Rhonda Burchmore sings Julie London

Rhonda Burchmore's new show Cry Me A River: The World of Julie London will debut at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Rhonda Burchmore's new show Cry Me A River: The World of Julie London will debut at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

ETERNALLY beautiful chanteuse Rhonda Burchmore is taking a break from her successful Legs 11 show to debut her latest project - Cry Me A River: The World of Julie London.

The new show, premiering at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Wednesday, delves into the life of one of America's most mysterious sirens.

With her pin-up girl sex appeal, Julie London's posters were prized possessions of GI's during World War II. 

London's career spanned from the 1950s, when she was named Billboard's most popular female vocalist from 1955 to 1957, through to the '70s when she had a starring role on the popular medical drama Emergency! 

But it was her sultry, smoky voice that London was renowned for across more than 30 albums and 20 movies.

"It's a mammoth task," Burchmore said.

"She had something like 32 albums, so there's quite a lot of material. Thirty-odd songs have been peppered throughout the show.

"It's a really big project to deliver with conviction, vocally and all of that, in a one-woman show."

A pilot version of the show debuted at least year's Adelaide Cabaret Festival and after sell-out shows and rave reviews, it was picked up by producers Bold Jack for a fully fledged concert show.

"Julie London's story hasn't been told before," Burchmore said.

"I love the genre of music she does. That cool jazz from the '50s and '60s. "And she was a huge glamour puss. I love all that glam side of performing too."

While doing research for the show, Burchmore found she and London had a lot more in common besides their sultry voices.

"She was an incredible home body and that kind of parallels my life," she said.

"When I don't perform I'm very happy at home gardening."

But the show will be a tribute to London, rather than an imitation, with Burchmore backed by a six-piece band.

"It was a very conscious decision not to imitate. I really hate that," she said.

"I'm telling her story and singing her songs as me with an edge of her, rather than trying to imitate her. I love her vocal style, but there's a bit of me in there. I certainly grew up listening to her and Ella Fitzgerald and the style of arrangements are certainly of that style. I'm going to put my own take on it."

Cry Me A River: The World of Julie London plays a strictly limited season at the Brisbane Powerhouse tomorrow through Sunday.

To book ring 07 3358 8600 or visit the Brisbane Powerhouse website.  

Topics:  rhonda burchmore

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