Macksville born singer Tamara Eden could be said to be 'living the dream' having performed alongside Hugh Jackman and Olivia Newton-John in Australia, played a singing Mummy at Universal Studios Japan and Singapore, toured Indonesia and the Philippines as Mattel's real-life Barbie, and cruised the fjords of Norway singing for her supper.
But she has had to earn every contract and was studying full-time dance while her friends were letting their hair down at schoolies.
Eden says working at Universal studios was certainly a dream job. "Especially Japan, because it was my first job after finishing training in Australia. I was 19, and had never even been overseas. It confirmed all the hard work was going to pay off."
She found it hard to say goodbye to everyone and her dog to go to Japan for a 13 month contract. "When I went to Singapore I was 21 years old and I was more prepared for it."
Her love of performing started with her mother. "When I was little we danced together all the time. She sparked that interest in me, and I started going to dance class with my brother. But it didn't last for him."
She didn't start singing lessons until age 11. "I just loved it, and singing became my first love after that. I can't remember ever not wanting to do it."
Eden moved to Victoria at age seven, and by age 15, she began work at the Tivoli Theatre in Malvern, with actor Terry Gill. She continued her dance training at Isolation Performing Arts, which also had an agency that booked acts for corporate gigs.
"It was showgirl style work and one of the bookings was at The Red Ball, [started by Hugh Jackman's mother-in-law as a charitable fundraiser for cancer research]. He had just finished the Boy from Oz and watching him do his soundcheck, he was so professional. And he and Debbora-Lee [Furness] were so nice."
Her brush with Olivia Newton-John was at another corporate gig. "We weren't told who the singer was going to be and we got there and Olivia came out with us. We were buzzing. And we got to do a number from Grease, it was really cool."
In 2013, she moved to London where she graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts with her Masters Degree in Performance a year later.
Eden has moments of homesickness, and tries to get home once a year. In London, she is a member of a West End trio called The Girls from Oz. A repertoire of classic Australian tunes in three-part harmony keeps her from getting homesick.
"Living away from family is incredibly tough, which is why I'm so thrilled to come home with this show. It is lovely to be able to have family and friends come along to see me perform."
She no longer has family on the Mid-North Coast, but does have some friends In Nambucca. "My roots are really strong there, and I feel very at home when I am in that part of the world. I love the beach culture."
Rehearsals for Puttin' on the Ritz started a week ago, and Eden says despite not having worked with any of the cast before, "they are all lovely". "The dancers are smashing the dancing and a couple of the singers do a tap song and dance."
She sings throughout the show, and has four solos - The Trolley Song, Rockabye Your Baby, Lazy River, and The Lady is a Tramp.
There are 43 numbers in the show and loads of glittering costume changes. The 20-stop tour is her first on Australian soil and covers regional NSW, VIC, and WA and QLD capitals and major cities.
This energetic extravaganza features six multi-talented vocalists and 10 energetic dancers direct from London's West End. The soundtrack includes timeless classics by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter including Cheek to Cheek, Alexander's Rag Time Band, Birth of the Blues, Swanee, Night and Day, I Got Rhythm, Easter Parade and of course Puttin' on the Ritz.