of Mario is on the Festival Theatre Stage on 14 and 15 June. Book at Bass.