The Theatre Hub meets Jeany Sparks

TTH: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today! You had your press night on Tuesday (14th) for David Hare’s Olivier award-winning play Skylight at Theatre Clwyd, how were you feeling about the production officially opening? Also, do you find it fitting that this play opened on Valentine’s Day given the plot of the play? 

Jeany: I am totally delighted that this play is opening – it’s such a fantastic story; & it’s an amazing part to play. Rehearsals have been brilliant & I think we’re ready to put it in front of an audience now: the last & most important piece of the puzzle.

TTH: What has been the process in developing the character of Kyra, especially with Tamara Harvey (artistic director of the theatre) at the helm of the production? 

Jeany:  Working with Tamara has been such a pleasure: she is wise, kind, funny, & smart as a whip. We did some background work around the character: choosing music Kyra would’ve listened to; writing letters she would’ve written; finding pictures of her father & other people in her life: fleshing out & personalising the written character on the page. However, with this play the writing is so good & so thorough that we mainly just concentrated on what happens moment-to-moment in the story!

In real life I can sometimes be a bit “nice”, & so together Tamara & I worked to make Kyra more direct & brave: I hope I’ve done justice to Tamara’s vision of the character. It’s certainly been a very happy rehearsal room, & I’ve loved every minute working with her & the company.

 

TTH: Did you see the West End production with Carey Mulligan? Or did you go in being able to interpret the play without preconceived notions of the character?

Jeany: I didn’t see the West End production with Carey Mulligan, but I’ve lived with this play for a long time. I saw it first when I was about 16: the local AmDram society where I grew up put it on & I remember being totally blown away by the story, long before I knew I wanted to be an actress myself. Then when I was 21 & auditioning for drama schools I used a speech of Kyra’s as one of my audition pieces: so I suppose I’ve been tip-toeing around the borders of this part for almost 20 years…!! It’s certainly been percolating away in the old subconscious for a good long time.

TTH:  How has it been performing this three hander in the intimate space of Theatr Clwyd? 

Jeany: Well, it’s a 500-seat theatre, so it isn’t exactly an intimate space! Having said that, the theatre is extremely warm & welcoming, & I think holds our production wonderfully well in the palm of its hand. Our designer & our lighting & music teams have created this extraordinary, beautiful set – it looks fantastic in the theatre, & is a joy to play on.

TTH: For people who don’t know the play, how would you describe if? 

Jeany: It’s a play about falling in love with the wrong person & loving them anyway. It’s about falling over & getting back up again. It’s about finding out what makes your life worthwhile. It’s about being brave.

TTH: A lot of your previous credits have involved working in television, including starring in Wallander opposite Sir Kenneth Branagh, what an incredible experience to act alongside him. What was it like working with a man of his calibre? 

Jeany:  I never thought I would do much TV work, but it has been such a gift: it’s given me opportunities to work with some of my heroes, & travel to parts of the world I would never otherwise have seen: so I am deeply happy & grateful for it! Working with Ken is always such a privilege. He is one of a kind: his energy & focus are unlike anyone else’s I’ve seen. By setting an example of 24-carat-gold-professionalism he dares everyone who works with him to step up their game to his level, which is always when the exciting stuff happens! He is also a deeply kind, funny, lovely man: I feel more lucky than I can say to have worked with him.

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TTH: After doing both, do you prefer the stage or screen? What do you like about each of them?

Jeany: It’s like cake. Sometimes you want a black forest gateau with extra cream; sometimes you fancy a flapjack. Screen & stage are such different mediums; & the process of making a screen project is totally different to making a piece of theatre. Personally, I like variety (in other words I am a greedy pig who wants all the cakes), so I genuinely don’t have a preference! I like the community of theatre: there’s much more time to get to know your companions & make friends when you have 4 weeks of rehearsals to play with. But I also like the craftsmanship of screen work: the cast & crew are all up at 4am & then working like demons through til 7pm, fighting time & weather & any number of unexpected obstacles, moment-to-moment… there’s an exciting kind of madness in that!

TTH: What advice would you give to aspiring performers? 

Jeany: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Be on time. Be kind. Be brave. Don’t be an arsehole. Remember to send thank-you cards. Have adventures. Misbehave on your own time. Laugh a lot. And whether it’s going well or going badly, remember: no-one can be your kind of actor better than you can.

TTH: What does 2017 hold for you? Any projects you can give us a little hint about?

Jeany: After Skylight finishes I’m heading to London to start filming a fourth season of the sitcom Man Down for Channel 4. It’s surreal slapstick comedy stuff – lots of bum jokes & falling over – so it really couldn’t be a more different project from this one!

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Starlight plays at the Theatr Clwyd until March 4th https://www.theatrclwyd.com/en/

The Theatre Hub: Victoria Hamilton-Barritt

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is known for playing a catalogue of roles over the last fifteen years. From starring in Gypsy, Saturday Night Fever, A Chorus Line and most recently In The Heights to name just a few, she’s a vocal powerhouse who is about to take on a new and exciting role in Murder Ballad. Coming from a background of musicians it’s no wonder she chose to have a career within the creative industry herself. Having had her first child just six months ago, we talk about her past show experiences, getting back into work with Murder Ballad and advice for young creatives dreaming of having a career like hers.

TTH: It’s so lovely to be talking with you today. Looking through your previous theatre credits, you’ve had such a wonderful varied career over the past fifteen years. Let’s start by talking a little about “A Chorus Line”. The audience reaction to that show was incredible. How did it feel to be apart of that? Especially in a place like The Palladium.

VHB: Playing the Palladium was just like a dream come true. I think everyone who does Musical Theatre longs to perform in both the Palladium and The Dury Lane. That in itself was just wonderful. It really does give you that amazing feeling. A Chorus Line was a very emotional one because of the whole relevance of the piece itself, standing there being judged every night. First of all, when you open the show, you say “It’s my job, this is what we do” but actually two months in quite a few of us, especially those who had been working for quite a long time, found it emotionally draining and quite hard. At the end of the day, you sometimes couldn’t make out what was acting nervous and actually being nervous. In my case, my character Alex Owens was always the last to do something and there was always this big build up. Nerve wise, that would really overbuild it for me. I had never actually felt that way in a production before. It’s a piece that any Musical Theatre performer can relate to, so much that you either love it or you hate it. There’s a real fine line between the two. They warned us in rehearsal that it would be the case and they were so right (laughs). It was such an epic show and was wonderful to be apart of it.

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TTH: And the same with “In The Heights”. What was it like working with Drew McOnie and Luke Shepherd whilst channeling that inner hiphop latino?

VHB: I will say this over and over again, In The Heights was just the ultimate soul show. You do certain shows because you’ve been cast and it’s wonderful to be apart the production but then theres these pieces that come every so often and change your life. That was In The Heights for me. When I die and I have my happy memories, that’s the show I can say that I was so happy that I got to play that role. It has such an easy going message and wonderful music and everything. Drew is an absolute dream to work with and Luke is such an attentive director. He’s very understanding and really helps you find it for yourself. He encourages your creative licence in which he would leave me with something and then help with the bits that he liked/the bits that he didn’t like. With Daniela, she’s one of those roles that you can just have so much fun with.

TTH: Did you ever think “In The Heights” would run as long as it has? You started with it back at the Southwark Playhouse and then briefly played the role at the Kings Cross Theatre before having your adorable little girl. Congratulations!

VHB: I very nearly was going to come back. They kept the show open for me for when I was feeling ready to come back and I was like, “Yeah sure i’ll be back in a heartbeat” but the truth of the matter is when you see your little girl, she’s better than any gig and I just enjoyed being with her so much. The success of the show speaks for itself. It got wonderful reviews, it won Olivier’s, it’s definitely something that I’m so proud to be apart of, especially at the Southwark where it all started. It was such a great production there and that’s what brought it to Kings Cross. I always used to get so overwhelmed by the audiences reactions, constant standing ovations. I’ve never been apart of a show where that was the case and it was happening very night.

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TTH: Daniela is a fierce, independent, strong female role, will you be channelling some of those traits for your new show Murder Ballad?

VHB: Who knows? I’ve just had a child and I cant believe i’m about to step back into it. I’m currently reading the script, warming up before rehearsals to kind of understand it a bit better, I feel like I can enjoy this. It’s a very different role. With Daniela I got to enjoy being a moron for a couple of hours (laughs) but with this it’s a different vibe/energy. I’m really looking forward to it.

TTH: For those people who don’t know what Murder Ballad is all about, can you tell us a bit about the storyline?

VHB: Murder Ballad is a love triangle between Sarah, Tom and Michael. It’s all very passionate and quite tragic, not saying to much about what happens but someone has to die and that’s the opening song in which I’m the narrator. It then leaves the audience for the next ninety minutes wondering who that person may be. It’s this dark twisted tail of love, lust and betrayal which ends in a bloody hand. I’m excited that I get to be the storyteller of that.

TTH: You recently performed at West End Live, what is it like to work alongside Kerry (Ellis), Ramin (Karimloo) and Norman (Bowman)?

VHB: It’s so cool, just so cool. What an amazing bunch of people, I’m so excited. I’ve worked with Norman before we did a workshop together a couple of years ago so to work with him again is just so cool, he’s such a great actor but like Ramin and Kerry, this is going to be great. I’m so excited to get in the rehearsal room with them, to be with them and bounce of their energy with what we’re trying to do on stage. I’ve been wanting to work with these guys for so long so I jumped to the opportunity when I knew it was going to be this cast. I feel totally thrilled.

It’s also a show that is a four hander which I’m not used to doing. I usually  work with big productions of like thirty so that’s real nice in the sense that it’s going to be very intimate in rehearsals for a month. A month’s rehearsal with just four cast members is going to be pretty intense. I can imagine our Director Sam Yates is going to put us through it and I’m excited to work with him as he’s a new up and coming Director. He’s a wonderful guy.

TTH: and a perfect role to come back from after having your little girl!

VHB: I’m like “Oh wow, how have I got this”. It’s just been so much about her for the past nearly  six months and I feel maybe I’ve lost an element of myself. I really need to find myself again and step back into the rehearsal room after just cleaning up nappies etc. I need to get my act together and just remember that I’m here and I’m a living human being. I need to look after myself. It’s a good show to be going back into.

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TTH: Do you prefer performing in intimate settings such as the Arts Theatre?

VHB: I feel I’ve always got more out of being in intimate spaces. I love interacting with the audience. ITH really enabled me to do that. I have a feeling, this show will be good for that to. I’ve always preferred smaller houses and as an audience member I love to be that person in the first couple of rows because I’m one for expression. I love being there amongst the blood, sweat and tears and really seeing the heart of the show.

TTH: Have you ever considered writing your own music/making an album?

VHB: I used to be in a band until 2014 but I got kicked out. We were supposed to do all of these music festivals but I couldn’t really commit to what I said that I could. There was six of us in the band, we toured Ireland, did some gigs in London on the usual band circuit. I never wrote the album but I have written some music before although it’s not really my forte. I like to sing other people’s music. I’ve dabbled in it a little but I don’t think I have the right mind set for it.

Musically I’m not such a big writer in that area. I’ve written a few little comedy pieces before but nothing really to rave about.

TTH: Is there any roles that you’d still love to play?

VHB: I’m one of these actors who likes to be challenged to do things out of the ordinary. I always tend to play feisty female kind of vixen roles which is fantastic because I’ve had a lot of fun playing them. Playing Gypsy Rose Lee for me was wonderful. I loved that Paul Kerryson gave me that wonderful opportunity to explore that role.

There really is a whole load of roles I’d still love to do. I’d love to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret, I don’t think I’ve got over that one yet. It would be such a fun character and would be a great show to do. It’s still one of my favourites.

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TTH: And finally, How do you stay so motivated within the industry and do you have any advice for someone that wants to pursue career path as yours?

VHB: It’s a very tough industry at times but then it’s the best industry at times. I’ve loved and hated it in equal measure. When it’s good its absolutely fantastic but when it’s bad it’s just the worst. It’s very gruelling. You put yourself out there in the media to be criticised. I don’t read reviews unless my Mum sends them to be, she’s not going to send me a bad one, well I’d like to think that she wouldn’t. I don’t check what people write about me because I don’t really see it as important, I see this as my job, it’s not my lifeline. Going into advice, I think everyone that steps into this industry should treat it that way as well. It’s your job, it’s what you’ve trained to do but don’t make it so much so that it is your lifeline and it’s your everything. I feel like that can make it departmental to one’s health. I keep a healthy balance when it comes to that. I’ve been working for fifteen years and I probably started out very passionate when I was younger but the industry will teach you more than you’ll ever learn in college. Don’t worry all that much. It’s just one episode of your life. That’s how I treat everything that I do now.

Don’t give a s**t. Don’t care so much. Do what makes you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it! That’s been my biggest lesson. Listen to yourself, you know best. If you think something’s bad for you and you’re not feeling so happy with how you’re feeling, it’s really not that big of a deal.  Just chill!

You can catch Victoria in Murder Ballad at the Arts Theatre London from September 30th. Strictly limited run, tickets can be brought here: https://pursue.co.uk/whats-on/murder-ballad-/

Interview: Samantha Barks

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Samantha Barks has just embarked on her UK tour and we were luckily enough to catch up with her backstage ahead of her show at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley. We talk Les Mis, advice for young performers and what’s next for her.

TTH: Thank you for chatting with us today. Let’s start by taking it back a little, your debut album came out in 2007 and shortly after you moved from the Isle Of Man to London and became apart of the Andrew Lloyd Webber show, “I’d do anything” How was the whole experience for you at such a young age?

Samantha: It was amazing. You’re a little bit fearless when you’re younger. When I was 17 it was like you’ve got nothing to loose, you’ve never experienced anything like that so it’s like yeah why not. I think I’d probably be quite terrified to do anything like that now because you’re sort of aware of what can go wrong, it’s just scary and you have more to loose. I really enjoyed it. It was just so cool to sing in front of Andrew Lloyd Webber which was an amazing life experience. I never expected to even get past one round, let alone on TV and then make it to the final, that was weird but amazing. I had just moved over from the Isle Of Man so it was a huge life change.

TTH: You then landed the role of Sally Bowles in the UK tour of Cabaret shortly after the show finished, how did it feel to come out of the show and land a part in a touring cast?

Samantha: A dream part like Sally Bowles was just amazing. It was just so cool and so much fun. Our Director Rufus Norris was just so amazing to work with especially for my first job. I felt so lucky to work with him. He’s just a great director who will go off your instincts, he says “go on, do anything” and then he will shape/mould it which is something that he is so good at. You can have that free will to do what you want and then he can go “how about this, lets try that”. It was a very free experience. It made me think and taught me to rely on my own instincts.

TTH: You’ve already had an amazing career taking on a catalogue of different roles but let’s talk Les Mis. You first started as Éponine in the West End and then gained the role a few years later in the highly acclaimed movie, how did it feel to make that transition and how excited were you to be working alongside huge Hollywood actors such as Hugh Jackman?

Samantha: The transition was mad. When I got the call to come and audition for the film I just thought, it would be cool to sing in front of Tom Hooper but I never ever thought that i’d be recalled and recalled for 15 weeks, let alone ever get the part. There were so many amazing people going up for that part, it was very intimidating.

On my first day, all of the cast were there and it was so nerve wrecking. I was like “gosh, how about ease me in gently” but actually what was amazing about that was that they were all very nervous and I just didn’t expect them to be. You’re all absolutely kiss ass, why would you be nervous? but they all were. A lot of them hadn’t really sung all that much in public before but always loved doing musical theatre. It was actually great to see that. It was inspiring to people who care so passionately who have had the most amazing career but are still so passionate that they are anxious and panicky in the same way that I was.

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TTH: What was the filming process like? Is it more nerve wrecking than performing to a live audience?

Samantha: It’s so impossible to say. It’s so nerve wrecking but in a completely different way. Live on stage, if you fall over or mess up, thats it everyone has seen it but that’s also the thrill of live theatre. On film, especially with this as it’s such a huge film which I had never done before, it’s the same but you can have another go which is cool but you still have to stick to time. They’ve both got their challenges in very different ways

TTH: For someone who started at such a young age, do you have any advice for young performers aspiring to have the same career as you?

Samantha: For me, it’s all about taking every opportunity when you’re younger because this industry is all about making it happen for yourself. It’s about going out there like thats a cool opportunity, why don’t I do it? give it a go. Sometimes you want different things. I wanted to be a pop singer and then I fell in love with musical theatre but all of those different experiences along the way are fine, they’re all great in fact and add to what you eventually end up doing. Wether that’s playing the drums, singing in a choir etc. I had opera lessons for a bit and I’ve just done an opera film so you never know. Take every opportunity. It’s all just another string to your bow.

TTH: Let’s talk about your new self titled album, how exciting was it to get back into the studio and create new music of your own?

Samantha: It was so exciting. When I did my first album, it was for the Isle Of Man which was with an amazing guy called David Holland. With this one, to be on such a large scale, was a completely new experience. It was nice to be in the studio as you can really take your time and decide exactly what vocal choices you want to do. It can be so intimate, quiet and soft so you find different colours in your voice which you may not particularly use on the stage. It was a great process recording with Darren Hastings. It was such a chilled atmosphere which was lovely.

TTH: Do you have a life mantra that you live by? The industry can be so tough, how do you push though that?

My Dad used to say to me “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. I think that’s a really great thing because on one level it’s about hard work and putting in the work. When you do go for every opportunity, other opportunities open up and you go “Wow, I wouldn’t have never thought to do that” so that’s a mantra that always pops into my head.

TTH: Finally, you’re currently on tour but what’s next for you? Is there any roles that you still want to play on the West End or on Broadway?

Samantha: There’s always roles I’d love to play. At the moment, I’ve been focusing on film really since Les Mis, I got to do Amelie in San Fran which was so much fun but I always get that itch to do musical theatre again but I did get to do Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl which was great. When I get a little taste, I’m like “I want to do it, I want to get back into it” but with the music stuff at the moment, it’s my main focus and I’ve loved every second of it.

I did just finish a film in Prague which will be coming out but it’s all about balancing and being active. I want to do everything. I want to do more film, more theatre, singing etc, that’s my goal, just to balance between those now that I’ve had a taste of them all.
Check out Samantha’s current tour dates below and click the picture for information of how to buy your tickets.

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Interview: Jackie’s Nina Myskow

We spoke to former editor of Jackie magazine to discuss the new musical, her career and if she has any advice for budding journalists out there…

The Theatre Hub: You left University to pursue a career as a writer for the magazine, how was that experience for you and did you feel scared at the time to take the risk and leave?

Nina: I bailed out after a year of university to do just that. I’d always wanted to be a journalist. It was journalism I liked the idea of and working for a magazine. I was absolutely thrilled to start with Jackie.

The Theatre Hub: How did it feel to have the title of Editor Jackie? 

Nina: I worked on Jackie for 12 years 1966-1978 and was made Editor in 1974. I was delighted. For me it was a huge achievement looking back because in the history of the publishing magazine, there had been no female editors. At the time 95% of the magazines within the company were staffed by women but there had been no editors. So to do that was something that a girl appreciates. It felt like the glass ceiling had been cracked. I felt very honoured and very proud. 

The Theatre Hub: After working there you went on to have a fantastic journalistic career within publications such as The Sun, Sunday People, The Daily Mirror etc, you’ve also had a colourful career in broadcast within both TV and Radio, for young broadcast journalists striving for the same career, do you have any advice for them?

Nina: Be curious. Listen to what people say. Osborn everything around you. Read as much, look at as much, watch as much, talk as much as you possibly can so you know what you are.

Be inventive, be creative and have fun. 

The Theatre Hub: Back to Jackie, when they said to you, we want to make this musical, how did you feel and how much involvement do you have within it?

Nina: Well there was a first version of the musical about three years ago in Dundee and I was absolutely astounded. I’ve never heard of a musical about a magazine. To make a musical out of Jackie was amazing. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see that version but thought it was terrific so when I met the London producer in a very odd circumstance it was brought about kind of by Elton John. 

I met Elton within a year of starting at Jackie when he was in his twenties and we got on like a house on fire. By sheer coincidence, the morning that we met he had recorded a demo of a single called Nina. It was really out of the blue. We kept in touch throughout the years, he had a manger called John Reid and I bumped into him at a Radio 2 event in September a couple of years ago. I haven’t seen Elton or his husband in years and he said “oh we must have tea, I’m living at the Dorchester at the moment” and I did. We caught up on old times and then a week later the phone rang and he said here’s someone I think you should talk to. His name was Douglas ENTER SIRNAME, the London producer of Jackie The Musical, so he kind of played computer dating with us if you like. He said I’d love to have you involved, if you don’t know about magazines who does?. It’s been fantastic to watch it come together. I’ve loved being apart of it. I’ve done a lot with my career with print and broadcast and now decades later, it’s now theatre. To be able to go to rehearsals and then watch Arleene Phillips choreograph with all of the dancers, it was just bliss. To see it coming together. They made me editor and chief which doesn’t usually exists in the theatre. I’m a kind of consultant mascot mentor and it’s such great fun.

We hopped on the A Train and caught up with Mr Joe Aaron Reid!

Over the weekend, we paid a visit to In The Height’s London cast member Joe Aaron Reid’s house to discuss living in London, playing Benny and what the future holds. For those of you who don’t know, Joe is an American actor who has credits both on Broadway and West End. Crossing the pond just over a year ago after finishing on Broadway starring alongside Idina Menzel, he’s a triple with a huge amount of passion that has a led him to have had the diverse career that he has. Check out our chat with him below…

You can buy tickets to see Joe as Benny at the Kings Cross Theatre here
http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/in-the-heights/kings-cross-theatre/

Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Loads of fun interviews in the pipe line which you WON’T want to miss!

Kerry answers your burning questions!

We asked you to send us in some questions to ask the wonderful Kerry Ellis during our recent interview. We chose the best three and asked the lady herself…

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 08.41.17Kerry: I get asked this question a lot and it’s a tricky one. To be honest I just think people just need to love it and be passionate about it because it’s a really tricky business. It can be quite painful at times but it can also be brilliant. It can be the best job in the world but you can also be out of work a lot. So you have to have that passion and really love it to have a career in this industry.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 08.43.20Kerry: The hardest part for me was being so young and notknowing who you are and what you want out of your career/life. I went to college at 16 and looking back it just seems so young. It’s almost like an extension of school. For me, if I went to college later, I would have used the college better and applied myself more. When you’re so young, you still feel like it’s school

A college/training is a real privilege and you should really use it so make yourself the best you can be.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 08.44.08Kerry: That’s a good question. There is a lot of people actually. I’ve actually recently been talking about something to do with Ava Cassidy, her music was fabulous and I think her story would be quite interesting. I’ve never played Evita yet. Marilyn Monroe. There really is so many people.  I’d like to do something with real depth that’s really meaty to get my teeth into.

The Theatre Hub catches up with Kerry Ellis

Last week, we caught up with the uber talented Kerry Ellis to discuss Wicked, working with Rock Legend Brian May and her upcoming new show “Murder Ballad”.
Check out what she had to say below.

The Theatre Hub: Was being a performer something that you always aspired to be or did you want to be something different when you were younger?

Kerry: I think it was something that I always wanted to do, it’s in my blood, it’s a clique thing to say but it really was. I didn’t want to do or be anything else. It was never a question.

The Theatre Hub: Your passion and drive has certainly led you to star in some incredible musicals over the years, did you ever have a dream role in mind that you wanted to play?

Kerry: No, not really but you’ve definitely hit the nail on the head, it’s all about passion and drive. You have to have that in this industry as its so tough at times. It’s all about sustaining a career and for that purpose you have to be passionate and love what you do. I love the diversity that this job brings and being able to do a variety of different things such as make albums, musicals, tour etc, it’s a lot more than I expected. My world’s been opened up and I do all sorts. I really love that.

The Theatre Hub: It must be quite scary to bring out your own music and share that with your audience?

Kerry: Absolutely. Your baring your soul and giving the audience a little bit of you. When it’s a show, it’s somebody else’s responsibility but when it’s your own stuff its just a different kind of pressure.

The Theatre Hub: Let’s talk about Wicked, you started on the West End back in 2008, taking over from Idina Menzel, did you feel a lot of pressure at the time to take over from the original or were you just ready to put your own spin on it?

Kerry: It feels like such a long time ago now. So much has happened to me since then. I didn’t feel a pressure to take over, I was just thrilled to be doing the role and to be the first British Elphaba. I had an amazing amount of support here with fans, producers, the company, there was so much support, it was almost as if I was doing a new show that’s how I treated it. Idina had done the show before, she was a huge star coming over to play that role which was fantastic and I was just grateful to see her work, to watch her open the show and to just be apart of it.

The Theatre Hub: You did get to cross the pond and play the role at the world famous Gershwin Theatre, how did you feel when they were like “Oh Kerry, Broadway wants you”?

Kerry: I guess that was a little more pressure than being in the UK, mainly because I’m from here and have done many shows here and people know me, to go over to Broadway you kind of have to go and prove yourself. You have to be there because people want you to be there so that was a little bit more pressure and there was high expectation. A lot of people expected great things from me and I felt that. Having said that, I also felt the excitement and the support out there to. There was a real buzz and I was very grateful to go and have that opportunity. I always dreamt of going to Broadway since I was a child so to live that out was fantastic.

The Theatre Hub: How did the audience’s differ between here and the states?

Kerry: With a show like Wicked, it’s such an interactive show, the audience is so involved in it, everyone responds so well so it didn’t seem that different. Maybe in another show it may feel different but I’ve only had that one experience.

The Theatre Hub: You also starred in We Will Rock You, where you met Brian May. The two of you have worked very closely together for years with music projects, charity work etc how has it been to work with him? Have you learnt a lot?

Kerry: He has always been a bit of a mentor really. I’ve almost had these sort of parraell careers, I’ve worked with Brian throughout my musical career, he kind of opened my eyes to so much, especially when being in the studio together. He taught me how to put an album together and I was allowed to be apart of the whole process which was amazing really because he is a veteran to that kind of thing. He knows how to do it all so to be involved in all of that process, was amazing!

We’ve now done so much together, albums and touring etc it’s completely different. It’s almost like we’ve been in a band together through all of these years. What’s been nice is that it’s developed. We find different avenues with what we do now and who we are. We obviously go off and do our own things but then we come together and use all of those experiences. The simplicity of it is great, it’s just the vocal and guitar, the things we love most. That’s why it works.

The Theatre Hub: In September, you’re premiering the off-broadway show “Murder Ballad” at the Art’s theatre. It’s a rock musical and has never been performed here before. Can you tell us a little bit about the show?

Kerry: It’s a four hander with a very small on stage band. It’s an intimate show which is set in a bar in New York. It’s a bit of a love quartette driven through love and emotions and how you react to certain events. Essentially, it’s a love story. I can’t really tell you much about the murder because that would be giving it all away. It’s quite short with one act only therefore it’s quite intense. It’s a new experience for me and I’m really excited about it. It’s a limited run so hopefully people will come, sell it out and just ram the place.

The Theatre Hub: Do you prefer the smaller venue setting or can it be intimating?

Kerry: I’ve done smaller shows of my own but I haven’t done a musical that close. You’re used to being closed to people because even in big shows the front row is close to the stage but it is an intimate environment. I’m excited for it because I feel that it will be quite special. It will feel like we’re in somebodies living room, it will feel like they’re in the story which will be a great new experience and something that I am really excited to do.

We hope you enjoyed the interview and it was really lovely to get to speak to Kerry. The Theatre Hub did get loads of tweets with fan questions from you guys in which we selected three to ask the leading lady herself. Click here to read part 2.

Don’t forget to buy tickets for “Murder Ballad” before they sell out. It really isn’t one to be missed! https://artstheatrewestend.co.uk/whats-on/murder-ballad-/ 

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