THE LEADING MEN: Aussie Anthony Warlow Keeps It Real as Annie's Daddy Warbucks

By Kenneth Jones
07 Nov 2012

Warlow and Ana Marina in The Phantom of the Opera in Melbourne, 2007.

What was your relationship with New York? Did you want to play Broadway? Did you think about the Metropolitan Opera?
AW: No, I never thought about the Met. I love watching things in the Met. It's a bit too big a house for me.

You never thought Broadway would happen?
AW: Never thought it would.

Geographically, too far from your life in Australia?
AW: Yeah, but I always thought my best bet would be the West End because being Australian, and part of the British [heritage], and a lot of Aussies did go and do go. I did The Phantom at Albert Hall. That's all, and that was a spit and a cough at the end, which is lovely to be part and to be asked to do it.

What part of town are you living in?
AW: 42nd Street.

Oh, you're right here!
AW: Yeah. It's fantastic!

What's your relationship been with New York so far? Have you been going to art museums?
AW: Yeah, I have. I'm a member of MoMA now, and I'm a member of the Met[ropolitan Museum of Art]. Every opportunity I can, I go to those museums — the Guggenheim! — and I just wander. When I have time off, and I know I don't have to sing that night, I just sit and have my lunch there, and I look at that incredible art that I see in books at home. We get art in Australia. We get touring exhibitions and what have you, but to see this plethora of incredible talent in buildings that are simply streets apart. It's wonderful.

Warlow in the 2002 Australian production of Man of La Mancha.

Did your folks introduce you to art? To music?
AW: That's where I developed my discipline. My father was a photographer — a portrait photographer — a beautiful, beautiful photographer. My mother had a most glorious mezzo voice — not professional, just trained by the nuns — and I think that's where I have my range, because I'm basically a high mezzo in that world.

You're a bari-tenor.
AW: I'm a bari-tenor, yeah. And, I can change the sound depending on the role that I'm doing. I weight the voice for Annie and bring it out in the more tenorial stuff.

What was the music in your house when you were growing up in the '70s? Helen Reddy?
AW: No, actually! We had a piano, and my mother would sing, and we'd have lots of sing-alongs on Sunday nights. It was everything from Ivor Novello through to Noel Coward. The first recording my father bought me — I was 11 — and he bought me Harry Secombe singing. Harry Secombe had a beautiful tenor voice, and I think he did Pickwick on the West End many, many years ago. There's a beautiful song on it — "If I Ruled the World." It was an album of his songs, and I adored this sound, and I wanted to be that. It was the following year that [my father] said, "Would you like to learn to sing at the conservatorium?" So he enrolled me at 11-and-a-half. That was the beginning of studying music.

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of His first brush with Annie was seeing a performance of the first national tour the day after Christmas in 1978 at Detroit's Fisher Theatre. Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)

Watch highlights from the new Broadway production of Annie.