Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Next Interviewee...Silje Mari

I now have the pleasure interviewing Silje Mari, a fellow musical fan and a lover of classic Hollywood Musicals.

Silje Mari
Photo Credit: Silje Mari

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general?

It all started when I watched the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie for the first time, three or four years ago. At first, it was just the movie itself and the story that interested me, but then I watched the 25th Anniversary Celebration a bit later, and became interested in seeing more of some of the cast.

I then started listening to whatever of their songs I could find around the internet, and got gradually interested in where the songs came from as well, and listened to various versions. Then I got a chance to go to London and see The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misèrables for real, and I was hooked!

I am so glad that I got this interest for theatre, because it has opened up a whole new world to me. Now I always have new songs to listen to and learn, new shows and movies to watch, new idols and favourites, and I've had such a great time all the way!
What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey?

It's really hard to mention just a few.  I've had so many good times and great experiences thanks to musical theatre! I often think of my whole theatre journey as one big highlight, lol!

But one night really stands out - that's when I celebrated New Years Eve in London last year (2012). I met up with a bunch of people I'd spoken to on Twitter, and we had a great time seeing The Phantom of the Opera and then enjoying the fireworks at Trafalgar Square afterwards. That was the start of a great year in many ways, and a much appreciated friendship with fellow theatre fans.

Being invited to Ramin Karimloo's exclusive Thank you gig in March 2012 must also be considered a highlight, which was also my very first trip to London. I loved the place at once, and couldn't wait to get back. 

Other highlights are of course getting to see and meet my idols. I especially remember the days when I finally got to meet Earl Carpenter, Ramin Karimloo, Anna O'Byrne, Alfie Boe, Sierra Boggess, Killian Donnelly and Rufus Sewell.

Silje Mari with Earl Carpenter (Phantom on 2012/13 Phantom UK Tour)
Photo Credit: Silje Mari

What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally?

I highly recommend Dirty Dancing, Cats (2013/14 Tour), Billy Elliot, The 39 Steps, War Horse, Once (And Phantom & Les Mis of course). They are some of my favourites so far, and I wouldn't mind watching them again. And if the Singin' in the Rain (2013/14 tour) is as good as the West End production (Palace Theatre, London), I bet it's worth seeing as well!

Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to?

Loads!!! I always have a long, ever-changing list of shows to see! But on top of that list at the moment are Matilda, Evita, From Here to Eternity, The Commitments, Love Never Dies and Miss Saigon. I'd love to see as many as possible of the well-known musicals, as well as the less popular ones, but at the moment I haven't paid much attention to what's on since I'm back home in Norway now.  I can't just jump on the train to London on a day off any more!

What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013?

One thing I'm really glad I got the chance to do was travelling around the UK to catch The 2012/13 Phantom of the Opera UK Tour in several places. That way I got to see more of the country and visit several different and wonderful theatres.

There are also some of the shows I've seen that stand out. Like Loserville, with a lovely and brilliant design and a fab cast. And Shrek The Musical, which I wasn't very keen to see to be honest, but I ended up loving each second of it! It was so colourful, with a really interesting set design and great costumes. The cast were wonderful, and it captured the essence of the movies (which I adore) really well.

War Horse was another highlight, with amazing puppetry and the beautiful story, and both Top Hat and Singin' in the Rain were fantastic as I'm a huge fan of the classic Hollywood musicals as well.

I also got the chance to see Maury Yeston's Phantom in a tiny Off West End theatre, which was a great experience. The tiny stage and auditorium made me feel like I was right in the middle of the story, and I loved the whole cast. I was on front row, and the Phantom's cape actually brushed over my feet when he walked past. That's how tiny the whole place was!

Another day that really stand out to me was on  31st August 2013, Marcus Lovett's very last day as the Phantom. I'd seen him on stage and met him a lot the past year, so it was very sad to see him go. He and the rest of the cast gave two stunning performances that day, and I'm so glad that I got to be there and be a part of it all. I bet almost all his fans turned up to say goodbye and I've never seen a crowd that big outside the stage door before!

Silje Mari with Marcus Lovett (Phantom of the 2012/13 London Cast)
Photo Credit: Silje Mari

The Phantom of the Opera has become very special to me. I've seen the show a lot this year and I've got to know the wonderful cast and crew. They always stopped for a chat and I feel really welcome whenever I was there.

What show are you planning to see next?

I'm going to London for 2013's New Years Eve and booked to see Phantom that evening and Richard II for another day.  I also hope to get day tickets for American Psycho since it has been sold out for a while.  I might see one or two other shows as well, but we'll decide when we get there. I have a feeling that one of them might be Les Misèrables, and maybe Meet Me in St Louis if it's still on and if there are some tickets left.

I would like to say a big thanks to Silje for taking part in this interview and please keep tuned for more interviews!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Next Interviewee....Stacey Helmore

I now have the pleasure to interview Stacey Helmore, a fellow musical theatre fan with exciting theatrical ambitions!

 Stacey Helmore
Photo Credit: Stacey Helmore

How you got into theatre/musical theatre in general?

Well I've been into theatre since I was young.  I saw my first show in the West End when I was nine years old so I think that contributed to why I enjoy watching shows now.  It's always something that I've had a great love for and because I study theatre I've had some amazing opportunities so the experiences that I've had have drawn me back.

It's always something that I've had a great love for and because I study theatre I've had some amazing opportunities so the experiences that I've had have drawn me back.  I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else so I think I can safely say my life revolves around theatre!

The show I went and saw when I was nine was actually my first musical I remember just sitting in my seat with my mouth wide open for the whole show. I just remember thinking it was the most amazing thing in the world. So it's thanks to that show that I got into musicals.

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey?
This is a hard one as I've had so many fabulous experiences. I think one of the main highlights would have to be seeing Idina Menzel live and meeting her. Idina has really been one of the people that I've sort of aspired to be as successful as she's an extremely talented and lovely person and her gigs really are so relaxed and amazing to watch. Another personal highlight has to be seeing Louise Dearman play both Glinda and Elphaba in Wicked. This person is just one of the most genuinely talented people I've ever seen she's just fantastic. 

Stacey Helmore with Louise Dearman (Formerly in Wicked)
Photo Credit: Stacey Helmore

What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End and Regionally?
I could recommend so many! One of my new favourite shows that I've seen is Once. It's a fantastic show, the music is beautiful and the cast are just genuinely phenomenal. As a theatre student I really enjoyed the style the show is performed in and I loved the fact the cast play their own instruments!

Are there any shows that you haven't seen that you would like to?
I really want to see more than one or two shows; Billy Elliot, The Phantom of the Opera, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. There's more than a few. 

What have been your theatrical highlights of 2013?

Going backstage at Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre, London) and The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre, London) were two phenomenal experiences I've had this year. I'm interested in working backstage so it was fantastic thing to see what goes behind the curtains! Another highlight for me was getting the chance to see shows that I hadn't seen before such as Les Miserables and Once.
Stacey with friends
Photo Credit: Stacey Helmore

What show are you planning to see next?

I want to go and see a play called Mojo in the new year. I'm really excited about seeing it.  And as I said I want to see Billy Elliot and The Phantom of the Opera.
I would like to thank Stacey for taking part in this interview.  Please keep tuned for more interviews!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Next Interviewee....Lesley Armstrong

I'm now excited to introduce Lesley Armstrong, a legendary theatre fan, whose love of theatre has been passed to her from her generation.

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general? 

Musical theatre is in my blood. When my mum was pregnant with me she was attending great musicals of the late 1950s and 1960s. She would stand at stage doors to meet the very best of them. So I was born singing, dancing and even had my own little 'dance mat'. I have an autograph book which Mum gave me, full of the 'creme de la creme' of performers: Max Bygraves, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Sammy Davis Jr, Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Vivienne Leigh, Yul Brynner and Deborah Carr to name a few.  

One of my best ever moments was surprising my Grandmother & Mum to a front row seat at the Palladium, to see Yul Brynner and Deborah Carr in The King and I. My Grandmother's face when we pulled up to the Palladium was a picture! You don't ever forget special moments like that. We were lucky enough to meet the legendary Yul Brynner at stage door afterwards. It was a freezing cold January night and we were the only three people left as others had already gone, fed up awaiting him to show. It was starting to snow, my Grandmother was nearly 70 and feeling the cold. When she saw Mr Brynner walking towards us, her face lit up and she blurted out 'Hiya Yul' in a broad Liverpool accent and ready to hug him! He immediately took her cold hand and said, mimicking back in the same Liverpool voice, 'Hiya ta you'. He told her to sit in his beautiful Rolls Royce while he graciously signed personal autographs for her and Mum too. They never, ever forgot that moment. 

When 16, l developed a huge crush on Jack Wild (Artful Dodger) from Lionel Bart's Oliver. I wrote to him, ran away to London to meet him, became a friend of Jack's, visiting him regularly.  Everyone used to wind me up about Jack. They would play pranks on me and send me on wild goose chases to meet him, but I persevered and met him on many occasions. I used to find out when he would be flying out from Heathrow to America, and meet him there to say goodbye, good-luck! I was chosen to appear on the children's Magpie programme to come in and ask Jack three of my own questions.

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey? 

Lesley with Marvin Hamlish's widow at What's On Stage Awards
Photo Credit: Lesley Armstrong

My most recent moments have been attending this years What's on Stage Awards in February 2013 and meeting the widow of the legendary composer Marvin Hamlish.  She and Maria Feldman sat next to me during the ceremony.  She was awarded a posthumous award for outstanding recognition.  Hamlish was extraordinary. His musicals are just the very best such as 42nd Street, Chorus Line and so forth! One of his lesser known musicals was on the Shaftesbury Theatre in the late seventies called There Playing Our Song. I was new in London, it was a gorgeous never ending summer and I went to see it.  It was totally fabulous. It had everything, great "jazzy" lively music, told the story of his relationship between Marvin and Carol King the songwriter, and starred the brilliant Tom Conti & Gemma Craven.  I secretly developed a big crush on Mr Conti with his soft laid back slightly Scottish drawl and good looks.  Falling, a song from the musical, can be checked out on You Tube. The song is very catchy!

 Lesley with Ramin Karimloo
Photo Credit: Lesley Armstrong

What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally?

This past year I have seen, Thriller, Matilda, Once, Blood Brothers, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Book of Mormon, From Here to Eternity, and Tell Me On a Sunday with Martin Webb, at Windsor Theatre. All these I would recommend there is something for everyone amongst this list.

What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013? 

However, I do have to be honest and say that my most memorable musical recently, has to be,for outstanding production & musical content was The Sound of Music at Regents Park's Open Air Theatre. My best actor this year has to be Michael Xavier from this. He was amazing as Captain Von Trapp.! 

Lesley Armstrong with Michael Xavier at Open Air Theatre, Regent Park's Theatre
Photo credit: Lesley Armstrong

What show are you planning to see next?

My next show is Coriolanus which isn't a musical but was very lucky to get a ticket for 21st December 2013. I also want to go see Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical Stephen Ward, The Musical. It has to be good, he is the Lord of musicals! I am a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. He and Cameron Macintosh cast my cousin Harry Polden in Love Never Dies as Gustave, with Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess.

Harry Polden in Finding Neverland
Photo Credit: Lesley Armstrong

I am going again across the pond to see Ramin Karimloo performing on Broadway in May. I am pleased to say that Ramin now knows me quite well which is pretty amazing when you think of the vast number of fans & professionals they must meet, but yes, all I can say about this wonderful singer is that he must have a remarkable memory!  Ramin is such a powerful performer live, you will never forget the experience and same goes for Alfie Boe! I would follow them both to the ends of the earth and have done several times! 

A memorable thought from Lesley: 
'So Remember, "The best of times is now, what's left of Summer, but a dying rosé, the best of times is now, as for tomorrow, well, who knows, who knows so let the fun begin"! Carry on enjoying your musicals, remember they are at your doorstep, make an effort to go! You'll find me in the West End knocking on stage doors to meet and say a huge thanks for entertaining us all to these brilliantly talented actors/actresses. Their sacrifices and achievements to get to where they are today hasn't been easy! An actors life, is NOT an easy one! Keep singing!'

I would like to say a big thank you to Lesley for taking part....please keep tuned my next interviews!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Next Interviewee....Anne Stern

I would like to interview Anne Stern, a fellow musical theatre fan and how seeing Any Dream Will Do, Joseph and Lee Mead have changed her life for the good.

 Anne Stern
Photo Credit: Anne Stern

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general? 

I suppose it was my dad the first got me to appreciate music. He loved big band music and listening to musical soundtracks. He never worked on a Monday and used to have the tunes blaring whilst he hoovered and dusted.  I suppose the music was the first thing I knew about. I never went to the live theatre till I was married with my own children.  I took them to see Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria and we loved it!  So much so that I took them three times more. That was when my true passion started and it was years before I went to a live show again.

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey? 

Lee Mead
Photo Credit: Anne Stern
My highlight of my musical theatre experience is difficult to answer. In 2006 my son became seriously ill, which resulted in us having to spend a year in hospital whilst he was battling for his life. Once he was better I became miserable and very very depressed. That was in 2007 and around the same time as Any Dream Will Do started on TV. I was intrigued by the show and I fell in love with Lee Mead.  I saw Joseph for my birthday in October and was hooked. My depression lifted with the help of people that I met in my Joseph journey (and the doctor lol) although it wasn’t and still isn’t my favourite show.  Joseph changed my life for the better. I joined various forums for fans of the show and of Lee Mead and the rest is history!   I met some wonderful like minded people who have become close friends of mine with many of whom I still see on a regular basis going to theatre etc.  I therefore suppose Joseph and Any Dream Will Do is a highlight in my life. 
What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally? 

As to a show I would recommend in the West End or Regional playing at the moment that would be The Commitments. I loved it!
Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to? 
I’m lucky enough to have seen a lot of shows and there is nothing in the West End that I haven’t seen that I want to see. However I would love to see Singin The Rain on tour and will get tickets at some point 
What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013?  
The Colour Purple at The Menier blew me away, but my real highlight was seeing every show (bar 2) of The West End Men in concert, technically not a conventional West End show but it did do a very short run at The Vaudeville. The combination of meeting friends , Lee Mead, Glenn Carter, David Thaxton, Matt Willis and also Stephen Ramen Hughes, also chatting with Kerry Ellis and Carly Stenson at the stage door was a real highlight for me.
Glenn Carter
Photo Credit: Phil Cowndley

What show are you planning to see next?
As to up and coming shows: Night Before Christmas and 12 Angry Men in 2013. Meet Me In St Louis , Urine Town, The Full Monty, Fiddler on the Roof and Miss Saigon in 2014.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Next interviewee....Sarah Forrester

I now have the privilege to interview Sarah Forrester, a fellow theatre fan and who has seen an abundance of shows during her exciting musical theatre journey.

 Sarah Forrester
Photo Credit: Sarah Forrester

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general?

I have always been exceedingly extrovert and enjoyed drama from an early age. I regularly played the lead in school plays.  When I was 12 years old my drama teacher took me to a musical - I was blown away! We were sat in the gods and I thought I was in heaven! As soon as I had my own money I spent it on theatre tickets.

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey?

The absolute highlight for me was winning a VIP trip to The Olivier Awards! For someone like me whose life revolves around theatre it truly was a dream come true! I adored every moment from the red carpet to watching the show from our amazing seats!

 Sarah Forester, a VIP guest, at the Olivier Awards in 2012
Photo Credit: Sarah Forrester

What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally?

There are some great shows on at the moment in London - obviously the long standing Shows like Les Miserables, Wicked and Jersey Boys are firm favourites that I would (and have!) recommended to friends!  Of the newer shows, Book of Mormon, Once and Charlie and the Chocolate factory are all fabulous. I recently saw Candide at The Menier Chocolate Factory and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to?

Always !! I have been lucky enough to see hundreds of shows and have seen nearly every show in The West End.  I am yet to see The Bodyguard and One Man Two Guvnors - there just always seems to be another show calling me on my trips to London, but I hope to see them both soon! So many shows so little time !!

What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013?

 Sarah Forrester's Musical Theatre Journey
Photo Credit: Sarah Forrester

Without doubt it has been my visits to The Book of Mormon! My friend and I queued in the freezing cold all day for the first preview! You had to queue first to get a ticket then queue again as it was unreserved seating so basically first come - best seats ! There was such camaraderie in the queue - we were even brought out donuts by the theatre staff ! The show is just fantastic - yes it has a lot of bad language, but it also has great heart ! Doing the lottery for The Book of Mormon is a great experience! It is so exciting and I honestly don't think I could have been more thrilled if I had won the actual lottery!

Another surprise highlight was Candide at The Menier Chocolate Factory.  I had never seen (or even heard of!) Candide before.  I am not very keen on operatic style singing either but absolutely loved the show! Each of the stellar cast were excellent with particular highlights being David Thaxton and Scarlet Strallen. Just wow!

What show are you planning to see next?

I have tickets for Jeeves and Wooster and Miss Saigon (opening night, weekend of West End Live and my birthday weekend ) but I am planning on seeing Strangers on a Train, The Bodyguard and One Man Two Guvnors with a regular trip to The Book of Mormon and Les Miserables thrown in for good measure! I was very lucky to win free travel during 2013 so had many theatre trips to London so I don't think I will manage so many during 2014! 

I would like to thank Sarah for taking part.  She can be followed @fraugretel on Twitter.   Please keep tuned for future interviews!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Next Interviewee....Alison Newnham

I now have the pleasure to interview Alison Newnham, a fellow theatre fan and has seen a wide variety of musicals on her theatre journey!

Alison Newnham
Photo Credit: Alison Newnham 

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general? 

A few things....Being taken to amateur productions and films when I was a child by my mum and Grandma, listening to soundtracks at home, mainly Rogers and Hammerstein. Seeing Oliver when it was a brand new production for my 11th birthday in London (around 1960!).

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey? 

Being deeply moved by the film of South Pacific when I was about 8 and sobbing for months afterwards whenever I remembered Lt Cable dying!! 

The visit to London to see Oliver... etched on my memory forever!! 

Introducing my kids to musicals and watching their faces at shows like Starlight Express and now waiting for baby grandson to be old enough to indoctrinate!!!!! 

First time I saw Les Miserables and ‘discovering’ how fab Ramin Karimloo is from seeing The Phantom of the Opera and not knowing anything about him until he sang!!!

Two visits to the Oliviers! First was a win with Mastercard in 2012 and this year we got tickets as I rewrote 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' as a song about London Theatre and my daughter sang it and it won a prize from the Oliviers.  This year (2013) we sat next to the cast of Top Hat so it was thrilling when they won awards!! And the after show party was heaven walking around and spotting so many Musical Theatre people and taking some sneaky photos!! Discovering how amazing Off West End shows can be.  For example, Mack and Mabel and Titanic at Southwark Playhouse.

 Alison with Adam Garcia (Kiss Me Kate, Chichester)
Photo Credit: Alison Newnham 

What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally?

Too many but always Les Miserables. Would have said Top Hat if it was still on but hopefully there will be a tour.  I loved Priscilla at Bristol Hippodrome and Cats (UK Tour) was magical.

Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to?

Commitments, Jersey Boys, Coriolanus, Candide, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and One Man Two Guvnors.  I would love to see some of the late-night cabarets that are always popping up but too late for midnight coach back home to Bristol! And when they arrive, Miss Saigon and Me & My Girl (especially if Damian Lewis is in it!!!)

What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013? 

Attending the Olivier Awards,  Cabaret (starring Will Young), Priscilla, Cats which were at Bristol Hippodrome and because I wasn’t expecting them to be so good! A Chorus Line (and meeting the lovely cast a couple of times). Sheytoons in concert, Titanic (just beautiful!) The Pyjama Game at Chichester.

Alison and her daughter, Chloe, with John Partridge (Chorus Line at London Pallaidum)
Photo Credit: Alison Newnham

What show are you planning to see next?

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Bristol), West Side Story (Bristol). If I get some theatre vouchers at Christmas, who knows!!! But Commitments and Miss Saigon will probably top of the list!

'What's Your Favourite Musical?'

I’m sometimes asked ‘What’s Your Favourite musical?’ and always say that’s like being asked 'Which is your favourite child!' It’s often the one I’m watching at the time! Unless I'm disappointed with the musical of course, but I’m quite easily pleased!

I would like to say thank you to Alison for taking part.  She can be followed @allypally52 on Twitter.  Please keep tuned for more interviews!

Next Interviewee....Rachel Borland

I now have the pleasure to interview Rachel Borland, a fellow musical theatre fan and a lover of Spamalot, The Jersey Boys and Cage Aux Folles.

 Rachel Borland
Photo Credit: Rachel Borland

Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general? 

I have always loved literature, even as a small child. My parents read books to me in an animated fashion, which lit up my imagination. As with most children, my first experience of theater would be a pantomime. As with my parents, I was in awe that people were acting out my favourite stories and bringing them to life. I was hooked!

As i began to read for myself, so began my unquenchable thirst for knowledge, fact or fiction. The fact that I could see these stories performed on television, film and stage was perfect. If I did not have my head in a book, I would be watching a performance.
Growing up with school plays and repeats of Christmas TV formed my love of musicals. I associate them with good times. To this day, I can't watch Oliver, or The Wizard of Oz without a big grin. I hope the youth of today, get this thrill with modern musicals.

What have been the highlights of your musical theatre/theatre journey? 

As a stage show as a whole - Spamalot. I'm a huge Python fan, and their attention to detail was impressive. The dialogue is still hilarious, and the music worked well. I saw it with the lovely Peter Davison and loved every second. As a musical, there is nothing currently that can touch The Jersey Boys for me. Ryan Molloy is perfectly cast as Frankie, the music makes we get up and dance, and the story is both interesting and touching. Single performance was John Barrowman in La Cage Aux Folles. Fantastic stage presence, high camp fun, and an amazing rendition of I am what I am.

Rachel with Burn Gorman (Cage Aux Folles)
Photo Credit: Rachel Borland 
What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally? 

The Jersey Boys, as discussed; and The Commitments. The show itself, is not that great. The book is poor, and the acting - over-acting! But to see Killian Donnelly sing, was the finest musical performance I have witnessed. The man expresses every note, with every part of his body. He lives the music. Great soundtrack, lots of fun!

For non Musical Theatre, Midsummer Nights Dream at the Noel Coward Theatre with David Walliams and Sheridan Smith.  A fantastic interpretation, soulful and sexy, fun and funny. David Walliams does what he does best as the comic turn Bottom and Sheridan and her sexy sprites, give it a kind of dark magical undertone - there is no doubt we are definitely playing with fire!

Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to?

Stephen Ward, American Psycho and Book Of Mormon. A mixture of all my favourite elements. History, great literature, and a quirky sense of humour!

What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013?

Without question, Royal Shakespeare Company Richard II at the Barbican. Lucky enough to see on opening night. What a performance from an amazing cast full of contrasts and contradictions.

For fun, a great night was had with Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens at the Leicester Square Theatre, if ever there was a show that deserved a bigger stage to express itself. This could be the next Rocky Horror!

Rachel Borland with Paul O'Grady (who performed in West End Bares)
Photo Credit: Rachel Borland 

What show are you planning to see next?
Stephen Ward, The Book Of Mormon and of course Richard II at the Barbican!

May I take this opportunity to thank Rachel for taking part.  She can be followed on Twitter. Please keep tuned for more interviews!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

My Theatrical Highlights of 2013

I'll soon see my final show for 2013 but I thought now it would be a good idea to share what my theatrical highlights are this year.

I've enjoyed seeing a diverse range of productions ranging from musicals, operas, dance productions and plays. Especially this year I've got to appreciate the stories told and the creative team behind the productions. I've seen and met some exceptional performers in 2013 but my policy is I always go for the show first!!!

I have to say my theatre journey in 2013 hasn't been the easiest....there has been some not so good times as well as the good ones. However I can reassure that the good times this year outweigh the not so good ones! The experiences I've had this year has made me a better person.

This year I've got into theatre reviewing/blogging and this has been extended to the arts in general.  I strongly feel that the arts play an important part in our lives and appreciate what we have and what is around us. I had the privilege of interviewing fellow theatre going fans and from interviewing I'm now inspired to see productions which I usually wouldn't consider seeing.  

I think 2014 will be just as exciting as 2013 in terms of seeing shows!

My highlights for 2013 were shows I've seen for the first time along with some favourite ones!  Please click onto the links for the blogs I've written about the shows.














What has 2014 have in store for me?

There is a lot of shows I plan to see and some which I've already booked for! I suggest you follow my blog for me to reveal as I go along!  I hope to break into reviewing for a number of theatrical organisations in London and regionally and conduct more interviews with fellow theatre going fans!

Friends I especially want to say a big thank you to are:  Annie Fiddy, Sheena Shahani, Lizzie Saill, Sophia Wadey, James Flockhart, Rob Brown, Kat Caunter, Olivia Edmonds, Kathy Englisch, Emma McKeating, Alison Myers and also others who have supported my theatre journey in 2013.  I love you all and look forward to our continued friendship in 2014!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Next Interviewee....Rachael Farrow

I now would like to introduce Rachael Farrow, a fellow theatre and a Les Miserables Fan. 

Rachael Farrow
Photo Credit: Rachael Farrow
Please tell me how you got into musical theatre/theatre in general? 

I first got into musical theatre because both my parents love it so i grew up watching movie musicals like Grease and Calamity Jane. I loved Disney so my mum took me to see my first West End show which was Beauty and the Beast when I was 5 years old.  I was a fidgety child so she was worried i would grow bored but from the first note the orchestra played I was transfixed the whole way through, and so it began! My parents took me to see so many West End shows as a child but once I'd seen the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert on DVD that was when i knew that i wanted to sing and act for a living and so I've started piano lessons and singing lessons and am hoping to do a degree in musical theatre now. 

Rachael with John Owen Jones
Photo Credit: Rachael Farrow
 What have been the highlights of your musical theatre journey? 

I think my major highlight was being in the audience at the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary ConcertLea Salonga has been a hero of mine since watching the 10th anniversary and that was the first time I'd ever seen her live so it was an amazing experience and one that i will never forget!  Another was performing on stage at Her Majesty's Theatre which was completely surreal after having watched The Phantom of the Opera there so many times. 

Rachael with Ramin Karimloo
Photo Credit: Rachael Farrow
 What shows do you recommend that are currently playing in the West End or Regionally? 

Well I will always recommend Les Miserables because it is my favourite show and is always awesome but I also think The Bodyguard is great if you are looking for a really fun night out. There are also some great plays on at the moment like Mojo and One Man Two Guvnors

Are there any shows that you haven’t seen that you would like to?

I am completely desperate to see Once - I love the music and have been trying to find a time to go and also The Jersey Boys which i still haven't seen - I'm going to try and go before it moves theatres. I'd also like to see The Book of Mormon but tickets are just so expensive 

 What have been your theatrical highlights in 2013? 

There have been so many this year! Seeing Patti Lupone in concert is at the top of the list, I was never a massive fan but thought how amazing it would be to see the original Fantine and Norma Desmond but she was phenomenal and I left a fan for life. I also loved seeing the Scott Alan concert at the 02 and Miranda sings. In terms of theatre I think getting to see Heather Headley in The Bodyguard - her voice is just astounding! I also loved getting to go to the Whats On Stage Awards which were fabulous! 

What show are you planning to see next? 

I know that I'm definitely seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the end of December as a Christmas present and have just got tickets for Blithe Spirit next year. I'm going to try and get to From Here To Eternity before it closes and I desperately want to see Miss Saigon in the new year.

I would like to thank Rachael for taking part.  She can be followed on @rach158 on Twitter.  Please keep tuned for more interviews!