Leaving a musical a week before it officially ends needs a pretty good reason, but fortunately Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts graduate Lucy Maunder had one when she bowed out of her role as Winifred Banks in Mary Poppins early last month. Two days later she was in a Sydney rehearsal room preparing for the bucket list part of Roxie Hart in Chicago, the Australian tour premiering at Crown Theatre Perth’s official opening night on November 23. “It feels super weird to be back here in the same theatre so soon,” Maunder said. “Walking back into the building, I was expecting to go in and perform Mary Poppins, which I had been doing for 18 months. I’m thrilled to be back with Chicago, it’s such a different vibe to Poppins. “There’s a buzz around Perth with it being the first city and I think everyone’s really excited that we get to open here.” Maunder is joined on stage by Perth-raised Zoe Ventoura as Velma Kelly, Anthony Warlow as Billy Flynn, Asabi Goodman as Matron ‘Mamma’ Morton and Peter Rowsthorn as her husband, Amos. “Working with Zoe Ventoura is awesome because we’ve been friends for 17 years and never worked together, so it’s been really lovely to share this with her,” Maunder said. “We have many moments, daily, where we kind of just look at each other and think, ‘Wow, this is actually happening.’ We’re doing the choreography that we’ve seen for all our lives, and were playing the roles that we’ve admired. The legacy of the show is so huge. “Getting to work with Anthony Warlow again is wonderful… he will be phenomenal in the role, as will Zoe and Peter Rowsthorn, who I’ve not worked with before, but he’s an Australian treasure and hilarious.” Maunder said she had vivid memories of going to see this 1996 Broadway revival version of Chicago in London as one of her first musical theatre experience when she was 12 years old, blown away by Ann Reinking’s choreography and direction in the style of Bob Fosse. “It’s really something special and just beautifully staged and beautifully lit,” she added. “That’s why it’s the longest running show on Broadway, it’s just a perfect musical.” Chicago is at Crown Theatre Perth until December 17. Tickets at ticketmaster.com.au.