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April 4, 2019
Culture

Career Path: How to become a Princess with Courtney Monsma

Disney's Aladdin The Musical touches down at the Festival Theatre this weekend and we discuss singing and dancing with the Adelaide woman who would be Princess Jasmine.

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  • Words: Josh Fanning
  • Pictures: Supplied

Adelaide lost Courtney Monsma quite a while ago. The 21-year-old returns to us this weekend, however, as part of the ensemble cast and understudy to Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin The Musical.

“I moved when I was four or five but my dad’s side of the family are all in Adelaide so I’m there almost every year since I left,” says Courtney via telephone from the Gold Coast, where she’s been based almost ever since.

Remarks

Aladdin The Musical

Adelaide Festival Theatre
6 April – 9 June 2019
Tickets available here.

Courtney picks up where she left off in Adelaide every time she’s back – staying with her grandma – in the same home she did her heaviest Disney binge-watching as a child.

Aladdin – the film starring Robin Williams, Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin as Princess Jasmine – was released before Courtney was even born, but that doesn’t mean her grandma’s rumpus room wasn’t transformed into an Arabian palace with sheets for ceilings and rugs that could fly.

“I was obsessed with Disney as a kid and especially the Disney princesses. I was always singing Aladdin, ever since I can remember,” says Courtney. “This would all happen at my grandma’s house too, which is where I stay when I’m touring in Adelaide. It’s nice to be able to visit ‘home’ for work.”

As proud South Australians, we might content Courtney’s career in musical theatre started in Adelaide. The performer can’t remember a time where she didn’t enjoy singing and dancing, and that it was a performance her sister starred in that made her decide, “that’s what I want to do”.

Courtney Monsma – understudy to Disney's Princess Jasmine

Courtney Monsma – understudy to Disney’s Princess Jasmine. Pictured above: Courtney getting into character.

 

Courtney studied a Bachelor of Musical Theatre under English-born Paul Sabey who set up the school in Brisbane at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. She credits her teacher with her early and continued success. Paul acted as her agent in her casting for Mamma Mia – her first professional role.

“I saw a brief on Facebook for Mamma Mia and I contacted my teacher and I just did a ‘cattle call’ audition,” says Courtney. “Still, while I was studying, I was going back for call backs – it was a really exciting time.”

Courtney’s tips for any aspiring performer are solid and certainly put her wisdom well beyond what you might expect of a 21-year-old.

“You don’t want them to guess your age off your sheet. you want to show your maturity even though you’re a student,” she says.

How do you become ageless, we ask with only a hint of vested interest.

“Well I think… It’s just never wanting to stop learning. You’re never at an end point,” says Courtney. “I think there’s probably a perception that – as a professional – you should know it all, and you definitely do need to be confident, but I think it’s just about showing yourself and that you’re ready to improve as well.”

Courtney landed the role in Aladdin while she was still touring with Mamma Mia. She flies to Singapore for a season of Aladdin after Adelaide and prior to here, was in New Zealand. She says it’s a dream come true to travel the world in her work and it still blows her mind to see Disney on TV and think, “‘that’s the same company I’m working for’. It’s absolutely crazy!” she says.

But the company obviously sees potential in Courtney.

“I went on for [Princess] Jasmine, while we were in New Zealand. That’s a huge amount of trust they’re putting in me, because that show could have failed if I didn’t perform, you know?”

But she did perform, and she nailed is our guess. Being from Adelaide, our Courtney’s star is on the rise and we can’t wait to see her at the Festival Theatre this weekend.

Aladdinthemusical.com.au

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