If there is one thing show business loves, it’s a comeback. When it is a theatre diva striding back into the spotlight to take to the microphone again, all the better.

Next week at Star City’s Showroom, Margi de Ferranti will return to the Sydney stage, her first appearance since the final performance of Mamma Mia in October 2003.

Since then, while her life has not exactly been turned upside down, it has certainly been pulled apart and put back together. After she toured the country in the lead role of Donna in Mamma Mia, crippling arthritis finally got the better of her and she underwent surgery for a hip replacement.

During her recovery, she wrote a new show This Joint Is Jumping detailing her ordeal, but she promises it is more laughs than sob stories.

The show tells the story of how my hip replacement made me feel hip again, she laughs. I look back and tell the funny sides to it, like the doctor whose way of telling me I couldn’t dance again was to say, -˜So, I hope you have thought about a career as a character actor.’

Then last year, I went to see my new orthopaedic surgeon, who was absolutely divine, and the most gorgeous looking man. In fact he is the first man to see me naked in a long while, and I was happy about that.

Included among the songs in her new show are such mobility-related tunes as Walk On By, The Man That Got Away and Dancing Queen.

With her health now back in top shape, her show at the Showroom marks the beginning of the latest chapter in her career. She has previously starred in such theatre hits as Les Mis?bles, Chess, Aspects Of Love and Buddy, as well as triumphing at the Sydney Cabaret Convention and performing seasons in New York.

But she says making a comeback is not without its anxiety-ridden moments. I do feel a bit nervous about it, but I think it is like getting back on the horse again, only this time without the limp. People used to say they didn’t notice it, but I was so aware of it. Now I am walking straight and tall again.

After completing her run with Mamma Mia, which she calls an amazing experience, and I got to sing The Winner Takes it All every night, de Ferranti took time off from the stage due to her health. She did continue, however, to work behind the scenes as the producer of the annual charity concert Hat’s Off for Oz Showbiz Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.

She has been producer of the fundraising event for five years, and says while the concerts have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various HIV/ AIDS charities there were benefits for people on both sides of the stage footlights.

Initially it was all about helping people in need but, in my mind, it is always a double whammy as it also helps people in the showbiz community become more aware of this disease and how they can contribute towards helping, and I really think we all can.

Margi de Ferranti appears in Thursday Memories at The Showroom on Thursday 3 November at the Star City Showroom. Bookings on 132 849.

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