Realising your dream to perform is actually coming to fruition is a very special moment and one Marina Prior was fortunate enough to have while still at university. The soprano would busk on Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall during her days studying a bachelor of music and it was then that she and her group of friends decided to audition for chorus member roles in the new Broadway version of Victoria State Opera’s The Pirates of Penzance. She was unsuccessful as a chorus member, landing the leading role of Mabel in the 1983 production instead. “I think I realised then because suddenly I was doing the lead role in a massive show, a big hit, and it’s always what I wanted to do,” Prior recounts. “I remember going to Jesus Christ Superstar when I was a little girl, with my mum, and seeing my first big musical. I just remember thinking ‘I don’t even know quite what this is that I’m watching but that’s what I want to do.’ Every day that I work, I’m incredibly grateful.” It was in The Pirates of Penzance that Prior first met another young rising star, tenor David Hobson, and the pair have been great mates ever since. Their career paths crossed here and there as Hobson went more into the operatic world, while Prior pursued musical theatre, starring as the original Christine Daae in the Australian premiere of The Phantom of the Opera, along with other shows including Cats, Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls, Hay Fever, The Sound of Music, 9 to 5 The Musical and Mary Poppins. “Phantom was just a marvellous role and such a fantastic production with wonderful people involved from the orchestra to the backstage crew to my fellow cast members,” she says. “I could say that about every show … so as wonderful as Phantom was, as wonderful as Les Miserables or Cats or 9 to 5, every show is completely different, but they give you something, they give you something different.” Prior and Hobson were reunited on stage in 2012 to perform together at Leeuwin Estate’s annual concert, where they devised a show with the newly formed Perth Symphony Orchestra that wowed the crowd and would evolve into up close and personal production The 2 of Us, which has since toured Australia for more than 200 performances. “We both love doing a really deep range of music, so we’ll go from opera to Celtic folk music to Leonard Cohen songs to Joni Mitchell songs to musical theatre classics,” Prior explains. “Both of us enjoy that aspect of concert work where we love chatting to audiences and we’re very relaxed. There’s a lot of backstage stories and a lot of laughter and comedy. “When I say it’s loose, I don’t mean it’s unprofessional, but loose, as in you never know what we’re going to say or what we’re going to do. The mayhem and the madcap sort of stuff is part of the surprise element and the joy, mixed in. When we’re singing, we’re pretty serious though.” Joined on stage by pianist, musical director and another long-time friend David Cameron, Prior and Hobson are preparing to return to WA for an encore show of The 2 of Us, touring regionally to Broome, Esperance, Albany, Mandurah and Bunbury before Perth in October. “Some people are not in a position to come to the big cities to see the big shows that we’ve toured with, so this is a way of bringing it to them,” Prior says. “We don’t treat standing on stage in Albany any different than we treat standing on stage at the concert hall at the Sydney Opera House. We still bring the same passion to what we do. It’s not a lesser version and we have the utmost respect for those places that we go to. It’s an amazing way to see Australia. “We have new material in this encore show but we keep the ones that I feel like we’re going to get lynched if we don’t do. So we keep the classic musical theatre, the classic opera and the few favourites that we’ve just learnt we must do, and then add some new. “Our problem is actually what to cut out. We’ve got so many songs now after this long that it’s heartbreaking having to drop songs out, but the beauty of touring in this way and being in charge of what you do, as opposed to when you go part of a big structured formal musical or play, is that we’ve got the fluidity. One night if we feel like doing a particular song, we do it. It’s sort of ever evolving.” The 2 of Us is at Albany Entertainment Centre, October 19, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, October 20, and Astor Theatre, Perth, October 22. Visit marinaprioranddavidhobson.com for more tour dates and tickets.