It was in a stairwell in Rome that Ian Stenlake first discovered his talent for singing, with no less than a future Broadway star urging him on.
Stenlake, who was backpacking his way through Europe at the time, stumbled into a job in Rome as an extra on the epic movie The Godfather Part III playing a waiter.
He soon met upcoming actor Franc D’Ambrosio, who was playing Al Pacino’s opera singer son Anthony in the movie.
One night as the pair wandered the streets of Rome, D’Ambrosio, who would later star on Broadway in The Phantom Of The Opera and Sweeney Todd, began singing in a stairwell to show Stenlake the power of acoustics.
D’Ambrosio then encouraged Stenlake to join in, and the pair began belting notes to the heavens.
That is really where it all began, Stenlake, who would later star in the TV series Stingers, recalls. I remember realising then that what I really wanted to do was sing and act. It was a case of deciding to follow my heart, and it was an instinct I am always glad I followed.
While Stenlake is best remembered for his five-year run as cop Oscar Stone on Stingers, in recent years he has stepped into the stage spotlight for the musicals Cabaret, Oklahoma! and High Society.
Stenlake, who is married to stage star Rachael Beck, has now joined fellow musical singers Scott Irwin and James Millar to form the trio Bravo, which plays at the Star City Showroom from 20 April.
The three have all appeared on the musical stage together, and have now created Bravo in the same vein as Il Divo or the Ten Tenors.
There is a phenomenon at the moment with people enjoying seeing and listening to men expressing themselves through songs, Stenlake says.
There is a song we sing called Brave New World from the show Eureka, and this really is a brave new world for us as we are stepping out of musical theatre and into the world of just being three tall guys singing songs on our own.
While the trio will perform songs from such shows as Carousel, Sweeney Todd and The Boy From Oz, they will also sings such contemporary hits and anthems as The Prayer, Unchained Melody, and You’re The Voice.
And in tribute to Stenlake’s origins as a performer, they will also included a rendition of the song Speak Softly Love, the theme song from the original The Godfather.
With that, it all ties in -“ we might even re-enact my scene as a waiter at the party scene from the movie, he adds with a laugh.
Bravo plays at the Showroom, Star City, from 20 to 23 April. Bookings on 1300 796 330.