We spoke to Wicked UK’s Standby Elphaba, Laura Pick to see what life as a standby is really like…

Laura PickTTH: For people that don’t know the difference between an understudy/standby, can you explain?

Laura: An understudy normally has a role within the ensemble. But a standby, especially in this instance is there purely to cover one role and doesn’t have an ensemble track.

TTH: Can you remember your first show as Elphaba? Were you really nervous or buzzing with adrenaline?

Laura: I remember it well, as it was the night before I was supposed to make my debut. I was nervous, especially in the beginning, but as soon as I settled in to it I was just concentrating on what I was doing.

TTH: What do you do pre-show to warm up/get ready?

Laura: I like to get in a bit early and do a proper thorough warm up myself before getting green and heading for company warm up. I always like to have a nice warm herbal tea, and a good steam with my Dr Nelsons inhaler.

TTH: Is it harder to stay motivated when you’re not in the show every day? Personally I don’t think so, I try to keep busy, and I keep the show ticking over all the time in case I’m on unexpectedly. I just really love my job, so motivation isn’t really an issue.

TTH: What was the standby audition process like?

Laura: Very similar to most audition processes. Intense at time, but pretty standard. Song of your own choice for the first round and from that point on you get material from the show, the further you get the more material you are given to perform.

TTH: You’ve recently just completed your first 8 show week at Wicked, how did you find it?

Laura: Since I’m not used to doing it all the time I cleared my calendar and tried to get as much rest as possible in preparation (I’m so glad I did, because I needed it) but that allowed to me to enjoy every second in the evening. I loved getting to perform all week. I mean, who wouldn’t love being Elphaba every day?

TTH: Do you have a favourite moment/song from the show?

Oooh, I don’t think I do you know. Or there are too many to name…

TTH: Do you feel the pressure when you’re on with different people that you may not have previously had time to rehearse with? or do you like the challenge?

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Laura Pick with current Glinda Sophie Evans

Laura: I don’t feel the pressure no, it’s refreshing going on with new people, because it keeps you on your toes.

TTH: Do you have any advice for somebody wanting to enter the same industry as you?

Laura: Don’t give up, work hard, and if you really want it, keep at it. I almost threw the towel in a few times, but you have to persevere. If you would have told me this time last year you that I would be Standby Elphaba in Wicked I would have laughed.

You can catch Laura in Wicked by checking out the holiday dates here: https://www.wickedthemusical.co.uk/london/about/cast-creative

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We spoke to The Nativity’s ASM, Elizabeth Patrick to discuss what her job entails, the highs and lows and advice for aspiring creatives.
TTH: Describe an average day at work on the Nativity?
Elizabeth: On an average one show day, myself and the other ASM will get to the theatre roughly two hours before the show starts. This is so we can reset the props and do our foys flying checks to ensure that everything is where it needs to be. This will then allow us to see if there are any issues in which we then will have enough time to sort out before the show starts.

After this is done, the company then warm up on stage before getting into costume for the show. Our ASM plots are rather busy at this time but it’s great fun.

TTH: People say, don’t work with Children and Animals and on this show, you do both. Is it difficult?

Elizabeth: I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, it can be a challenge at times but the kids bring so much to this show that they still make me laugh on a daily basis.

As for Pepper (cracker in the show) the dog she doesn’t cause any problems and never barks, and who wouldn’t want a little dog to hug during a show?
TTH: Do you prefer tour life or just working in one theatre?
Elizabeth:  This year has been my first time touring. I recently just finished with Sister Act, had a week break and then started with the Nativity. I personally really like both. Touring is exciting as you get to experience new theatres weekly and you come across new challenges with each. I do miss the stability of being based at one theatre as my home life is based in London so being away from friends/family can be tough however, you become one big family whilst on tour as you spend so much time together.
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TTH: What is one thing you’ve learnt in your time as a ASM?
Elizabeth: One thing? Well…I’ve learnt a lot more than one thing working in this field. The main thing I keep reminding myself is that as an ASM you can’t take anything personally. If something goes wrong in a show and you end up on the tail end of some anger, it’s not a personal attack to you. It’s just the heat of the moment situation. Notes are there to help the show and therefore you must embrace them. Any problems? talk. It’s the only way to get the information across to ensure you are doing your job to the best of your ability.
TTH: What is the best/worse part of your job?
Elizabeth: The best part of working on the Nativity! is hearing the intro for ‘Sparkle and Shine’ near the end of Act 2. Every night the audience starts to clap and this is the moment where the real interaction is there. For this part, I’m stage left with the other ASM ready to fly the moon onto the stage. Hearing the audiences reactions still gives me tingles.
The worst part…ok I will keep this simple…glue gunning a toy baby back together daily for the Herod rock opera scene. It’s a fiddly thing but looks amazing onstage so I guess it’s a love hate relationship ha.
TTH: Any advice for creatives wanting to start a career within the industry?
Elizabeth:  If you’re training or got your first job the key is to ALWAYS ask questions. Try and soak everything in and learn from the other members of the team. Everyone in each department will be more than happy to help you if you show an interest into what they are doing. Remember, we all started off not knowing things so don’t feel like you’re the only one. We were once you so we know how it feels.
You can catch the Nativity on tour now.
Check out the dates here #SparkleAndShine

We asked 42nd Street’s leading lady Clare Halse her five dressing room essentials….

  1. The Roller! Number one essential to roll out tired tapping muscles. I tend to get sore thighs because of the raked stage so this helps me out.IMG_1433
  2. Ahhhh, food. Absolutely must have my dressing room snacks such as, nuts, fruit, and biscuits to keep my energy high, especially on a two show day.IMG_1434.jpg
  3. My cozy slippers. I like to snuggle up in these in between shows. Often I have a cheeky power nap in between shows too.IMG_1435.jpg
  4. Magical make- up. I love getting to work and transforming into Peggy and the first step is make-up. I like to be all done before warm up, so then all I have to worry about is  putting on my wig and costume during the half.IMG_1436.jpg
  5. Toothbrush!! I like to feel all fresh, especially for any lurrrrve scenes!!IMG_1437

 

You can catch Clare and the cast of 42nd Street tapping away at the
Theatre Royal Drury Lane.


Are you a performer? What are your dressing room essentials? Tweet us @TheTheatreHub!

 

 

The Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel is one of the hottest and most intimate venues in town. Seating just 80 people, it’s the perfect place to be up close and personal with your favourite stars. Here are our top picks/must see shows at Live at Zédel this season…

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Alice Fearn – May 14th 2017
Currently Wicked’s standby Elphaba, Alice Fearn is one to keep an eye on. With a warming personality, a down to earth attitude and an incredible vocal, you’d be silly to not snap up a ticket to her show this Sunday. After bringing out her first EP titled “Where I’ve Been…Where I’m Going” last year, you can tell she’s a natural when it comes to performing. In our eyes, she’s a star and is destined for big things. Don’t miss out! Grab a ticket now: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/alice-fearn-just-me-and-a-piano

 

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Tyrone Huntley – June 4th 2017
Currently starring in Dream Girls as CC White, Tyrone’s theatre credits are pretty impressive. For a man still in his twenties, he’s taken the West End by storm and continues to go from strength to strength. With one of the smoothest, most soulful voices we’ve heard and a charming persona, it’s a evening not to be missed. Grab a ticket now: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/tyrone-huntley 

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Rachel Tucker – June 5,6,7 2017
Following her sold out four day stint back in March, Rachel Tucker is back and better than ever. With her powerful vocal and welcoming personality, it promises to be a show filled fun, laughter and full of surprise. This leading lady pulls out all of the stops and will have you in the palm of her hand. Tickets are selling super fast for this one so grab a ticket whilst you still can: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/rachel-tucker-live-in-concert/82585262

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Kerry Ellis – August 25, 26, 27

This leading lady has not stopped for the past year. After staring in Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre, she is now on tour with the cast of Wonderland. Considered West End royalty, it would almost be a crime if you didn’t buy a ticket. You can expect an evening of real variety from rock to MT classics all belted through her powerhouse vocals. Grab a ticket: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/kerry-ellis

For more information and to view other shows click here: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/live-at-zedel/programme

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Calling all theatre fans…


If you haven’t visited London’s Theatre Cafe, situated in the heart of the West End, on Shaftesbury Avenue (opposite Les Mis) then you’re missing out. What a genius idea to have a cafe dedicated to musical theatre. A place where you can go and listen to various soundtracks and have themed drinks, with affordable prices and friendly staff. You also have the comfort of being in a room with people who are most likely to share your interests/passion for the arts. Here’s 5 reasons why you need to go and visit…

1) As mentioned in the above, the music. First and foremost that is what attracts most people to this cafe. They have every soundtrack you could possibly think of with a jukebox iPad which allows you to choose the songs. Any stagey will appreciate listening to their favourite musicals on loop whilst sipping on their delicious hot drinks. Also the perfect opportunity to have a little sing along.

2) Which brings me to the second reason. Open mic. Every Saturday between the hours of 3-7pm the cafe hosts an open mic. This gives any aspiring music theatre actor/actress the perfect chance to show everyone what they’ve got. So if you can sing or even if you just want to have some fun with your friends, head down to the cafe and blast out those show tunes.

3) The memorabilia. This cafe is filled with various signed posters, Elphaba’s broom, tables made from old show leaflets, even two theatre seats. You name it, this cafe has it. It’s the perfect place to come in and take cool pictures, chill out and take in a slice of the West End/Broadway, all under one roof.

4) The staff. They are all super friendly and welcoming and that just makes your experience at the cafe that much better. Good staffing always makes a difference and I know that you all appreciate that.

5) The events/signings. Every so often the cafe hosts events, in which they get performers in from current/past shows to put on performances, Q&A’s, sign their new CD etc. This means that the likely hood of one of your favourite theatre stars being apart of one of these events, is probably quite high. Let’s be honest, we all would love to meet our stagey faves and this cafe gives you a good standing chance.

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There are SO many more reasons why you should go and visit. The list is endless. So do yourselves a favour and go and visit next time you’re in town.

If you do head down there, send us your pictures to @TheTheatreHub so we can see your stagey cafe experience.

Also don’t forget to follow @TheTheatreCafe on twitter to for all of the latest updates/event info. Hope you all have a “wicked” visit.

I feel like this subject has been brought to life a lot at the moment with various incidents happening during shows both on West End and Broadway. Therefore I thought I’d write a blog post about the things that really get on my nerves (and I’m sure most of you to) whilst at the Theatre.

 1) Mobile Phones – This is a subject that has been at the forefront of so many theatre stars recently. I honestly don’t understand why people pay money (usually quite a lot) to sit there and text/talk on their phones during a performance. It’s honestly so rude and disrespectful to the performers up on the stage and to be honest, it’s just annoying. Another thing is when an audience member doesn’t turn their phone on silent/off and it starts to ring (usually in a tense/dramatic part of the show) and just ruins the whole scene. The whole phone thing is happening so much recently and I know that it really is a pet peeve to so many. No wonder Patti LuPone took an audience members phone off them mid-show and took it backstage with her. Good on her I say. People never learn.
2) Sweet rustling – I know that we all love to take a range of sweets/confectionary to have during the show but please open them up before the performance starts. There is nothing worse than hearing people in the row behind you, searching through their bags and then attempt to open a bag of sweets whilst the show is on. It’s distracting for the performers and also just annoying for everyone that is trying to watch.

3) Talking – Theatre should be a time where you just sit back and enjoy what you see in front of you, not discussing what you had for dinner or what you’ve been up to. I honestly don’t understand why some people constantly talk through a performance. You really don’t have to give a running commentary to the person next to you. You’re both seeing the same show. Going to the Theatre isn’t cheap so why would you waste your money/time if you’re not even going to pay attention to the magic that is going on in front of you.

4)Late arrivers – This one speaks for itself. Please just arrive on time. I don’t want to have to get up from my seat half way through a song because I have to move to let you into the row. You know the time you have to be there, so stick to it. Theatre isn’t like a television show, you can’t just pause it so that it can start when you arrive.

5)Share the armrests – Sharing is caring and when it comes to being comfortable at the Theatre you need to respect the people around you. It’s always frustrating when the person next to you thinks that they can take up the whole of the armrests. Just a tip, it isn’t just for you and you need to make sure that both yourself and the person sitting next to you can both use it.

6)Not bothering to applaud/stand up – This one is for audience members that are to ignorant to give a standing ovation or applaud the cast at the end of the show. You might as well not even be in the audience. I honestly think that is one of the rudest things. Even if you haven’t enjoyed the show, the cast/crew etc have all worked incredibly hard so a tip for next time, DO IT ANYWAY.

Here’s some celebrity tweets/comments I’ve seen floating around recently in relation to the above…

Beverley Knight – Memphis The Musical (UK)
Savannah Green – Wicked the Musical (UK)
Lesli Margherita – Matilda (Broadway)
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton (Broadway)
HollywoodReporter.com – Laura Benanti

I honestly could go on and on about what Theatre Etiquette should be but to be honest, it should just speak for itself. I think some people forget that these performers put on a show 8 times a week for our pleasure, so the least we can do is show them some respect. When you next go to the Theatre, think about these pet peeves and take them into consideration so that everyone can have a pleasurable experience.

Following these simple rules can lead to happiness in the form of the above.