Born in Birmingham, England, Rob in fact began his career as a singer in the pop charts of New Zealand. He starred for many years on favourite TV shows such as Happen Inn and performed his hit records from NZ to Korea to Czechoslovakia, where he performed to a television audience of over 400 million.
In 1978 Rob won the Korean Song Festival ‘Best Performance’ trophy, was voted New Zealand’s ‘Professional Performer of the Year’ and recorded his own television special for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Rob worked in Las Vegas through the eighties, where he performed as M.C. at the Dunes Hotel, then at Harrahs Hotel in Atlantic City, Reno and Lake Tahoe.
In 1985 he won the coveted F.I.D.O.F. Award in Los Angeles for his performance at the World Song Festival in the USA. Rob moved to Australia when cast in the role of ‘Jean Valjean’ in Les Misérables, for which he received a Green Room Award for Best Male Performer in a Leading Role.
After touring Australia for three and a half years he was cast as ‘The Phantom’ in Phantom of the Opera, going on to play the role to great acclaim for a record 2,289 performances over 7 years. In the midst of this run Rob was awarded Best New Zealand Theatrical Performer of the Year twice for his roles in both Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera.
In 1995 he traveled to London at the invitation of producer Cameron Mackintosh to appear in the 10th Anniversary Concert Performance of Les Misérables at the Royal Albert Hall.
In 1998/9 Rob reprised the role of ‘Jean Valjean’ in the 10th Anniversary production of Les Miserables in Australasia. Roles since then include ‘Al Jolson’ in Jolson(Nichols/Brereton) for which he received rave reviews, ‘Captain von Trapp’ in The Sound of Music (GFO/SEL), ‘Reverend Shaw Moore’ in Footloose (GFO/SEL), and ‘Harold Hill’ in Music Man (The Production Company). Rob has more than 40 roles to his credit, also including the title roles in Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Barnum, Jekyll and Hyde, Sweeny Todd and many more.
Gala performances include; opening the St. James Theatre (Wellington, NZ) with Elaine Paige, singing This is the Moment at the AFL Grand Final for Muhammad Ali, performing at the France vs All Blacks Rugby Test in Wellington, New Zealand, Wallabies V Springbok test in Perth, Australia V New Zealand cricket test in Auckland, the State of Origin and the Melbourne Cup.
For television, Rob hosted 32 episodes of Man O Man, the special Missing Pieces and also hosted Carols in the Domain for two years, all for the Seven Network. He has also appeared as guest, host or actor in many programmes over 30 years on television in Australia and New Zealand. Rob has released four gold selling albums; Dedication, Standing Ovation, Unmasked and the Magic of Christmas. Rob toured Australasia extensively with partner and musical director Kellie Dickerson, producing his own concert series.
Rob was playing the role of the Wizard of Oz in the Australian premier production of WICKED at the time of death for which he posthumously received the 2009 Helpman award for best supporting actor.
Throughout his life he was enthusiastic about encouraging young artists, and touring gave him the opportunity to develop this: he was involved with over two hundred masterclasses and performances with young soloists, musicians and choirs, and loved to advise and support young professionals as their own careers developed. On New Year’s Day 1994, Rob received an OBE for his services to the New Zealand Entertainment Industry.
“I wouldn’t change what I do for anything. I am so lucky to have been given the chance and the freedom to do something that I love, and I realize that I am among a fortunate few who have had this opportunity. This industry has been good to me and I will continue to learn and grow with every new project and undertaking.
I am always changing and its always exciting. I thank every person I have ever had the privilege to perform with. Every dresser, every usher, every co-star, director and musical director, every crew member and musician I have worked with has taught me in some way and added to my appreciation for the industry. I thank you all for making the canvas on which I paint so stable.
This is not the end, but the beginning. So the next time you see a show advertised, do yourself a favour – book a seat and allow yourself to be transported into a world of wonder.”
Rob Guest, Star Guest – A Life on Stage.