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Wish come true for Rob Mills

October 14, 2013

Latest news, Theatre

Hard work reaps rewards for Grease star

By SHIRLEY BROUN

Rob Mills stars as Danny in the Australian production of Grease.

HE is young, energetic, an all-round nice guy who can sing, act, dance (getting better with each new show) and lives life to the fullest … that’s former 2003 Idol finalist now in-demand stage performer, TV host and reality TV show star Rob Mills.

I spoke to Rob as he was being chauffeured around Sydney, having just returned from the final performance of Grease in Brisbane last week.

Taking on the lead role in the smash hit `Grease’ was a wish come true for the handsome stage performer who had first experienced the fun and excitement of one of the world’s most-loved musicals when he played the principal role of Johnny Casino in Grease – The Arena Tour in 2005.

“Craig McLachlan played the role of Danny back then and I always remember wishing I could be one of the T-Birds so I could wear one of those leather jackets,” said Rob. “I got my wish!”

Ironically, it’s that same leather jacket that has proven a challenging piece of wardrobe at the end of the scene. “I’ve had a few `near misses’ when I’ve needed to take it off quickly and almost missed,” Rob chuckled, “but we seem to get through it ok … at least so far!”

Smart mover to semi dancer

Rob, 31, says, despite a season on Dancing with the Stars, the most challenging part of his latest role was the dancing. “I can move but I’m not the greatest dancer and never had many lessons. I’ve really had to work on it especially for Grease because it has so much dancing and movement throughout.”

“I’m really pleased with my progress. After all the hard work and getting bruised and battered until I mastered it, I have progressed from a smart-mover to a semi dancer. Even my co-star Todd McKenney says I’ve improved 10-fold since Dancing with the Stars.”

Rob, who graduated from performing in pub gigs to gaining prominence on Australian Idol, admits musical theatre wasn’t his initial goal. “It wasn’t until I saw a performance of Wicked in London that it dawned on me that it was something I wanted to do.”

When auditions opened for the Australian production of Wicked, Rob says he worked really hard to measure up and once cast in the role of Fiyero he worked even harder, night after night, to gain the respect from his audiences and reviewers. The hard work paid off and cemented Rob as one of Australia’s dynamic new stage musical performers.

Since 2010, Rob’s versatility has been evident as he turned his hand to every opportunity presented … from hosting a new version of popular Australian Talent Show `Young Talent Time’ and acting roles on children’s show `The Shak’ and TV series `Winners and Losers’ to leading stage roles in Jason Robert Brown’s musical `The Last Five Years’ and the Australian production of Legally Blonde (playing Warner Huntington III).

“I actually finished Legally Blonde one day and the next was starting work on Grease. It’s been a very busy time,” said Rob.

Jackman a role model

When it comes to role models, Rob cites Hugh Jackman as the ultimate performer. “I was introduced to him at the Helpmann Awards last year but it was so quick. I’d love to just sit down with him over a beer one day and find out how he approached his career. I look at him as a role model. He is such a good guy. He loves life and his family and works really hard. I aspire to be just like him,” said Rob.

No surprise then to learn Rob has his heart set on heading to the USA to further his career on the stage and in movies. “I’m not sure when just yet but maybe next year via the World Cup in Brazil.”

There are also a couple of stage shows and a TV show in the pipeline but for now this endearing star of stage is revelling in the role as Danny (played by John Travolta in the movie) in the stage spectacular Grease which opened in Sydney last night.

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