DENI Hines and her husband, Daniel Moses, have been living in Bangkok, for two years, but that hasn't stopped her from returning home to perform.
The former Rockmelons singer came to Australia for seven days in May to appear with other rock legends, including Jon Stevens and John Paul Young, at the annual outdoor Day on the Plains concert at Dalby, on Queensland's western Darling Downs.
And she's returning to Australia on July 7 to perform in the Hunter Drama production of the musical Rock of Ages that will be presented at Newcastle's Civic Theatre on July 19 and 20.
Hines plays the role of an African-American woman, Justice Charlier, who owns the Venus Club in Los Angeles, a renown strip joint. Justice prefers to call it a "gentleman's club".
Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical, set in 1987, that includes 25 glam rock songs from that era, including Foreigner's I Want to Know What Love Is, Journey's Don't Stop Believin', Europe's The Final Countdown and Whitesnake's Here I Go Again.
The musical was written by Chris D'Arienzo and premiered in Los Angeles in 2005 and has since expanded to productions in Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia.
It was further popularised by the 2012 Hollywood film starring Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin and Mary J. Blige, who played Justice Charlier.
The plot focuses on young singers who move to Los Angeles' famed Sunset Strip in the hope of becoming rock performers.
However, they find themselves in conflict with various businessmen, including the stern head of a German company who has bought a popular Hollywood night club and plans to demolish the building and construct "clean living" apartments.
Newcastle's Daniel Stoddart, the producer and director of Rock of Ages, contacted Hines to offer her the leading role.
Hines hadn't seen the stage show or its film version, but managed to watch YouTube episodes from the film.
She enjoyed them so much that she agreed to appear in the show.
And, as she notes, Justice Charlier takes on the maternal role for the girls that work for her, helping them to overcome problems.
She has studied the script and learnt her dialogue, as well as Justice's solo and ensemble songs, so that she'll be ready to interact with the 18 Hunter-based cast members.
But she's unlikely to attend the after-show celebration by the actors and backstage crew because she has to go to Sydney the next morning to catch a plane back to Thailand.
"I have to go to Japan to perform 10 days after the show ends," Hines says.
The proximity of Thailand to Japan was one of the reasons why Hines and Moses decided to live in Bangkok.
Hines has always been a popular performer in Japan since one of her solo albums was a top-seller 20 years ago.
She has a recording contract with a Japanese company and is performing five shows throughout the country later this year.
She notes that living in Thailand is less costly than in Australia.
"Because we move around the world we don't own a car, and it's fairly cheap to rent one there," she said. "I'm living well."
Hines and her husband have visas that allow them to stay in Thailand for five years, and they were able to take their three cats along, who are still thriving.
Rock of Ages is Hines' second show at the Civic Theatre.
She first performed on the Newcastle venue in her major stage musical debut, a touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 1992.
She played Mary Magdalene, a woman who, according to Biblical texts, travelled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.
Hines was 21 when she started playing the iconic role.
At that time Hines was only the second black woman to perform the role.
And it's hardly surprising that the first one was her mother, Marcia Hines, who migrated to Australia in 1970, when she was 16, under the sponsorship of Australian theatre entrepreneur Harry M. Miller.
Because we move around the world, we don't own a car, and it's fairly cheap to rent one there.- Deni Hines
Miller had been impressed by her performing skills when he went to the United States to audition African-American singers in preparation for a new Australian stage production of the musical Hair.
During the show's run Marcia learned that she was pregnant, and Deni was born on September 4, 1970, with her mother returning to the stage just nine days later to continue her role.
Her success in that show led Miller to cast her as Mary Magdalene in a 1973-74 production of Jesus Christ Superstar after another actress withdrew.
As a child, Deni Hines frequently sat on the side of a stage watching her mother sing.
She then began doing public performances when she was 15, touring as a backing singer for popular vocalists and teams, among them INXS and Kylie Minogue.
In 1992 she became the lead singer of pop band The Rockmelons, who recorded top-20 singles That Word (L.O.V.E), It's Not Over and Ain't No Sunshine.
She later signed a solo recording artist contract with Mushroom and in 1995 reached No.4 on the ARIA singles charts with the track It's Alright. That success led to Hines winning an ARIA Award for best breakthrough artist.
Hines has spent much of her subsequent musical career working in Britain and France, as well as Japan.
She has occasionally appeared in hit musicals, among them Dusty: The Original Pop Diva, which looked at the life of Dusty Springfield, as Reno, who was a mix of the people that had played a role in Dusty's life.
Hines received a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for that role.
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