Bendigo man to play lead in King Kong

Adam Lyon has landed the role of a lifetime, a lead character in the much-hyped new musical King Kong.

Most impressively, it will be Lyon’s first ever professional production.

The former Bendigo man will play Carl Denham, a film director who goes in search of the legendary giant gorilla. Lyon, a singing teacher, said it was mind-blowing to be offered the role.

He originally thought he was auditioning as cover, “the back-up for the back-up”.

But after wowing the casting director and producers at a reading in Sydney, then at the three-week workshop, the coveted lead role was his.

Lyon will star opposite some of Australia’s musical theatre stars and circus performers, plus an eight-metre-high gorilla puppet created by Global Creatures, the team behind Walking With Dinosaurs – The Arena Spectacular.

“The stuff I have seen so far is beyond anything I can conceive, it’s just remarkable,” Lyon said.

“It’s going to be something else; there’s a pool of geniuses with the lights, the sound and the design.” Lyon said Carl Denham was a “very compelling” character. 

“He drags them all to Skull Island, captures Kong and brings him back to New York as an attraction,” he said.

“At the start the audience, I hope, is rooting for Carl, but then when you see how beautiful Kong is I think you care for Carl less.”

Lyon said he was relishing the chance to originate the role, an opportunity most actors never got.

“It’s sort of more exciting than daunting, truth be told,” he said.

“I don’t know anything that could be cooler than that.”

Lyon grew up in Bendigo and was heavily involved in the Bendigo Theatre Company until he left in his early 20s.

Coming from a musical family – his grandmother Pat Lyon was a stalwart of the BTC and was involved in more than 50 productions, and her four daughters performed together as the Lyon Sisters – Lyon always loved being on stage.

“I would listen to Rent and Les Mis’ endlessly and I loved going to rehearsals more than anything else, but I don’t know I could work in theatre,” Lyon said.

“Even now it feels weird that this can be my job.”

The Regent Theatre is a far cry from choir performances at Catholic College Bendigo, but Lyon said his formative years taught him a lot.

“I would love to mention Cathy Moore – she taught me music and she was the only person I did well in class with,” Lyon said.

“She got me in the choir and was a big part of me getting to where I am now.”

But now Lyon has hit the big time, it’s not all champagne and celebrity parties. 

A gruelling six months of rehearsals start in February in preparation for the world premiere of King Kong in June.

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