Chats with Barry Conrad always consist of many belly laughs, lots of talk about food and somehow getting off the phone with an extra pep in your step. The guy has been hard at work yet again having just been announced to play Kenickie in Grease – The Arena Experience. We couldn’t be happier for Barry. We have no doubt 2017 is going to be a ripper year for him.
First up, can we say on behalf of all your female followers thank you for posting your topless selfies!
Oh wow. Just go out and say it [laughs].
The last five months have been pretty hectic for you. How would you describe them?
Unexpected, challenging (that can be good and bad) and rewarding.
You’ve been sneaky with Grease. That came out of nowhere! Congratulations. Your music theatre career is now on the upward incline to success. It’s so great.
That’s what I mean by unexpected. When I first did Violet and I spoke to you ages ago it was early days, I mean it still is, but I didn’t expect. I always work hard and hope stuff will happen. I know a lot of actors work hard for a long time but it’s hard to get a job sometimes so it’s encouraging to kick some goals in this area.
You’re playing Kenickie which is a character that has been played time and time again. What new flavour are you going to bring to this character?
First of all, I didn’t expect to get Kenickie cause as we know I don’t really fit the iconic look of this cat [laughs]. I was at the cattle call with my little fro but I was just like I’m gonna own it. But what I’m gonna bring to it is me – just myself, my own flavour and that’s the cool thing. I love that casting took a chance as well with me and Dami (Im); they’re switching it up. It’s more interesting. I love what the movie is but I think it’s cool what they’ve done.
Would you have cast yourself in another role?
No! I love Kenickie cause he’s badass, he’s got swag, he’s effortless cool and I think it’s a fun character; something different and I’m excited to play that.
You played Flick in Violet, Seaweed in Hairspray and now Kenickie. You’re actually starting to show a range of your acting ability too.
I am proud of that but I’ve also worked really hard.
You are working with some old friends in this show, but for the newbies who don’t know you, what is something they need to know about you before stepping into that rehearsal room on day one?
What they need to do is hide their food cause I’m gonna eat it and you’re gonna be starving for the whole rehearsal period [laughs]. I will be demolishing it all. I have a radar for snacks.
You’re going back to New Zealand for the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. That’s quite nice!
Yeah it’s nice. I haven’t seen my family in like a year so it’s a good bonus. I’m gonna sing some tunes, Stan Walker will be there too and I haven’t seen him in ages so it’s just reunions all around and doing what I love to do.
What is one of your fondest Christmas memories growing up?
Gosh I was gonna say food again [laughs]. The one that stands out is a white Christmas in Pittsburg. You cant really top that; the carols make sense when it’s a white Christmas [starts serenading Kara with ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’].
To finish you know we love some funsies, so here we go! What is a fail-proof gift to buy a loved one for Christmas?
A Gold Class voucher for two.
Australia is back in Eurovision for 2017. Who would you want to represent us?
Kara from the AU Review. She’s got that Italian spunk, she’s got that sass, she eats, she does squats; it’s a shoe-in! It’s not about the singing, it’s all about the moment; don’t judge, don’t ask questions just accept what Kara brings [laughs].
What is your New Year’s resolution? We are at that time.
That’s scary. My New Year’s resolution would be to keep living more in the moment and just go for it. It is what is, and it ain’t what it ain’t and whatever’s gonna be will be as opposed to overthinking everything.
Tickets are available now for the Brisbane, Newcastle and Adelaide seasons of Grease – The Arena Experience so get in quick right here.