Jay Laga’aia has as much talent as his broad shoulders can bear, with a resume that casually name checks Star Wars II and III, Xena: Warrior Princess, Water Rats, The Lion King (stage production), Jesus Christ Superstar, Play School, Jay’s Jungle, and much more.
Despite his broad range he has ultimately decided his true passion is in children’s entertainment. With the dust still settling from the Jay’s Jungle Live! tour, Laga’aia is now preparing a new show, Jay Laga’aia’s Family Time, to be performed at Monkey Baa theatre.
Asked about what drives him, Laga’aia quotes his favourite motto:
“Choose a job you truly enjoy and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
As for inspiration, having his own brood of eight provides plenty. One song on his current album, ‘Too Many Bubbles In The Bathtub’ was written after two of his kids decided to pour the entire contents of a new bottle of shampoo into their bath water. Having eight children also guides his work ethic. He never turns down an offer, because:
“You realise ‘does that mean you don’t wanna eat?’ You know, the bill for a uniform comes in pretty quickly.”
Laga’aia credits his heritage and upbringing for both his musical talent and family values. Music was played in his church and encouraged at family gatherings.
“As a Polynesian… our history is very much oral, so it’s not only spoken but it’s sung and it’s danced,” he said.
His Family Time show promises to be a fun experience not only for children, but adults as well, which is what he strives for. Using song, guessing games, sound effects, comedy, and multiple musical instruments, he temporarily transports his audience to another world:
“For the next 50 minutes, using their imagination – we go on an adventure…and we never left the building!” (RB)
Sep 27–Oct 1; 10.30am + 12.30pm weekdays**, 12.30pm + 2.30pm Sat. Monkey Baa Theatre, 1-25 Harbour Street, Darling Harbour. $29 (group + family packages avaliable). Tickets & info: www.monkeybaa.com.au
**Relaxed performance: Thu 29 Sep 12.30pm, $17. (See website for details.)
BY RITA BRATOVICH