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The First 50 Podcast — Episode 11: Matt Gilbertson

Friday, 01 December 2023
42 min listen

In episode 11, Matt Gilbertson chats to host Libby O'Donovan about the inspiration behind his alter-ego 'Hans'.

I remember seeing an accordion player playing "It's Raining Men" and I thought, that's hilarious. So I thought, okay, I can learn pop songs on the accordion… 

Michael Morley [Drama Professor at Flinders University] said to me, you should do something that's not quite a drag queen, but it's a little bit out there. And so I just kind of put together this costume, which was like a vest and a shirt on top and like hot pants and fishnets down the bottom. And that's kind of where it started. And then from there it was just more sequins got added. I haven't really changed a lot of it.  

— Matt Gilbertson

Available now on all major streaming platforms — including Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Soundcloud.

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Matt Gilbertson

With a career spanning two decades, Matt Gilbertson has become an enduring figure across the Australian media and performing arts landscapes. As a journalist he has worked across in radio, television and print- most notably as the entertainment and gossip writer at the Advertiser and Sunday Mail between 2009 and 2023.  

But it’s as his alter-ego ‘Hans’ that Gilbertson is best known for. In 2018, Hans won the hearts of 16 million Americans with his cheeky and electrifying song and dance routines on NBC TV series, America’s Got Talent and returned to the USA to appear on America’s Got Talent: The Champions  in 2020, making it all the way to the grand final. In 2024 Hans will once again hit US television screens as part of the new spin off series AGT: Fantasy League.  

Gilbertson’s live cabaret performances have delighted audiences and critics throughout Europe, the UK and the US as well as right here in Australia where he has toured extensively- twice nabbing the Best Cabaret award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival.  Earlier this year Gilbertson was the recipient of the Cabaret Icon Award at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, joining the ranks of cabaret legends like Rhonda Burchmore, Meow Meow, David Campbell and Reg Livermore.  





Libby O'Donovan

Host, The First 50 podcast

Libby O'Donovan is a powerful and sassy performer (Sydney Morning Herald), renowned for her nuanced interpretations and extraordinary voice. She is a critically acclaimed jazz and cabaret performer and an award-winning Musical Director. Libby has entertained audiences the world-over with her unique talents, performing in New York, Tokyo and Toronto as well as Australia-wide. Equally at home in small ensemble acts as well as solo performances, she has been a proud member of ARIA nominated Cocos Lunch, Flat on Your Bacharach, and Women With Standards, for which she won a Green Room Award for Musical Direction. 

Highly regarded as a solo artist, Libby has performed seasons for the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Edinburgh Fringe, Sydney Spring Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, the International Jazz Educators Convention, Adelaide Cabaret Festival (including working with Broadway composers Jason Robert-Brown and Andrew Lippa), Melbourne Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Feast Festival, and the Wangaratta Jazz Festival. 

Her theatre credits include Matthew Robinsons Metro Street, Doppio Parallelos DJ Squat, Contaminations Lab and The Last Child, Vitalstatistixs Way Dead Cool and Patch Theatre Companys Sharon Keep Ya Hair On! Libbys recent body of work in Cabaret includes The Story of Meredith Crocksley, Some of My Best Friends Are Single, Gady La La: Songs for the Sophisticated Fag Hag, Kate Leigh: The Worst Woman, UNSUNG and The Cowgirl and The Showgirl. 

As a recording artist she has featured on numerous Jazz and Cabaret albums, as well as her critically acclaimed self-penned albums The Complication, Home to You and Back to Broken Hill

Libby is also highly in demand as a composer, arranger and musical director. 

Libby was the recipient of Adelaide Cabaret Festival's Icon Award in 2022. 

Libby 2560x1280

About The First 50 Podcast

Hosted by the powerful and sassy Libby O'Donovan, The First 50 podcast series will provide 12 snapshot moments that cover the Centre's 50-year history. Hear stories, anecdotes and memories by those who have had their lives touched by the theatre: performers, artistic directors, ushers, and Walk of Fame-ers. 

The 12 episodes within the series will be published monthly across 2023. Be sure to follow for monthly drops. 

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