IT’S the role that makes actors into stars and now it’s the turn of unknown Natalie Abbott to catch the bridal bouquet and play Muriel in Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.
The award-winning show will return to Sydney at the Lyric Theatre in June 2019.
The roles of Muriel and Rhonda were star-makers for Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths in writer P.J. Hogan’s 1994 film Muriel’s Wedding.
Maggie McKenna, daughter of comedian Gina Riley, triumphed in the first incarnation of the musical adaptation last year.
Muriel’s casting director rang to say Abbott had the role when the Mascot 23-year-old was working at her job at Surf Dive ‘n Ski in Eastgardens.
“I said: ‘Really? Are you sure?’,” Abbott said.
“She assured me she wasn’t pulling my leg.
“When I went back in my boss was like: ‘Are you all right?’ I was like: ‘Yeah, I’m great’. My mind was just not on selling board shorts that day.”
Abbott was sworn to secrecy about the role and the only people she told were her parents, who live in Bomaderry on the South Coast.
It was while attending St John the Evangelist Catholic High School in Nowra that Abbott began to devote herself to acting, singing and dancing.
She moved to Sydney in 2014 and in 2016 she graduated from the Australian Institute of Music.
Muriel’s Wedding is about a small-town girl who goes to the big city and eventually finds her true self.
Abbott said there are many parts of Muriel’s story she relates to.
“All these feelings that she’s feeling, that’s me,” Abbott said.