Rhonda Suzanne Burchmore (OAM) (born 15 May 1960) is an Australian entertainer and author.
Born in Sydney, Burchmore has been performing since the age of two, trained in singing, acting and dancing and was awarded a scholarship to the University of New England where she majored in Theatre Arts.
She became internationally known for her role as Kate in the 1982 film, The Pirate Movie.
Burchmore gave her first major Australian theatre breakthrough performance in the 1988 production of Sugar Babies opposite Garry McDonald and Broadway theatre performer Eddie Bracken. Later that year, she reprised her role opposite Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller in London's West End theatre production. Whilst in the U.K., she also starred in the revival of Stop the World - I Want to Get Off.
After a string of further stage performances, playwright David Atkins wrote a role especially for Burchmore in his tap dancing musical Hot Shoe Shuffle. Then in 1997, she gave the Crown Casino in Melbourne its opening performance with her very own cabaret spectacular, Red Hot & Rhonda, playing to an audience of over 60,000. The year proved to be big for Burchmore, she also secured a role on Broadway in the Irving Berlin classic, Easter Parade, and later appeared in another show, Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods.
After arriving back in Australia in 1998, Burchmore got straight to work on her first album, self-titled Rhonda Burchmore. To date, she has released a total of four albums; Midnight Rendezvous, Live At The Melbourne Concert Hall, and Pure Imagination. She was also a regular guest on the long-running Australian variety show Hey Hey It's Saturday.
In 1999, Burchmore secured the lead role in The Production Company's first show, Mame. She would later receive the blessing of the show's composer-lyricist Jerry Herman, who commented that of all his shows, Mame is the most difficult character to cast. Fittingly, Herman was inspired to write the character after seeing his first Broadway show as a child, Annie Get Your Gun, starring Ethel Merman. This was a show that, years later, Burchmore would also perform to rave reviews in Australia.
Further roles followed, including Adelaide in an Australian revival of Guys and Dolls, Tanya in the successful Mamma Mia!, Urinetown The Musical, Tom Foolery, Respect: A Musical Journey of Women, and her own productions; Rhonda Burchmore Sings 'n Swings, My Funny Valentines and Fever.
Other Australian stage credits include Song and Dance, They're Playing Our Song - as one of the alter egos, and Diana in Lend Me a Tenor. With the Victorian Opera Burchmore won critical acclaim for her performances as Queen of the Fairies in Iolanthe, as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus with Joan Carden, and in Ruddigore and An Evening with Sondheim.
In 2008, Burchmore returned to the role she made so popular when The Production Company launched in 1999, receiving more glowing reviews and even a standing ovation for her portrayal of the title character in Mame. In 2013, she performed in Trevor Ashley's musical comedy Little Orphan trAshley with Gary Sweet.
In the January 2014, Australia Day Honours List Burchmore was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) "For service to the performing arts, and to the community."
Burchmore and her husband have one daughter, Lexie.
During her appearance on the Spicks And Specks Christmas special aired on 16 December 2007, Burchmore revealed that in her youth she cut off one of her toes on a toilet bowl she broke while dancing to the song "Cocaine", although it was later reattached.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license