After 35 years in the business, this vivacious, flame-haired beauty continues to turn heads wherever she goes and draw thunderous applause wherever she performs. Rhonda Burchmore is a favourite of the PJSE office but how does she take her coffee and how did her career all start? Find out here.
Peter: How do you take your coffee?
Just like you – white with one. I have up to 4 a day and all before midday. In fact, I can’t start the day without one straight away when I wake up.
Peter: How did your career all start and what are you doing now?
I think I was about 2 & ½ when I started dancing with my older sister. She was in the musical Irene and right then I decided this is for me. Unfortunately, my Dad said no and you’ll need to get a real job. I certainly took his advice, to a certain degree, and went on to become a qualified school teach but deep down I still wanted to be a performer. I’m so glad I did, as I’m still doing it professionally after 35 years.
Peter: What are some of your proudest moments/highlights of your career?
My proudest is the fact that I’m still doing it after all this time and people want to employ me. I’m also proud that I’m respected by my peers and also that I’m more than happy to give back to others who are starting out in their careers. Highlights have included being part of the original Mamma Mia cast and being in Hot Shoe Shuffle, both in London and Australia, and Sugar Babies in London with the legendary Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. Also, being part of the era of live variety on TV with Don Lane, Daryl Somers and Bert Newton.
Peter: Who are some of your greatest mentors?
I’ve been fortunate to work with some great people who have helped me along the way. These have included; Eddie Bracken, who really helped me when I started. Others such as the great Mickey Rooney, Ann Miller and Anthony Newley. I learnt a lot from these people at an early age and I’ve never forgotten it.
Peter: Who do you most admire?
Probably those artists, like me, who are still performing after all these years. People like Cher, Bette Midler and even Madonna. She’s a few years older than me but wow!
Peter: What would you say has been the funniest moment in your career?
One of them was actually with you at the Melbourne Cup when I sang the National Anthem in the pouring rain.
Peter: As they say, the show must go on and you were a trooper as not even the jockeys would come out for their introductions!
Yep, and then I slipped off the stage and landed right on my behind!
Peter: Needless to say, you were magnificent! If you could do another job for a day, what would it be?
I’d love to be a hot air balloon pilot and fly over Melbourne – I’m sure it’d be a magnificent view!
Peter: If you could perform at any event worldwide, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to open the Oscars or Emmys. Lots of handsome men with me doing the big line kick.
Peter: Yes, I can certainly see you doing that. Which AFL football team do you follow?
Essendon. In fact, if I followed anyone else, I’d probably be divorced by both my husband and daughter.
Peter: What’s coming up next for you?
I’m currently writing a sitcom which is a cross between Kath & Kim and the Ab Fab girls. Hopefully it will get to air.
Peter: Where is your favourite place to go for coffee?
The Pour Kids in Malvern.
Peter: What’s your favourite event to attend in Melbourne?
ANZAC Day match between the Bombers and Collingwood at the MCG. But I only go to support the family and am not really that fussed on who wins (but don’t tell them that!).
Peter: Rhonda, thank you for your time today and it’s been a pleasure to have been able to work with you so many times over the years.