Last week the cast was announced for the new award-winning broadway musical Jagged Little Pill, starring Natalie Bassingthwaighte. Among the list of lead roles was Park Ridge’s born and raised; Liam Head.
Liam, who went to Park Ridge Primary, will play Nick Healy in the Grammy-winning show, which tells the story of a dysfunctional family living in 21st-century suburbia.
Park Ridge News had a chat with Liam, who’s in his second week of rehearsals in Sydney, about how it feels to be in his first Australian touring production.
The 20-year-old singer, dancer and actor says he was studying at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, working multiple jobs before getting the call every actor hopes for after an audition.
“Pretty surreal. I only got a call a few months back, and it was while I was still at uni and doing a production of Grease, and we were working from 9-6 every day,” Liam said.
“Before that, I was working at a cafe in the morning and a bar at night, and on Saturdays all day I was teaching and at a different bar that night. It all kind of piled up into this one Monday after a cafe shift, I got the call, and your life really just changed. It was pretty exciting.”
Liam says he couldn’t believe he got the lead role of Nick, when his agent told him.
“I thought, well, this is pretty exciting because there is news coming, and I was bound to know very soon. She sounded pretty excited, and she said they would like to offer you the role of Nick Healy. I was shocked because I thought auditioning for it, like maybe Nick, maybe Nick cover [understudy] or ensemble, so when she said Nick Healy, I had to check,” Liam said.
“So I said Nick, like Nick cover, ensemble, or just Nick? and she said no, no, no just Nick, so that was pretty cool.”
Liam told us about Nick’s character and how relatable Nick’s story is to him personally and a lot of young people in today’s world, especially those in the arts.
“Nick is a perfect child; he’s born and raised in Connecticut to a stay at home mum and a dad who does 60 hours a week at a law office in New York,” Liam said.
“The mother has always pushed him to go to swim practice or debate clubs which is his mum’s dream for him, not his dream, but he kinda goes along with it. Then he gets into Harvard, and the rest is his journey about trying to deal with his perfectionism that he has and his mum has with him.”
“I can relate quite a bit, actually. Not with the mum stuff, my mums great! But I feel like everyone in the musical theatre world, and most people in the cast can relate to this.”
“When I was in grade 10, I was doing 26-30hrs of dance a week, including school work and all that stuff. I never went to a party; really, it was all work, work, work. It’s just funny to me, playing a character that’s actually very, very similar to me.”
It was also at this age that he was living in Park Ridge where he says he made many fond memories.
“I lived in Park Ridge for 16 years. So I went to Park Ridge Primary school, went to church at Park Ridge Baptist. My grandma used to live on Chambers Flat Road, so we were always over there. She had 15-17 acres; it was an awesome canvas for all of us boys to grow up and explore on,” Liam said.
“We had two and a half acres out at our family home. We had chickens, we had two dogs, and we used to have sheep. We had this car, this really old car in the paddock that dad taught me how to drive manual in when I was 10. It was a really awesome life experience to grow up in.”
Now he’s acting on the big stage alongside some well known names like Neighbours star NatalieBassingthwaighte who plays his mother Mary Jane Healy.
“She was on zoom the other day, so it was great to have her in the room finally, laughing and carrying on how she does. It’s really wonderful, working with such a seasoned professional,” Liam said.
Liam says Jagged Little Pill is a modern story that offers something everyone from all walks of life can relate to, and he can’t wait for people to immerse themselves in it.
“I love how current it is. It’s a very new and fresh show. We see a lot of shows that are pickups on books, or stories, or movies, or revamps of old classics, but this is a brand new show, and it’s got 2021 themes which are very exciting to explore and to share and collaborate over and create,” Liam said.