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Marina Prior (often misspelt 'Pryor') (born in Port Moresbymarker, Papua New Guineamarker on ) is an Australian singer and actress.

When she was a young child her parents returned to Australia and she grew up in Melbournemarker, attending Syndal South Primary School and Korowa Anglican Girls' Schoolmarker. She began to take singing lessons at the age of twelve and also learnt piano, flute and guitar.

While studying for a Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbournemarker in 1983, she auditioned for the Victoria State Opera production of The Pirates of Penzance; she was accepted and cast as "Mabel", launching her career in musical theatre.

The following year saw Prior as "Guinevere" in the Australian production of Camelot with Richard Harris. In 1985, she performed the dual roles of "Jellylorum" and "Griddlebone" in the Australian premiere production of Cats. In 1987, she appeared as "Josephine" opposite Paul Eddington in Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, as "Kathy" in The Student Prince at the Lyric Operamarker in Brisbanemarker and as "Hope Harcourt" in Anything Goes. This was followed by "Cosette" the Australian premiere production of Les Misérables in Melbourne and later, Sydneymarker.

From 1990 to 1993, she starred as the original "Christine Daae" in the Australian premiere of The Phantom of the Opera, opposite Anthony Warlow and later Rob Guest. This was followed by roles in many major productions, including "Maria" in West Side Story, "Lily" in The Secret Garden (1995), "Magnolia" in Show Boat (1998) and the title role in The Merry Widow (1999).

Recent appearances include "Miss Adelaide" in Guys and Dolls (2000); the title role in Annie Get Your Gun (2004), both in staged concert versions with The Production Company; in 2003 in John Misto's play Harp on the Willow ("Mary O'Hara") at the Ensemble Theatre, Sydney; as "Jane Smart" in The Witches of Eastwick (2002); and as "Belinda Blair" in Noises Off (2003). Most recently, Prior performed in the Australian premiere of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with the Melbourne Theatre Company and later with the Sydney Theatre Company. She appeared as "Miss Adelaide" in Guys and Dolls at the Princess Theatre, Melbournemarker in March 2008 and with the Melbourne Theatre Company in The Hypocrite in November 2008. She will reprise her role in Guys and Dolls from March 2009 in Sydney.

Prior toured Australasia in 1994 with José Carreras. She has performed concerts with many Australian symphony orchestras. She is a regular performer at Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight and regularly appears at Opera in the Alps with David Hobson. She also appeared with Hobson at Opera by the Lock in Mildura, Victoriamarker in 2008.

Prior was appointed 1996 Queen of Moomba by the Melbourne festival's committee.

Marina Prior has been a judge on both the 2006 and 2007 Seven Network reality television series It Takes Two.

She has released three albums, Leading Lady (1991), Aspects of Andrew Lloyd Webber (1992) and Somewhere — The Songs of Sondheim and Bernstein (1994) and was inducted into Australia's 100 Entertainers of the Century.

Prior has received numerous awards; these include two Mo Awards (1991, 1995), two Green Room Awards (1989 and 1990) and in 1993 the Advance Australia Award for her contribution to the performing arts.

Marina Prior has been the Goodwill Ambassador for Samaritan's Purse Australia since 2005. In this capacity she has visited several development projects in Asia, including schools, water projects and distribution of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. In 2009 she featured in "A Short Film About Shoe Boxes" to promote Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child.

Marina Prior is married to Peter Lowrey; they have three children: Olivia, Campbell and Jacob.

References

  1. "There's life in the old widow yet" by Frank Van Straten, The Sydney Morning Herald,
  2. Annie Get Your Gun (2004)
  3. Harp on the Willow
  4. Devilishly hard to get just right
  5. Sydney Theatre Company
  6. The Hypocrite — Cast, Melbourne Theatre Company; retrieved
  7. Opera by the Lock
  8. "Moomba: A festival for the people" by Craig Bellamy, Gordon Chisholm, Hilary Eriksen, pp. 17–22
  9. Judge on It Takes Two
  10. Variety Victoria
  11. Mo Awards 1991
  12. Mo Awards 1995
  13. Marina Prior Bio at Samaritan's Purse


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