Header Image: Stef Furnari in DRUMMER QUEENS. Image by David Hooley
In February 2021, Sydney played host to a new live musical experience named ‘Drummer Queens’. The production sought to provide an experience leaving audiences “immersed in the powerfully irresistible rhythms” presented by the shows all-female cast and “in awe of their skill and inspired by the joy and energy”. Over the past few months, the show has gone on the road, commencing a tour that will take the cast to major capital cities and regional venues between now and mid-September.
From next week, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane will play host to Drummer Queens. Ahead of the season, I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with Stef Furnari, one of the on-stage performers of the show. Furnari has more than ten years experience in the music industry, from her early days studying a Bachelor of Music (with a Grad. Dip. Education to boot) to a career which includes performing on Australia’s X-Factor, being a cast member of Girls on Tap, and playing percussion of “Australia’s Disco Queen”, Marcia Hines.
Please scroll down to read the full transcript of this Q&A, and if you are interested in seeing if/when Drummer Queens is headed to your region, visit the show’s official website.
What has your journey in the performing arts been like to get you here today? What have been your career highlights, favourite shows etc?
It’s definitely been a long journey. It’s had great moments as well as it’s slow moments. Just like anything it has required hard work & dedication. Some of my highlights would be playing on Australia’s X-Factor, performing with Ricky Martin at the NRL Grand Final, playing regularly as Marcia Hines’ percussionist, and of course being part of the Drummer Queens is my favourite gig so far!
You have recently concluded your Sydney season and in the middle of your Melbourne one. How have audiences reacted to Drummer Queens so far, and are you excited about bringing the show to Brisbane?
People didn’t know what to expect with Drummer Queens because it is a brand new show, so I think audiences have gone in with no expectations but have been completely blown out of the park. We have received nothing but positive reviews & feedback & people are just loving us. I absolutely am excited to be bringing the show to Brisbane. We’ve had a good response from people there already & am excited about performing in a big theatre like Sydney.
What drew you to Drummer Queens, and made you audition for your role?
I was an original member of Drummer Queens when it started back in 2013. So for me to audition to be apart of it again for the big show meant more to me than anything I had done before. I know the hard work that has gone into bringing this show to life & I wanted to continue the journey with the creators. It’s been a massive highlight for me & could not be more grateful for this opportunity. The Drummer Queens is my dream show to be performing in. I think that’s also reflected in my performances for every show too.
What have been the greatest highlights and challenges of touring with the show so far?
The challenges would be adapting to different stage sizes. It’s a huge set that requires a lot of equipment & we do all the set changes, so being able to adapt to different theatre sizes has been challenging but we always make it work. The highlights has been the audiences positive reactions & having people stay back after the shows to meet us is really beautiful. I have to say that the cast & crew are all such incredible people & we have really formed a family bond on tour. And of course seeing this show come to life when it was always a dream so many years ago, it’s just so surreal & mind blowing.
100 Minutes… A Stellar Cast…. lots of percussion, and many elements of the production to keep your eyes on. Is there anything special you think viewers might miss in Drummer Queens on their first watch through, that you think they should keep their eyes out for?
I don’t think so to be honest. It’s a small cast of 8 women and we do all the set changes on stage. It’s raw & real & driven by us females. Every cast member has their moment to shine with their speciality talent so I don’t think there are any hidden surprises, just well planned good surprises that people won’t miss.
What is your favourite moment in Drummer Queens?
Definitely my handsonic feature. I get to come down from the ceiling on a floating deck. Never in my life did I think I’d get to be in a show that did something like that. So it’s definitely my favourite part. I also love the cajons number because we get to be interactive with the audience.
What advice do you have for those looking to follow in your footsteps and forge a career for themselves in the performing arts industry?
Don’t ever take your eyes off the dream. Always keep the image of what you want to achieve alive in your mind & through hard work & dedication it will happen. The entertainment industry can be so challenging but anything is possible! What is meant to be will be.