Melinda Schneider does Doris Day

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Melinda Schneider does Doris Day
Country music star Melinda Schneider

Melinda Schneider is one of Australia's most successful country music singers, but for the next few months, she has devoted herself to jazz.

The six-time Golden Guitar Award winner has written her own stage show about 1950s singer and actress Doris Day.

Titled, Doris — So Much More Than the Girl Next Door the show looks at the turbulent life of the Hollywood icon, who is still one of the top-ranking box office performers of all time.

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Melinda puts her acclaimed voice to good use, belting out Doris' biggest hits and a few of her own.

Here, Melinda talks about her lifelong love affair with Doris and why she has never been more glad she appeared in Dancing with the Stars.

Why Doris Day?

I've been interested in Doris since I was a little kid. The very first film I ever saw was Calamity Jane, and I was hooked. She's one of the best movie stars of all time. She was so talented, singing dancing and acting — she's so brilliant at all three of those things which is pretty rare.

How did you get involved in this show?

It's my idea. It's my baby. I've written the script with a great writer called David Mitchell. Last year I released my album, called 'Melinda does Doris' and the natural progression was to do a show as well. It's been a dream of mine for years and it's taken quite a while to get off the ground, but I'm really excited to be opening here in Brisbane.

So it's opening night, you walk out onto the stage — what happens next?

We tell the story of Doris' life, from the beginning, when she was 13 and heading to Hollywood to be a dancer. She's had a lot of tragedies in her life. She had four terrible marriages, her car was hit by a train when she was on her way to Hollywood for her dancing career and her legs were crushed.

The doctors thought she may never walk again, let alone dance. That's when she discovered that she could sing. Fate has played a huge part in Doris' life. We touch on that, we touch on the fact that she is a huge animal lover and animal activist, as am I. We have a lot of similarities, a lot of parallels in our lives, Doris and I.

You sing a lot of Doris' biggest hits in the show — is there anything of yourself in it?

My dogs are actually in the show! They just sit there and look beautiful. I sing them one of my songs. There are a couple of my original songs in the show, including one I've written for my dogs called 'Your Eyes Could Never Lie'.

Have you been brushing up your dance moves?

Last year I was on Dancing with the Stars and that dance training has definitely come in handy for this show because there's a lot of dancing in it!

What can people expect from your show?

Country fans, I think you'll love it and people who love Doris Day and love jazz will also love it. There will be great music, sequins, dancing and great stories — what's not to love?

Related: Melinda Schneider learns to be herself

Doris — So Much More Than the Girl Next Door, opened at Brisbane's Twelfth Night Theatre last night. The show will move to South Australia for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival from June 10 to 25 before touring nationally.

Video: Melinda Schneider

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