Chelsea Plumley

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Chelsea Renae Plumley
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Born13 July 1974 (age 46)
Derby, Western Australia
  • Singer
  • Actress
  • Musician
  • Host
  • Writer
Years active1995–present
Known for
  • Musical theatre
  • Cabaret
  • Children’s TV
Spouse(s)James Roche (m. 2004)

Chelsea Renae Plumley (born 13 July 1974) is an Australian musical theatre and cabaret performer, television actor, musician, host, and writer. She was born in Derby in the Kimberley region of Western Australia to an Australian mother and British father, and raised in Perth, Western Australia[1]. Nominated for five Green Room Awards Chelsea is noted for her comic and character acting, and her versatile vocal range. She has toured her one-woman cabaret shows internationally to the U.S.A., U.K., India and Indonesia, and nationally across Australia garnering distinguished accolades. She played the Queen of the Fairies for seven seasons in Nine Network's William & Sparkles’ Magical Tales. She has hosted global phenomenon Sing-A-Long-A Sound Of Music[2] for eighteen years, and Love Actually in Concert[3], featuring a 48-piece Symphony Orchestra.

Early Career

Chelsea started playing piano at the age of five. By the time she was in high school she was musical director and pianist for amateur shows that members of her family were either performing in, directing or producing. During her studies at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (W.A.A.P.A., Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) 1992–1994[4]), Chelsea accompanied her fellow colleagues including Hugh Jackman at their end of year performance show, and was the classical accompanist for the West Australian Conservatorium's production of Trial By Jury.

Musical Theatre

Chelsea relocated to Sydney after graduating from W.A.A.P.A in Perth, and secured her first job in James J. Mellon’s An Unfinished Song, at the Ensemble Theatre[5]. Playing the kooky and vulnerable barbie-loving role of Debbie set Chelsea on a career of playing characters full of heart and humour with a penchant for broad physical comedy: her portrayal of Rizzo in Grease was labelled a "stunner"[6] and her Betty inAndrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard "terrific". In Stephen Sondheim’s, Company, she attacked "her wedding scene as the near psychotic Amy with hilariously frenetic energy", and showcased "comic brilliance"[7] in the role of Jolene Oakes in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. "Channeling Arrested Development era Liza Minelli, by way of Saturday Night Live’s Kristin Wiig [Chelsea’s performance of Marge MacDougall in Promises Promises] … had the entire opening night audience in stitches"[8]. Her Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls was "hilariously brassy"[9] and her Gabby/Bobbi in City of Angels, "a masterclass in playing the kind of film noir ‘dames’ that private detectives obsess over".

Chelsea has inhabited two remarkable ‘mother’ characters: Mrs Johnstone in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers and Margaret Johnson in Adam Guettel’s The Light in the The Light in the Piazza. In his review for Blood Brothers, Cameron Woodhead from the The Sydney Morning Herald commented that "Plumley anchors the show with a sparkling and poignant portrayal of a mother in an impossible position … and exudes a magnetic blend of sass, warmth and stoicism"[10]. Her Margaret Johnson garnered effusive accolades: "outstanding"[11], "simply sublime"[12], and "performance of a lifetime"[13]. Chelsea has performed in four new Australian musicals: Tessa in Chair In The Landscape by Ian Jefferson (composer) and Beth Daly (lyricist); Vivien in Life’s A Circus by Anthony Costanzo (composer/lyricist) and Peter Fitzpatrick (book); Lyn in Breast Wishes[14] by Bruce Brown (composer/lyricist); and Deidre Chambers in Muriel's Muriel’s Wedding[15] by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (composer/lyricist) and P.J. Hogan (playwright).

Cabaret and Concerts

Cabaret has been a significant part of Chelsea’s decades-long career.


Chelsea worked up her cabaret “chops” booking, producing, hosting and accompanying Sydney’s top and emerging talent in bi-weekly cabaret shows at jazz venue Side On Café 1999-2001[4]. She performed a year-stint with cabaret group Combo Fiasco and appeared at numerous one-off events: “The Stars Come Out”, “Oz Showbiz Cares” and Sydney Theatre Company cabaret evenings as well as the Mardi Gras and Midsumma festivals.


Chelsea Plumley In Concert

Australian Producer, Phil Bathols, founder of Spiritworks produced Chelsea’s first one-woman show, Chelsea Plumley In Concert, which debuted at the Sydney Opera House in 2000. Reviewer Helen Matthews of The West Australian observed, “For an audience to fully appreciate a song and its subtext, the singer must have the intellect and generosity of spirit to allow the audience inside her life, to endure, share and enjoy with her its ups and downs. Chelsea Plumley is one of the rare artists able to achieve this"[16]. The show had subsequent seasons at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, Chapel Off Chapel in Melbourne and The Playhouse Theatre in Perth.

Angel In Training

In 2001, Chelsea debuted her show Angel In Training in New York at Don’t Tell Mama’s[4]. The show opened to rave reviews, with John Hoglund from Backstage magazine remarking that her performance recalled “a young Judy Garland … and Carol Burnett”[17].

In 2002, she toured the show to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Chapel Off Chapel in Melbourne with reviewer Joel Crotty from The Age observing, “she might be petite but put her on a stage and she simply takes over"[18].

Chelsea Plumley in Concert, India Tour

Later that year, Spiritworks produced the 5-city India tour[19] of Chelsea Plumley In Concert. She travelled to Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Gangtok, Sikkim with long-time friend and producer, Phil Bathols, and musical director, Denis Follington.

Live & Luscious

In 2003, after hosting and starring in the Sydney Cabaret Convention, Chelsea toured her new show, Live & Luscious, to the Sydney Opera House, Chapel Off Chapel in Melbourne and His Majesty's His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth. The show won a coveted GLUG award for “Most Versatile Performance”[20] with veteran Film, TV & Stage Critic, Jim Murphy from The Age, declaring she had “abundant natural talent as a singer, actress and pianist…but it is her cheeky humour that sets her apart"[21]. Chelsea released the live recording with musical director Michael Tyack on piano, James Richmond on drums/percussion and Pete Jeavons on double/electric bass[22].

Live & Low Key/Live & Luscious

That same year, Chelsea produced, wrote and performed Live & Low Key at The Butterfly Club and Theatreworks in Melbourne, with a return performance of Live & Luscious at the Lido, Melbourne and The Leela Palace in Bangalore, India.


Whilst based in London, Chelsea made her U.K. cabaret debut in Live & Luscious at Too2Much. She wrote, hosted and performed cabaret evenings at the Cellardoor on The Strand, Soho Revue Bar and The Lost Society. She performed her unique comedic cabaret at the behest of renowned peer, Graham Kirkham, Lord Kirkham, Australian businessman Alan Bond, The Australia Day Foundation and London Fashion Week. Chelsea travelled to Europe with opera/musical theatre act Incognito Artists and was commissioned by the Australia Day Foundation in London to produce and perform at the Showcase of Australian Talent. Chelsea secured fellow Australian talent Tim Minchin, Nina Ferro, Adam-Jon Fiorentino, Deone Zanotto and Simon Gleeson to perform at the 2006 gala event[23].

From 2006–2008, Chelsea was the weekly West End correspondent for Australian radio program Broadway@Bedtime on Joy Melbourne 94.9fm[24].

In 2007, Chelsea took time out from her UK commitments to return to Sydney to play Amy in Company for the Kookaburra Theatre Company[25] and unveil her one-woman show, Gorgeous, to Sydney and Melbourne audiences.


Upon her return to Australia in 2008, Chelsea performed in concerts and cabarets including John Bucchino in Concert (Manchester Lane, 2009), Melbourne to Manhattan: The Music of Matthew Robinson (Chapel Off Chapel, 2009), and Up Late with Chelsea Plumley (Melbourne Cabaret Festival, 2015).

In 2016, she launched her talk variety show, Follow Spot[26], in which she interviewed some of Australia's top artists including Debra Byrne, Julia Zemiro, Rhonda Burchmore, Martin Croft, Queenie van de Zandt, John O’May, John Diedrich, David Hobson, and Anne Wood[27]. The variety format included musical trivia games with Chelsea accompanying their unplugged performances.


Chelsea's television appearances include seven seasons as the Queen of the Fairies in Nine Network's children’s television program, William & Sparkles' illiam & Sparkles’ Magical Tales (2009-2014). She played the roles of Rachel in Channel Ten’s Offspring (2010) and an ABC reporter in Shaun Micallef’s, The Ex PM (2017)[1]. In 2012, Chelsea flew to Coober Pedy to rehearse and record an episode as guest coach and accompanist on the hannel Ten series, I Will Survive[28]. In 2018, Chelsea was producer, actor and assistant director on Australian Pop Duo Bachelor Girl's latest film clip, SPEAK, their first single after a 12-year hiatus[29].


Over an eighteen year period, Chelsea has hosted the worldwide phenomenon Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music [30]across Australia and emceed countless corporate, charity and carols shows including A Second Chance[31], the International Youth Silent Film Festival, Kingston’s Got Talent and Chapel Off Chapel’s 20th Anniversary. In December 2019, in collaboration with Universal Pictures and producers Spiritworks and Box Office Hits, Chelsea was commissioned to write a host script for the Australian premiere of Love Actually In Concert[3]. She performed the host spot to sell-out shows at the Brisbane Convention & Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre and Melbourne’s Hamer Hall.


During the late 1990’s, Chelsea toured nationally playing piano for global corporate group, The Three Waiters. From 1999–2001, she booked, produced, hosted, accompanied and performed at Sydney cabaret and jazz venue, Side On Cafe[4]. For four years Chelsea entertained royalty, celebrities and politicians in London’s most exclusive piano bars[32][33] including The Ritz, The Millennium Mayfair, The Churchill, The Montague, The Dorchester, The Park Hyatt, The Intercontinental, The Rubens At The Palace, and The Milestone. Upon her return to Australia in 2008, Chelsea was music director for The The Boy From Oz for the Victorian College of the Arts, and for four productions of Thomas the Tank Engine and the Hidden Treasure, directed by Gary Young, with seasons in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and Melbourne.

Personal Life

Chelsea’s early life was spent in Perth with parents Marlee and Leon, and siblings Devon, Surrey, Jake and Kale. Chelsea met husband James Roche (Multi ARIA Award-Winning Producer and Artist of Australian band, Bachelor Girl, and keyboard player for Little River Band, Tommy Emmanuel and John Farnham) in 2000 whilst performing in the Tim Rice Concert Spectacular. Tim Rice acted as narrator alongside fellow artists, INXS, David Essex, Anthony Warlow, Kate Cebrano and Bachelor Girl. They eloped in 2004, marrying[34] at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Chelsea currently resides in Melbourne with her husband and two sons, Flynn (2010) and Beau (2013).

Awards, Nominations and Competitions

BBC Radio 2 Voice Of Musical Theatre Competition, Cardiff, Wales

  • Semi-finalist (2002)

Cabaret Hotline Online, New York, USA

  • Nominee (2001): (in Chelsea Plumley: Angel In Training)

Glug Awards, Sydney, Australia

  • Winner (2004): Most Versatile Performance (in Live & Luscious)[20]

Green Room Awards, Melbourne, Australia:

  • Nominee (2005): ("Betty" Sunset Boulevard)[35]
  • Nominee (2009): ("Vivien" in Life’s A Circus)[36]
  • Nominee (2011): ("Lalume" in Kismet)[37]
  • Nominee (2012): ("Marge MacDougall" in Promises Promises)[38]
  • Nominee (2014): ("Miss Adelaide" in Guys And Dolls)[39]

Who’s Who Of Australian Women

  • Inclusion in the 2006 inaugural edition and subsequent 2010 edition

Notable Theatre Roles

Notable Theatre Roles
Show Role Year Production
An Unfinished Song Debbie 1995, 1996 Ensemble Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Chair In The Landscape Tessa 1997 Moondeck Productions, Sydney, Australia
Tim Rice Concert Spectacular Singer 2000 SEL, Australian Tour
Grease Rizzo 2001-2002 SEL, GFO, RUC, Australian Tour
Sunset Boulevard Betty Schaefer 2004 Sydney Luna Park, Sydney, Australia
Sunset Boulevard Betty Schaefer 2005 The Production Company, Melbourne, Australia
Company Amy 2007 Kookaburra, Theatre Royal Sydney, Australia
Everything's Fu**ed Red 2008 London, UK
Breast Wishes Lyn 2009 Bien-Étre Productions, Australian Tour
Life's A Circus Vivien 2009 Magnormos, Melbourne, Australia
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Jolene Oakes 2009 The Production Company, Melbourne, Australia
Kismet Lalume 2011 The Production Company, Melbourne, Australia
Promises, Promises Marge MacDougall 2012 The Production Company, Melbourne, Australia
Blood Brothers Mrs Johnstone 2014 Manilla St Productions, Melbourne, Australia
Guys and Dolls Miss Adelaide 2014 The Production Company, Melbourne, Australia
City Of Angels Gabbi/Bobbi 2015 Lifelike Company, Melbourne, Australia
The Light In The Piazza Margaret Johnson 2016 Lifelike Company, Melbourne, Australia
Muriel's Wedding Deidre Chambers 2019 Global Creatures, Australian Tour


Cast Albums

  • Chair in the Landscape (1997)
  • Welcome to the Inside of Ed’s Head (2003)
  • Life’s a Circus (2010)[40]
  • Breast Wishes (2011)

Solo Album

  • Live & Luscious (2004). Recorded live at Chapel Off Chapel, Melbourne, Australia.



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Chelsea Plumley". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-12-14.
  2. "SING-ALONG "SOUND OF MUSIC" TO ARRIVE IN MELBOURNE". 31 March 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Love Actually In Concert With Full Orchestra @ Adelaide Entertainment Centre ~ Media Release". The Clothesline - Digital Arts Magazine. 2019-12-01. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Jones, Kenneth (2 November 2001). "Australia's Chelsea Plumley Makes NYC Cabaret Debut Nov. 2-11". Retrieved 15 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. Woods, Mark; Woods, Mark (1996-02-19). "An Unfinished Song". Variety. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  6. Jones, Deborah (25 June 2001). "Bump and grind for all the family". The Australian. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. Woodhead, Cameron (2 October 2009). "High-calibre cast but the show lacks confidence". The Age. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. Liversidge, Reuben (5 October 2012). "Promises, Promises". Performing Arts Hub. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. Herbert, Kate (22 July 2014). "Musical review: Guys and Dolls, The Production Company". Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. Woodhead, Cameron (28 March 2014). "Review: Blood Brothers, a play with music, hits high note for Manilla Street Productions". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. Herbert, Kate (6 November 2016). "The Light in the Piazza, Oct 28, 2016". Kate Herbert Theatre Reviews. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. Beal, Victoria (29 October 2016). "BWW Review: THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA Shines in Melbourne". Broadway World. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. Parris, Simon (29 October 2016). "Life Like Company: The Light in the Piazza review". Simon Parris: Man in Chair. Retrieved 3 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. "Breast Wishes". Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  15. Kops, Jade. "BWW REVIEW: The Brilliant MURIEL'S WEDDING THE MUSICAL Returns For A Bigger And Even Better Sydney Encore Season". Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  16. Matthews, Helen (2000). "Chelsea comes from the heart". The West Australian.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. Hogland, John (7 November 2001). "Some New Standards". Retrieved 8 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. Crotty, Joel (15 June 2002). "Arts Pages". The Age.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. Wangchuk, Pema (9–15 October 2002). "A Wonderful Evening With A Lot Of Laughter And Maybe Some Tears" (PDF). Now! Sikkim Matters. p. 7. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Glugs, Glugs (2003). "Glug's Theatrical Awards Through The Years". Distinguished Theatre Group and host of annual Glugs Theatre Awards. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. Murphy, Jim (29 September 2003). "Cheek lends chic to performance". The Age. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. "Live & Luscious (Live at Chapel off Chapel, Australia, 2003)". 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. "The Entertainment – Australia Day". Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  24. "On The Couch with Chelsea Plumley". Arts Review. 15 July 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. Boland, Michaela (11 July 2007). "Company". Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. Bailey, John (8 February 2016). "Chelsea Plumley to put Rhonda Burchmore, Debra Byrne and Julia Zemiro on the spot". The Age. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. "Follow Spot with Chelsea Plumley". Australian Arts Review. 2016-02-24. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  28. "On the Couch with Chelsea Plumley". Australian Arts Review. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  29. "Bachelor Girl return with new single after 12-year hiatus". The Music Network. 2018-06-03. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  30. Bailey, John (16 August 2013). "Habit Forming Fun". The Age. Retrieved 14 December 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. "Neil Gooding Productions". Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  32. "What's on Sunday 26 June". Melbourne Cabaret Festival. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  33. "On the Couch with Chelsea Plumley". Australian Arts Review. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  34. "About Us – Bachelor Girl". Retrieved 2020-12-17.
  35. "Green Room Award for Female Actor in a Featured Role (Music Theatre)", Wikipedia, 2019-12-14, retrieved 2020-12-15
  36. "2009 Green Room Award Nominations Announced". Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  37. "2011 Green Room Nominations Announced | News". 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  38. "2012 Green Room Award Nominations Announced | News". 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  39. Green Room Awards Association, Green Room Awards Association (2014). "32nd GREEN ROOM AWARDS NOMINATIONS FOR WORK PRESENTED IN 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 15 December 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  40. "Stage on Disc with Peter Pinne - Complete 2010 Reviews | Stage Whispers". Retrieved 2020-12-17.

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