"I'm getting all the plastic surgery, I'm wearing turbans, I'm gunna have gay guys bringing me gin, it's going to be great."
Em Rusciano is a singer, dancer, actor, comedian, writer, broadcaster and former athlete. What she is certainly not, however, is a diva. Her new show, Not A Diva, is all about working out what to do when youthful plans of world domination start to shrivel. It's not a sad show by any stretch, but is about accepting that sometimes you've gotta leave your own fabulousness in the amateur realm and let the professionals take over. "The show is about that experience of growing up when I genuinely thought that by the age of 25 I would have won a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Logie and an Olympic Gold medal. As time has gone on I've realised I'm not willing to put in the kind of work that the divas put in. You know, all the squats and laps Beyoncé has to do just so she's fit enough to sing, and all the workouts Madonna does — I like just watching The Bachelor, and I don't think any of the divas are doing that. It's all about my lack of commitment."
"I genuinely thought that by the age of 25 I would have won a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy, a Logie and an Olympic Gold medal."
False modesty and a serious understatement about her work ethic aside, it is hard to deny how many areas Rusciano covers and how bloody well she does them. This is her fifth large scale musical comedy show in about as many years, all done alongside hilarious blogging and some awesome occasional podcasting. Not A Diva is a comedy music cabaret that includes original tunes and some good old razzle dazzle. "This year I have a band. It's normally just me and dad, but I've stepped it up this time and [have] a lovely drag queen, Poly Filler, doing my makeup."
The show is designed to be big but also celebrates what is fabulous about a relatively comfortable, normal life, which is part of the joy of getting to play in big theatres. "I'm playing the Palais in Melbourne and the Enmore in Sydney; I mean, The Rolling Stones played there — my dad's rapt," she gushes. With the Adelaide Fringe section already sold out, things are looking good for an off-Broadway hit. "I hate pushing myself on people but I want people to come to the show because I put in so much work, and I love it. Please come, you'll have a great time and shiny eyes from either crying or laughing or both," she says with endearing, honest goodness. Of course, there is always the chance that late-in-life divahood might come to Rusciano as well. "I can't wait," she says. "I'm going to be such a gross old lady. I'm getting all the plastic surgery, I'm wearing turbans, I'm gunna have gay guys bringing me gin, it's going to be great." Catch her now while she still has all original parts.
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