RISING STAR: Rockhampton native Lorinda Merrypor performs in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, coming to QPAC in July.
RISING STAR: Rockhampton native Lorinda Merrypor performs in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, coming to QPAC in July. Tania Melick

CQ woman lands huge musical gig

LORINDA Merrypor's star continues to rise in the musical theatre world.

The Emmaus College graduate was finishing up at the Queensland Conservatorium when she landed her first professional musical theatre gig in Green Day's American Idiot.

She's now living out her childhood dream as a cast member in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, her first professional touring production.

"American Idiot was quite short but I got a taste of what the real world was like before I went into a really long contract like this one," she said.

"I'm not on stage every night but I've got six different tracks I have to know, so it's really a workout for the brain."

On any given night, Lorinda could be playing one of the four singers in R&B group The Shirelles or another ensemble character in the hit Broadway musical, which tells the true story of Carole King's remarkable rise from teenage songwriter to global superstar.

The songwriter fought her way into New York City's record business as a schoolgirl but it wasn't until her personal life began to crack that she finally found her true voice and went on to become one of the most successful solo artists in pop music history with her best-selling 1971 album Tapestry.

"I'd heard of the show but I hadn't listened to it at all. When I knew I was auditioning for it I listened to the soundtrack and it was crazy realising how many of the songs I knew," she said.

"Carole's music is so classic and the songs are still everywhere. One of my favourite TV shows is Gilmore Girls and the theme song for that is Carole's Where You Lead. I knew so many of her songs without realising that I did."

Lorinda can't wait to perform in front of her home state when the show arrives in Brisbane for a seven-week run at QPAC next month.

"I know a lot more people there, especially with my whole university family being there," she said.

"I definitely have a lot of family coming down from Rockhampton and my parents will finally get to see the show."

Being away from home for months at a time has been made a little bit easier by her cousin, Marcus Corowa, also starring in the show as a member of The Drifters.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw him walk out of the final callback," she said.

"There's a 14-year age difference, so we didn't grow up together. It's been really good to connect with him now and we can talk about what's going on back home with the rest of our family."

Even if you're not a Carole King fan, or don't know her music, Lorinda says it's still worth seeing Beautiful.

"The show just has so much heart. Even if you don't think you know the songs, I guarantee you do," she said.

"Who doesn't know Natural Woman or Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

"It's a really inspirational story about how she overcomes so much and comes out on top."

And no matter what role Lorinda may be playing on the night, she'll have a big smile on her face.

"I'm such a musical theatre nerd and this is all I've ever wanted to do, so I'm just so happy to be here," she said."I honestly couldn't have imagined how amazing it would be."

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical opens at QPAC's Lyric Theatre on July 13. It plays through to August 30. For tickets, head to qpac.com.au or beautifulmusical.com.au.



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