From ‘one extreme to another could’ be said about this Greek Australian actor, singer and dancer’s foray into musical theatre. From the age of 16, Zoy was training to be a sprinter, but an injury at the age of 23 put an end to that. Whilst recovering from surgery, Zoy took up singing for fun. But as time went on, realised he had a calling for the art form. Graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) with a BA in Music Theatre, Zoy is now making his mark in the Australian musical theatre world.
His training as a sprinter has put him in good stead for a theatre career. The discipline he learnt as a professional athlete combined with his father’s work ethic have enabled this 30-year-old to exceed in his newfound passion.
“I was always brought up to know that anything was possible and there is no point saying no without trying, you are better off just giving it a go and working hard at it,” Zoy tells Neos Kosmos.
“And you can only give your best, if it works then you’ve done well – and if you’ve given your best and it doesn’t work then you gave it a shot.”
Although he tells of the parallels between both careers – discipline, training, competing – he says there are also vivid differences marking the two.
“That’s the hardest thing in the transfer from athlete to actor/singer/dancer; I know in my head what I think is going to win the race when it comes to [theatre] but it’s not necessarily everyone’s view,” he explains.
“It can be very hard sometimes to take that rejection when you don’t get something when you know you think I was better at this but not in their minds, when they want this sound, this look. There can only be one winner in a race, but there can be many in theatre.”
Born to a Greek father from Mytikas, his mother is a mix of cultures having Aboriginal, Scottish, Native American and even some German heritage. He said growing up in a multicultural household was normal to him and although his father’s Greek culture was predominately expressed, he didn’t realise it was ‘Greek’ until he visited the Hellenic Republic himself.
“We ate a lot of Greek food and it was more of the Greek influence than [my mother’s]; I never understood I was eating Greek food until I went to Greece.”
After Zoy graduated from the VCA he made his professional debut in An Officer and a Gentleman; his first real exposure to “the ultimate professional world” of musical theatre. But it’s his latest role in Doug McLeod’s production Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert that is certain to stamp his place on Australian musical theatre.
The show is a singing, dancing and eating production that brings Australia’s best-loved recipes face-to-face with Melbourne audiences.
Zoy says the writers were looking for an Australian idol in history who hadn’t had their story told.
“You look at Woolworths’ catalogues and Women’s Weekly and you don’t know what kind of crazy life she had,” explains Zoy, “she is such an interesting character; a little bit saucy.”
Zoy plays Margaret’s true love, English actor Michael McKeag.
“He’s Margaret’s real love, true love,” says Zoy. “She met him later in life, she was married twice before him and they meet in a club in England and he’s kind of a player, a bit of a cad; he’s a bit foppish, but he’s charming. He realises when he meets Margaret that she’s the one. He tries too hard with her, pursues her across the world and there is a beautiful sequence that pops in at the end of the show; a beautiful love story.”
But even though he has this role, Zoy is quick to point the difficulties for Greek Australian’s being cast in Australian musical theatre.
“In England if you do a show they will cast anyone they don’t really care. Here [in Australia] if they have a white role they go for the Anglo Saxon look and any role that’s ethnic they give to you, music theatre is a very white industry.”
Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert, written by Doug Macleod and Yuri Worontschak and directed by Bryce Ives and Nathan Gilkes is on at Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda from Friday 16 November through to Saturday 1 December. For bookings visit or call (03) 9534 3388.