Interview with Aussie Musical Theatre Actor Francine Cain

Francine Cain shot by Marnya Roth Photography, courtesy of Fuller PR.

There is something extraordinary about witnessing acting first-hand and in a theatre. An energy that radiates from the stage to the seats; from the actors to the audience. When people talk about ‘star status’, it is because that person emanates a brightness, a spark, an electric magnetism that draws audiences in. Francine Cain is one such performer, a dazzling musical theatre actor who channels superstar charisma in her shining performance as ‘Cecile Caldwell’ in Cruel Intentions – The 90’s Musical. Francine’s brilliant portrayal of a naïve yet headstrong ‘Cecile’ (originally played by Selma Blair in the 1998 film) displayed the character’s hilarious, awkward, sexy and vulnerable side in a fearless performance that will play on in audience’s minds. Read more about Francine’s performance and our review of the amazing production here.

Francine Cain is a Helpmann Award nominated musical theatre actor whose credits include iconic characters such as, ‘Regina’ in Rock of Ages, ‘Frenchy’ in Grease and ‘Sandra’ in The Play that Goes Wrong. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music Theatre from WAAPA, Francine won the 2010 Rob Guest (Phantom of the Opera and Wicked fame) Endowment Award which took her to New York, working with some of Broadway’s greatest tutors. Francine is also an established acting coach, with 16 years of experience teaching and directing in primary schools and performing arts schools all over Australia.

Pen to Paper Media sat down with Francine to get the low-down on her fondness for the 90’s, her favourite part about performing on stage and the importance of family.

Francine Cain as ‘Cecile’ in Cruel Intentions – the 90’s Musical. Photography by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of Fuller PR.
  1. Were you a child of the 90’s and what did you love (and loathe) most about that era?

Yes I was!! Born in ’87 so I was a peak 90’s child! I loved hair accessories, small bags and inflatable furniture. Hated Hanson ( I was a Spice Girls girl) and of course, low rise jeans.

  1. Were you old enough to watch Cruel Intentions, the film, when it first came out?

Yes and no. I was 12 so it wasn’t really for my age bracket but I have older sisters so I sneakily watched it.

  1. What do you love most about portraying Cecile?

Her goofy innocence.

  1. What are the most difficult parts of Cecile’s character to overcome when playing her?

Making her likeable. Cecile is clingy, says the wrong thing and lacks social cues so she could come across as kind of annoying.

  1. Any pre-performance rituals to help you get into character?

Not so much a ritual, but I do get my nails done to match Cecile’s personality and costume – biting and playing with her nails is a big character trait of hers.

  1. Favourite thing about performing in Cruel Intentions – The 90’s Musical?

Hearing the audience recognise moments and songs. Their audible glee screams pure nostalgia.

  1. Who has been your most favourite character to play in your career thus far and why?

Lucille Ball for sure. She was the Queen of Comedy and I learnt so much from her. It was the hardest [character] do but also the highest honour.

  1. What is it about the stage that you are so drawn by?

I’m the youngest of 6 kids so probably the attention, hahaha! Truthfully, I love entertaining people and telling stories. I do it on and off the stage.

  1. What is your fondest memory of being in New York after winning the Rob Guest Endowment Scholarship in 2010?

Oh my goodness where to start? Probably meeting Kristin Chenoweth [Wicked, The King & I, Ugly Betty, The West Wing and SO much more!] and Sean Hayes [Will & grace] after seeing them both perform in ‘Promises Promises’!!! My agent at the time knew someone in the cast so set up a meeting for me with him and I went backstage to meet them. Sean also took me onto the stage and I will never forget standing on the Broadway stage with the spotlight on me chatting to Sean and Kristen (I have photo evidence!).

  1. Person you’ve been most influenced by in your life?

My siblings. All of them. Each of them has inspired and guided me in different ways. It took me a while to really become my own person, but I still look up to them now. That’s the beauty of being the youngest.

  1. What’s next for Francine Cain? 

Personally, I would love to start a family, and I would love to continue performing as a Mum and bring my children up in the theatre.


  • If you could steal anyone’s job for the day, who would it be?

I’m obsessed with true crime so a homicide detective.

  • Favourite film of all-time?

Empire Records.

  • Hollywood crush?


  • Best piece of 90’s fashion you’d love to make a comeback (if it hasn’t already)?

The shrug.

  • Best word of advice you’ve ever been given?

Growth is all that matters. It’s not about success or failure, it’s about growth.

Francine Cain as ‘Cecile’ in Cruel Intentions – the 90’s Musical. Photography by Nicole Cleary, courtesy of Fuller PR.

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