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John Rex Berry – Class of ’23

by | Jun 19, 2024 | Uncategorized

John Rex Berry is delighted to be returning to Western Australia for Hairspray in 2024. He recently appeared in West Side Story for Opera Australia on Sydney Harbour and worked on Rebel Wilson’s musical comedy feature film, The Deb. John has starred as Chad in All Shook Up at Perth’s Crown Theatre (HAMA Productions), Danny Zuko in Grease at Royal Theatre in Perth (Drew Anthony Creative), Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid (HAMA Productions), and Fred Casely in Chicago (Drew Anthony Creative). He also performed in The Wizard of Oz and Fame at Crown Theatre and as a featured artist in A Night to Remember all for HAMA Productions.

John! Thanks for hopping on to chat! Let’s get things started – can you introduce yourself, the course you studied at Brent Street and the year you graduated?

Hi! My name is John Rex Berry, I’m a 19 year-old performer from Western Australia and I studied Musical Theatre at Brent Street in 2023.

John backstage at his 2023 showing of ‘Little Women’ at Brent Street.

Thinking back to last year – what was your favourite thing about your time at Brent Street? It could be a particular moment, memory, lesson, teacher – anything!

I have so many incredible memories from Brent Street. Looking back, I think my favorite memories come from our musical of Little Women. Working with Ellen and Tony’s wisdom gave me a lot more insight into the production of a musical, plus current industry professional Cat Ralph as a choreographer was so inspiring and motivational as an aspiring student. The musical was challenging, but also brought the cohort closer together, and building relationships throughout your training makes it all worthwhile.

Congratulations on your recent season of Westside on the Harbour, John! What was the most memorable part of this – and the most challenging part?

Thank you! Yes, Being involved in West Side Story was truly remarkable. One standout memory was performing outdoors, with moments of dancing in the rain and enjoying stunning sunsets against the backdrop of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It’s an experience that will stay with me forever. As for the challenging aspect, it was likely the physical demands of the show. The incredible intricate choreography and constant movement made each performance a test of endurance, but the sense of driving the story from delivering it night after night made it enjoyable and so rewarding.

John in Opera Handa’s West Side Story on Sydney Harbour (2024)

Your first major musical – very exciting for you so soon out of training. What’s something that you learnt in Full Time that ‘clicked’ for you (or a life lesson you thought back to) during your season?

Funnily enough I think the biggest thing that clicked for me wasn’t on stage but off stage. Course coordinators Ellen Simpson and Ryan Sheppard taught us a lot about preparation and recovery for performers. Knowing how to take good and effective care of your physical and mental health was vital for everyone during a show like West Side Story. I used Ryan’s ritual of getting a massage every couple weeks during a the contract and it sure worked a charm, mentally and physically!

Let’s take it back a little further – you booked ‘The Deb’ while you were still in the MT Course. Tell us everything about that!

Being a part of ‘The Deb’ was an amazing experience. This movie musical blended elements of musical theatre with the world of film. I had the privilege to sing, dance, and act in an ensemble role. Working with such a talented team and cast, including professional performers and Australian icons from various performing arts backgrounds, was incredibly inspiring. I can’t wait for the world to see it!

John pictured with Rebel Wilson and the cast of ‘The Deb’, set to release late 2024.

So, you’ve smashed a huge film and a major musical after only graduating 5 months ago – what’s next for John Berry?

Well, I think Brent Street has really opened my mind up to job opportunities amongst performing arts – there is so much work to be found within the industry that can pop up. There are few projects currently in the works which will pop up on my Instagram @johnrexberry. However, Something exciting I can mention now is that I will be taking on the role of Link Larkin in HAMA productions “Hairspray” at Crown Theatre Perth in September.

Congratulations, John! Another show for the books. I’m sure there’s plenty of performing arts students – either currently in Full Time or about to be – who aspire to have success just like yours (and just as quickly, too!). What’s your biggest piece of advice?

Full Time can be incredibly tiring, mentally and physically, so finding motivation to give my full efforts was a challenge. My advice would be to keep coming back to your love for the art and remind yourself why you put yourself in this career path to begin with. Aspire to be a better version of yourself every day and celebrate the small wins along the way!

  @johnrexberry 

Auditions are currently open for Brent Street’s 2025 Musical Theatre Course intake.

Register your interest and get a copy of the Prospectus at www.brentstreet.com.au/audition

 

Author: Jake Percey  // Marketing & CRM Manager