Debra Byrne personifies the expression 'iconic Australian performer'. From her early years on Young Talent Time, the little girl with the big voice has made a huge impression on Australia with her many talents that run from an unforgettable singing voice, amazing acting skills and the ability to take on the most demanding theatre role and make it her own.
Debra was in Young Talent Time as one of the original cast members from aged 12 to aged 16. During this time, she became a favourite of viewers due to her amazing ability to deliver every song with her trademark gusto.
After Young Talent Time, Debra moved into a singing career, producing hit singles, 'He’s a Rebel' and 'Da Doo Run'. The public again embraced Debra by their vote, two consecutive years as Australia's Queen of Pop was the result.
With two Logie awards to her credit, Debra's television career took her to London for appearances on Cliff Richard's BBC television series. Debra also starred in her own ABC TV series Farnham and Byrne with John Farnham, plus her first acting role in the Sammy Award winning TV Follies. Debra also starred with Matt Dillon in Rebel, a role where she dazzled with her high voltage performance and was nominated for an Australian Film Institute Award.
The next step in this illustrious career was a natural progression for Debra – theatre. In the following eight years, Debra built a reputation as one of Australia's leading theatrical performers. She received critical acclaim as Grizabella in Cats, performed with Judi Connelli in Jerry’s Girls and in 1988 performed the role of Fantine in Les Miserables. In the same year, 1988, Debra performed for the Prince and Princess of Wales at the Royal Bicentennial Concert.
Another huge compliment to Debra's talent and ability was being chosen to sing the role of Fantine in the symphonic recording of Les Miserables, which featured the leading performers from the productions worldwide.
In 1990, Debra left the cast of Les Miserables to return to the concert and cabaret circuit and promote her new album. Released in 1991, titled Caught In The Act, it proved to be an outstanding success reaching number one on the Australian charts. Debra followed up the success of Caught In The Act with her self-penned second album, Sleeping Child.
Nearly two years later Debra won the much-courted role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard and on 20th October 1996, she gave the performance of her life. Her next album followed titled New Ways To Dream, this work is still her personal favourite.
Television roles have been another part of Debra's amazing career, with starring and guest roles in top rating television. TV Dramas include, G.P, Police Rescue, Law Of The Land, the ABC series Naked, The Secret Life of Us, City Homicide and most recently Tricky Business.
Cabaret has always been another of Debra's passions, returning with Caught In The Act Again! in 1999, and with Girls, Girls, Girls! in 2001 with Wendy Stapleton and Nikki Nicholls. Girls, Girls Girls! toured Australia to fabulous critical acclaim for an amazing 11 years.
Theatre also included the 2004 box office smash Minefields and Miniskirts for the Malthouse Theatre which went on to tour nationally in 2005, and in 2012 surpassed even her own star-studded career as The Bird Lady in Disney's Mary Poppins. Debra turned her character in this smaller role in the show into a show-stopping, scene-stealing performance that had critics and public, as one, entranced with her sheer talent.
In 2013, Debra, as normal, has many projects on the agenda. Her fabulous solo show Ripe, named after her first book which was released five years ago is still very much in demand. It's a musical journey through Debra's favourite songs, performed with her band.
Debra also starred in Last Man Standing during May 2013 at Melbourne's Arts Centre.
Debra Byrne travels from AustraliaAustralia
"Nina is sensational."
Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia
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