Posts with the label Danielle Steers
Showing posts with label Danielle Steers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Danielle Steers. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Carrie Hope Fletcher, Danielle Steers & Laura Pitt-Pulford to star in The Witches of Eastwick in Concert


Producer Jack Maple, by arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, is delighted to announce that West End stars Carrie Hope Fletcher, Danielle Steers and Laura Pitt-Pulford will star as Sukie, Alexandra and Jane respectively in a special one-off concert of THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK at the Sondheim Theatre on Monday 20 June 2022, directed by Olivier Award-winning Maria Friedman. They join the previously announced Olivier Award-winning actor Giles Terera as Darryl Van Horne.
 
THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK has a book and lyrics by John Dempsey and music by Dana P. Rowe, based on the novel by John Updike and the Warner Brothers motion picture. This will be the first time the musical has been seen in London since it originally played at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2000, transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2001.
 
Further casting is to be announced.
 
Carrie Hope Fletcher is currently starring as Cinderella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella until 12 June 2022. She has played both Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables at the Queen’s/Sondheim Theatre and Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End and the Opera House in Dubai. In the UK, she originated the roles of Wednesday Addams in the UK tour of The Addams Family and Veronica Sawyer in Heathers at the Theatre Royal Haymarket which transferred from The Other Palace. Her other credits include Beth in the arena tour of The War of the Worlds, Emily in A Christmas Carol and Brenda Payne in The Christmasaurus Live at the Eventim Apollo. Carrie is also a Sunday Times Best Selling author.
 
Danielle Steers is currently starring as Cher in the UK and Ireland tour of The Cher Show. Her previous credits include Catherine Parr in Six The Musical (London), Zahara in the original cast of Bat out of Hell: The Musical (Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum, Ed Mirvish Theatre Toronto, Dominion Theatre, New York City Centre), Carmen in Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Lead Shirelle in the original London cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre), swing and cover Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi Theatre) and cover Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (International Arena Tour). Her debut album, The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, was released in 2021.
 
Laura Pitt-Pulford’s theatre credits include Louise in Gypsy in concert (Alexandra Palace), Marlene Dietrich in Piaf (Nottingham Playhouse/Leeds Playhouse), Falsettos (The Other Palace), Little Miss Sunshine (Arcola Theatre), Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity (Pimlico Opera), Flowers for Mrs Harris (Chichester Festival Theatre & Sheffield Crucible), Nancy in Oliver (Curve), Milly Bradon in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), for which she received an Olivier Award nomination, and Maria in The Sound of Music (Curve).
 
The Witches of Eastwick tells the tale of the people of the little town of Eastwick. It is a town where everyone knows everything about everyone else, and it is presided over by the indomitable Felicia Gabriel. Bored with their small town lives, three women - Alexandra (Alex), Sukie, and Jane--share a desire for “all manner of man in one man” to provide excitement and variety. That man arrives, literally in a flash, in the devil-like form of Darryl Van Horne. Darryl seduces the women and teaches them powers, which they never knew they had. 
 
THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK has musical staging by Chrissie Cartwright, lighting design by Simon Sherriff, sound design by Adam Fisher and associate direction by Jack McCann.
 

Carrie Hope Fletcher, Danielle Steers & Laura Pitt-Pulford to star in The Witches of Eastwick in Concert

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Thursday, 21 April 2022

The Cher Show (Tour), Leicester Curve | Review


The Cher Show (Tour)
Leicester Curve
Reviewed on Friday 15th April 2022 by Hope Priddle
★★★★★

After a brief run on Broadway, the beat goes on for The Cher Show as a new reimagined version, directed by Arlene Phillips, opened at the Leicester Curve this week. Spanning an astounding six decades and featuring iconic hits such as Believe and Strong Enough, The Cher Show charts the early life of Cherilyn Sarkissian and her spectacular rise to fame. In this uplifting girl-powered production, join Cher as she fights to take charge of her career in a man’s world, leaving a legacy as a trailblazing feminist icon.

This is not an ordinary jukebox bio-musical – there is not just one Cher, but three; Baby, Lady and Star. Though the book (Rick Elice) relies heavily on exposition and is not always successful in divorcing itself entirely from a tired format, it is sharp and quick-witted. By introducing us to three protagonists who interrupt each other with sassy asides and sage advice, an otherwise linear narrative suddenly feels reactive and full of endless possibilities. The Chers reclaim, retell and revise their own story.

The cast is led by a powerhouse trio of women in the role of Cher. Millie O’Connell (Baby) Danielle Steers (Lady) and Debbie Kurup (Star) give natural and nuanced performances as the legendary diva. Cher has become so mythologised into the annals of pop history, it is easy to forget she is a real person. Not once however do our leading ladies stray into the territory of camp or hammy caricature.

As the eldest Cher, Debbie Kurup grounds the trio with her wisdom and worldliness. Kurup’s vocals are truly outstanding, but it is in her ability to reveal the vulnerability, resilience and tenderness behind the icon, that her true power lies. Danielle Steers plays Lady, tasked with negotiating Cher’s fraught personal and professional relationship with husband Sonny Bono. Steers is infamous for her rich contralto vocals and as such, unapologetically devours the score. Steers’ commanding rendition of Bang Bang is a total showstopper, proving that Cher was a role she was born to play. Millie O’Connell is a delight as lovestruck dreamer Baby and is a comedic genius to boot – her repartee with Lucas Rush (Sonny) during The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour is a complete joy to watch.


It would be easy to assume that Baby and Lady take a secondary role to Star, that they perhaps function as her warm-up act. However, they shine brightly on their own. Baby and Lady are no less accomplished, no less complete than Star. What is so wonderful about The Cher Show is that although their shared story is a linear one, the Chers exist in parallel timelines, supporting rather than replacing one another along their journey.

Lucas Rush gives a tremendous performance as Cher’s first husband and lifelong artistic partner, Sonny Bono. Not only does Rush masterfully imitate Sonny’s nasally vocal inflections, they skilfully embrace his smarmy unlikability and genuine charisma. Though Sonny exhibits exploitative and explosive behaviour at the height of their career, he remains an enduring confidante and champion. We are also introduced to a host of influential characters – Cher’s Mother (Tori Scott), Bob Mackie (Jake Mitchell), and her subsequent husbands Gregg Allman (Sam Ferriday) and Robert Camilleti (Ferriday) - all of whom are treated with affection and goodwill. The ensemble are strong and deliver Oti Mabuse’s dynamic choreography with pizazz.

Tom Roger’s set design is simple yet highly effective, transporting the audience backstage by flanking the wings with monochrome rails and wig-laden shelves. The costumes retain all the glamour of Bob Mackie’s original wardrobe, but his departure from the creative team has clearly allowed designer Gabriella Slade the freedom to take a more inspired approach. Slade’s gladiatorial designs fully embody the fierce spirit of Cher and transform our leading ladies into goddess warrior queens.

The Cher Show is a universally uplifting story of a woman’s fight for independence in an industry driven by men. While it unashamedly embraces all the flair and flamboyance that fans will most certainly expect, as a respectful homage to a much-loved icon, it retains real heart. If I could turn back time, I would watch it all over again.

photo credit: Pamela Raith

The Cher Show (Tour), Leicester Curve | Review

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Friday, 25 February 2022

Millie O’Connell, Danielle Steers and Debbie Kurup to Play Cher in The Cher Show

“All of us invent ourselves.

Some of us just have more imagination than others.”CHER

The producers of the brand new production of The Cher Show are delighted to announce that the role of Cher will be played by Debbie KurupDanielle Steers and Millie O’Connell. The production features the actresses portraying Cher in three different ways throughout her iconic career, with Debbie as ‘Star’, Danielle as ‘Lady’ and Millie as ‘Babe’.  Further casting is to be announced.

 

With book by Tony and Olivier Award-winning Rick Elice (Jersey BoysThe Addams FamilyPeter and the Starcatcher), direction by Arlene Phillips (Saturday Night FeverStarlight ExpressGrease), choreography by Oti Mabuse (two-time Strictly Come Dancing champion) and costume design by Gabriella Slade (SixIn The HeightsSpice World 2019 Tour), the UK & Ireland Tour will open at Leicester’s Curve on 15 April 2022 and will continue through to 1 April 2023.

 

Debbie Kurup’s theatre credits include Bonnie & Clyde (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Queen Tuya in The Prince of Egypt (Dominion), Blues in the Night (Kiln), Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Mrs Neilsen in Girl From The North Country (Old Vic/ Noël Coward), The Threepenny Opera (NT), Anything Goes (Sheffield Crucible/UK Tour), Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi - Olivier Award nomination for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Cambridge/Adelphi), Sister Act (London Palladium), East (Leicester Curve), West Side Story (Prince of Wales), Tonight’s The Night (Victoria Palace), Rent (Prince of Wales/UK Tour), Fame (UK Tour), Guys And Dolls (Sheffield Crucible), Pal Joey (Chichester) and Boogie Nights (Savoy).

 

Danielle Steers’s theatre credits include The Empress in Aladdin (Theatre Royal, Plymouth),  Catherine Parr in Six The Musical (London), Zahara in the original cast of Bat out of Hell: The Musical (Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum, Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto, Dominion Theatre, New York City Centre), Carmen in Sweet Charity (Donmar Warehouse), Lead Shirelle in the original London cast of Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre), swing and cover Nikki Marron in The Bodyguard (Adelphi Theatre) and cover Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (International Arena Tour). Her debut album, The Future Ain't What It Used To Be, was released in 2021.

 

Millie O’Connell’s theatre credits include Maureen in Rent (Hope Mill Theatre - WOS Award Nomination), Jeanie in Hair (Turbine Theatre), Chloe Valentine in Be More Chill (Shaftesbury Theatre and The Other Palace), Anne Boleyn in SIXThe Musical (UK Tour and Arts Theatre, London - Olivier Award nominated), Ensemble/cover Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie (UK Tour), Ensemble/Understudy Annie in 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Ensemble/Understudy Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street (Theatre Du Chatelet).

 

From a young child with big dreams, the shy daughter of an Armenian American truck driver, to the dizzying heights of global stardom, The Cher Show tells the incredible story of Cher’s meteoric rise to fame.  Cher takes the audience by the hand and introduces them to the influential people in her life, from her mother and Sonny Bono, to fashion designer and costumier Bob Mackie.  It shows how she battled the men who underestimated her, fought the conventions and, above all, was a trailblazer for independence.  

 

The musical is packed with 35 of her biggest hits, including ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, ‘I Got You Babe’, ‘Strong Enough’, ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ and ‘Believe’.  

 

With over 100 million record sales, an Academy Award®, an Emmy®, a Grammy®, three Golden Globes® and an award from The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Cher has influenced popular culture more than most.  Her on-screen career started in 1971 with her weekly television show that attracted 30 million viewers a week, and went on to include starring roles in iconic films from Moonstruck, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress, to Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, which prompted the New York Magazine to realise “every single movie—no matter how flawless—would be infinitely better if it included Cher.”  Her ‘Farewell Tour’ became the highest grossing music tour in history – in true Cher fashion, she followed up her ‘Farewell Tour’ with two further sell-out, worldwide arena tours.  She is the only artist in history to have a number one hit in the Billboard chart for six consecutive decades; an achievement that caused Vogue to deem her “eternally relevant and the ruler of outré reinvention”.  She became known as the Queen of Reinvention. 

 

In the 1990s, she established The Cher Charitable Foundation to support causes around the world.  She has been a long-time donor and supporter of Habitat for Humanity, The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Keep A Child Alive, an organisation that helps to combat the AIDs epidemic.  Most recently, she co-founded Free the Wild to help rescue Kaavan the Asian elephant from Islamabad zoo.

 

Written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice, The Cher Show made its debut on Broadway in 2018 in a production that earned two Tony Awards and delighted fans from around the world.  This new production will be the European premiere.

 

The Cher Show UK & Ireland Tour will have set design by Tom Rogers, musical supervision by Rich Morris, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Dan Samson, music production by Gary Hickeson, wigs, hair and make-up design by Sam Cox, associate direction by James Cousins, associate choreography by James Bennett and casting by Will Burton CDG.

 

The Cher Show UK & Ireland Tour is produced by ROYO with Fiery Angel, Cuffe & Taylor/LIVE NATION and Playing Field in association with Tilted, Aria Entertainment and JONES Theatrical Group.

 

Website: www.cheronstage.com

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: @TheCherShowUK


photo credit: Matt Crockett


Millie O’Connell, Danielle Steers and Debbie Kurup to Play Cher in The Cher Show

Friday, 25 February 2022

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Spice World drive-in concert to feature Lucie Jones, Aimie Atkinson, Bronté Barbé, Danielle Steers and Zizi Strallen


Five West End stars will come together to perform a live concert of Spice Girls hits before a drive-in cinema screening of Spice World.

Presented at the Troubadour Meridian Water, the drive-in experience will start at 9pm on Saturday 1 August, with doors opening at 8.15pm.

Put together by producer Paul Taylor-Mills, the concert will feature Aimie Atkinson (Six / Pretty Woman) as Ginger, Bronté Barbé (Shrek/Beautiful) as Baby, Lucie Jones (Waitress/Rent) as Sporty, Zizi Strallen (Mary Poppins/Strictly Ballroom) as Posh and Danielle Steers (Bat Out of Hell/Six) as Scary.

The performances are in a raised central location and relayed back to a giant cinema screen, giving everyone a great view wherever they park up.

Social distancing guidelines will be adhered to and updated in accordance with government guidelines for the performances, with cast, crew and audiences all observing protocols throughout the evening.

The concert has lighting by Andrew Exeter, sound by Dan Samson and choreography by Alexzandra Sarmiento.

Tickets are on sale now. There are ten free car tickets per showing for NHS and care workers, booked with the code NHSSTAFF. Valid ID must be presented at event.

Spice World drive-in concert to feature Lucie Jones, Aimie Atkinson, Bronté Barbé, Danielle Steers and Zizi Strallen

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Christina Bennington, Live at Zedel | Review


Christina Bennington (Concert) 
Crazy Coqs, Zedel 
Reviewed on Monday 7th January 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

The wounds are still fresh for Bat Out of Hell fans, who had to wave goodbye to their beloved show at the Dominion Theatre just two days ago; but the Bat love was still strong as Christina Bennington took to the stage in a one night only couple of concerts. As usual, the Zedel provided a cosy and relaxed backdrop for a night of pure vocal entertainment and we felt welcomed into the songbook of Christina's life and career.

After performing Jim Steinman's huge musical numbers for the last couple of years, it was enthralling and refreshing to hear Christina show off the other shades of her voice, with her lilting soprano contrasted wonderfully against her powerful belt and buoyant performance. Some stand out numbers included Green Finch and Linnet Bird, I'm With You and Salley Gardens which each showed a different aspect to the vast range Ms Bennington beholds. Act One closer, Raven was another highlight as Christina's voice soared over the audience and enchanted us all through the power of a beautiful song. 


Alongside sweet anecdotes we also heard from two guest performers: Danielle Steers and Dan Buckley. Good Girls Go To Heaven performed by Danielle and Christina was met with elation from the audience who were wrapped around the performers fingers, whilst, Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy illustrated the friendship between the duo and how their voices complement each other so well. Daniel played the Disney Princes in the pairs mini Disney mash-up and reminded us of just how much talent is on offer in the West End with his beautiful rendition of You Matter To Me from Waitress; it's lovely to see two friends really seeming to have fun on stage.

Superbly talented Musical Director Noam Galperin took charge of the nights musical proceedings, leading his outstanding band with musical fluidity and providing some unique and interesting arrangements of well known songs. 

It's interesting to see Christina outside of the rock musical format not only as a showcase of her versatile vocals but also her depth as a performer. Christina's comedic choices, especially during Stupid With Love from Mean Girls were highly entertaining. Equally her performance of Princess was immensely moving. The way Christina physically embodies a song is truly wonderful to see and it's clear why they say "the eyes are the key to the soul" as she conveys a single emotion or thought with a mere twitch of her eyes. 

Closing the show with Heaven Can Wait and All Coming Back to Me Now was a wonderful way of rounding off, what must have been a whirlwind few years for Christina, and felt like a fitting way to put Raven away for now, and open doors for new ventures.

If you want to witness a master of acting through song and a beautiful songbird, don't miss Christina Bennington's future performances as she is sure to shine and astound.

photo credit: Joseph Sinclair

Christina Bennington, Live at Zedel | Review

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Sunday, 8 July 2018

A Stagey Guide to Singing... Sharon Sexton, Danielle Steers, Christina Bennington | Bat Out of Hell | Stagey Sunday

Happy Stagey Sunday everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Pride yesterday and are enjoying the glorious weather. I'm actually on holiday in Corfu but that doesn't stop me from bringing you the newest instalment of this month's Stagey Guide to Singing! Bat Out of Hell month may be over but the Bat fun isn't over as this week we have stories, advice and information from the three leading ladies of the Steinman musical: Sharon Sexton, Christina Bennington and Danielle Steers...



What has your vocal journey been like?
Sharon Sexton (Sloane): I have been singing for as long as I can remember and was always told I had a "good voice" though no one in my family was a performer. I sang in school and my mum enrolled me in a youth music group when I was 5 and I lived for my weekly class. I learned all sorts of material and fell in love with musical theatre. I went to a couple of different local singing teachers and joined the school choir as a 1st soprano, though I always remember being jealous of the altos and wanting to learn their lines, because I thought their lines were more challenging and I found harmonies fascinating. 

There was nowhere in Ireland that taught the musical style I wanted to sing so I studied what video footage I could find of the greats like Bernadette Peters, Doris Day, Elaine Paige and Lea Salonga; studying their mouth shapes and imitating them. The same with Whitney and Mariah. I finessed all the riffs and set myself challenges in completing them. I ended up training classically in the Conservatory of Music in Dublin, which gave me a really solid foundation and understanding of my instrument, but all I wanted to do was sing contemporary musical theatre and belt. So I went through a host of singing teachers and robbed bits from everyone until I developed a technique that worked for me. 

My voice has definitely changed over time. I try and keep my top C soprano in check but like anything- when you don't use it that often, it gets rusty and I've accepted I shall probably now never be Christine in Phantom, I'm much more of a mezzo these days. 

Danielle Steers (Zahara): I've been singing for as long as I can remember. I went to an amateur dramatics group from around the age of 10 and still go back there now to help out and put on shows etc... My voice has definitely changed over the years. I couldn't belt until I went to college at 16 and only learnt how to twang and other techniques from my first few jobs. I have always had a low voice though, people always thought I was a lot older than my years due to the maturity of my voice. 

Christina Bennington (Raven): It’s been a long and exciting one. I began singing at school at the age of 7 and was in very high standard choirs for my entire school life at Methodist College Belfast. We rehearsed every day and it’s where I learnt the disciplines of sight singing, vocal maintenance and musicality. I took classical lessons and was convinced I wanted to be an opera singer until I fell in love with musical theatre. 

I started training in earnest at the Guildford School of Acting with Steven Luke Walker. Together we pushed my voice to extremes in every style so that I felt comfortable approaching anything. He’s a genuine wonder and I owe a lot of my jobs to his skill and teaching. I still see him when I have a new job or auditions because there’s always more to learn. 



What/who got you into music? 
Sharon: I can't ever say I remember my life without being completely obsessed with music. My dad had an amazing vinyl collection and I could sit for hours with headphones just getting lost in the music. 

Danielle: I actually have no idea, I didn't grow up in a particularly musical house. I just loved singing; it was how I expressed my emotions. I remember watching all the old MGM movies on TV and thinking how wonderful they were and wanting to be in them! 

Christina: My house was always filled with music and I still thank my Dad for a lot of my musical taste. He had carefully curated car CDs and amazing records he would play on his HiFi. My family are involved in amateur theatre in Northern Ireland so I got involved in pantomimes as a child. I’ve seen home videos of me imitating rockstars and opera singers from the age of two so I think it was always in me! 


Your voice is so smooth but strong at the same time. What are your tips for conveying the emotion of songs whilst maintaining power? 
Danielle: Why thank you, luckily the songs I sing in the show sit very well with an altos range, meaning I don't need to think too much about technique and I can just let rip with my emotions. 

I think power comes with emotion and even if you don't have the most powerful voice you can still make a song powerful by meaning every single word you sing and telling the story through the song. 


Bat Out Of Hell is a tough sing, during rehearsals how did you adapt to the vocal challenges it presents? 
Sharon: The tricky thing with Steinman's music is that it is so passionate and it reaches such great heights both musically and emotionally. The most difficult thing for me was finding a way to keep the passion and make the rock sound, but finding a technique to do it safely 8 shows a week, without losing that grit. I do a lot of belting and growling in the show, which I had to sing in to muscle memory and which I continuously have to keep in check. 

At the beginning of rehearsals the sing for Sloane seemed almost overwhelming, and I felt I was pushing myself to my limits, especially when we started moving keys up, but I was in rehearsals with Rob Fowler who is a vocal gymnast genius! And just when I felt I was getting to grips with my vocals, we would be working with the musical supervisor and Rob would ask "can I try something here?" and then sing and incredible riff and then go "Shazza could then sing that up a third no? or maybe you could octave that, or you could jump up and do a waaaaah there?" and I would clear my throat and go "uh uh, nope" and he said - "try it and if you can do it once, you'll find a way to do it 8 shows a week". I didn't know him very well at the time - but I was damned if I was going to be shown up! He pushed me to give so much vocally and believed in my ability to match him on stage, more than I ever did. All my numbers are duets with Rob so having that support and belief in a vocal partner on stage really gave me confidence to build the role vocally. And I think when you're on stage, yes technique is important but sometimes a lot of what comes out of your mouth, depends on the belief you have in your head. 


Do you have any personal/random techniques for maintaining vocal health? 
Christina: I’m afraid the secret for me isn’t very rock and roll! Sleep, hydration and avoiding too much stress and tension. Looking after myself is the best way to deliver a consistently strong 8-show week. It’s easy to be focused on that for a job that I love so much. My top tip is not to do a crazy vocal warm up. You don’t need to belt or push yourself there – it should be about activating the right things and setting up your voice for what the show requires – not a singing competition! 


Vocal health is obviously so important but do you have any coping techniques for the mental side of performing such as when you lose your voice or feel unmotivated? 
Danielle: I think a lot of the time when you "lose your voice" it can be a mental state. Sometimes if I know I have a big event coming up or new opening I "lose my voice" but it’s all in my head. You just have to trust that it will work, even maybe change your technique to get out certain notes. 

Steaming is a massive factor, drinking lots of water, I also like to keep my voice lubricated by having two Jakemans per show. When you feel unmotivated it's hard, especially with a show like Bat where you cannot give it any less that 100%! All I try to remember is why I'm doing what I'm doing, that people have paid good money to come see the show; the audiences reaction always helps us perform like it’s the first time every time. 


Steinman’s songs have some crazy belting so vowel modification must be important to make everything clear and safe to sing. Is that something you do naturally when learning music or do you change depending on the mood/style of the piece? 
Christina: Vowel modification is necessary to keep the sound safe and consistent the higher you sing. Steven has always taught me ways to make it subtle and to make the song work for my voice. It comes naturally now but it’s most useful if we have a week with lots of other vocal commitments outside the show. Technique is most useful when you’re tired. It enables you to modify safely and thin the sound down to help get back to full strength without compromising the sound of the show. 


Not only do you sing flawlessly in the show, but you’re also very humorous in the role, how do you bring that humour, comedic timing and lightness to your voice whilst still maintaining its power? 

Sharon: For me if I try and think "I have to be funny here" I will never make you laugh. I just commit 100% to the thought process of the character and believe in the truth of the moment. I find if you hunt for a laugh, you won't get it. So a lot of it is about storytelling and when I am in my head acting wise, the right noises just come out of my mouth... I hope... 


You dance as lot as well as singing in the show, what are your tips for doing both at once? 
Danielle: Gosh this is a hard one, this is something you go through every day at college. It's super hard especially if you're singing a different rhythm to what you're dancing, which happens a lot in Bat. The best thing to do is to sing along from the start of learning the choreography so you can get it into your head right from the go, then you can also work out where is best to breath. It's hard work! 


You’ve been doing the show for a while now so there must be a lot of muscle memory involved but are there any moments which are difficult or that you have to think about whilst performing? 

Sharon: My body is well oiled in the machine of the show now and my chords know what is expected of them, so yes it is actually getting easier to sing the role, the longer I play it, but on tired or ill days I do completely rely on my technique and have to step out of my character's head. ‘All Coming Back To Me’ can be tricky because of the blocking, I'm walking, in heels, on a raked stage, filled with track marks that like to eat my stiletto heels and it is highly emotional, so I have to play the feelings but I sometimes have to really concentrate on my breath and placement of that long "Now" note for 14 counts. I have to move the placement around to sustain it sometimes. There is no greater feeling that the days where my voice is on top form and I can just get lost in the emotion in that song. 

I also ironically find the last three lines of the show that I sing, really sneak up on me sometimes. It’s the very end of Anything For Love. Myself, Danielle (Zahara) and Christina (Raven) sing a little trio "I would do anything for love" to close the show and I have done a huge amount of belting and growling and crying and think it's all over and then go "oh gosh, this bit" and I have to take the high harmony in a very soft angelic voice which is very unlike any other part of the show for me, so I suddenly have to replace everything into my mix! 

Danielle: Sometimes you can go into auto pilot, it does happen, but I always have to be careful during "two out of three" it’s such an exposing song and everyone knows the words so I feel I really have to concentrate, also if you don't you end up not putting the emotion across. I also have to think about Tinks death scene, again, if you just go into auto pilot there’s no emotion there. ONE MORE.... DANCING DEAD RINGER IN THOSE HEELS!! Really have to concentrate in those haha! 

Christina: There’s definitely a degree of muscle memory but I’m never happy with what I’m doing. There’s always more to learn. I concentrate on different parts of the score for every week and explore making them bigger, stronger or smoothing transitions. The most difficult section for me is the ‘tuck jump chorus’ of For Crying Out Loud. Belting on almost one note as I jump with Andrew across the stage takes a lot of physical energy which needs to be balanced with not throwing too much breath at the sound. 


We know by now that I’m your breath control’s number one fan. Are there any particular exercises you do/have done to help with supporting? 
Christina: Haha thank you! You’re too kind. Breath control is an interesting one. I think a lot of people assume you need a big breath for a long phrase. As with a lot of singing, the rules aren’t one size fits all. In this style of music it’s often not the case. For a clear belt, I take a small high breath and support by resisting the breath in my rib cage. This can often lasts me many lines eg. the passage in Heaven Can Wait that I know you’re a fan of! 

For me, a lot of ‘breath control’ throughout the show is really about recovery breathing and fitness. I do as much interval sprinting and high intensity training as I can to ensure that I have the stamina for songs like ‘For Crying Out Loud’. If your body is strong and ready your voice will be too. 


Who would your dream duet partner be? 
Sharon: Male - I'm already singing with him 8 shows a week…. 

Female - Stevie Nicks 

Danielle: In terms of the show I’d have to say Rob Fowler, but in life Shirley Bassey 100% 

Christina: Andrew Polec of course! I’m beyond lucky to get to duet with him every night. Our voices fit well together. He is so resonant with so much weight in the sound which really gives me permission to use the full depth of mine. 

There are a lot of women I would love to duet with who I admire greatly. Hmmm. Amy Lee from Evanescence, Louise Dearman, Gina Beck, Laura Michelle Kelly, Rosalie Craig. I guess I’ve been inspired by all of them in different ways. Actually I did sing ‘At the Ballet’ in a concert with Louise so I suppose that’s sort of one already achieved!


What is your pre-show warm up like? 
Sharon: So important to me. I think it's important mentally and physically as when I start I can feel my brain sending all the signals to my voice going "ok, it’s that time of the day again" and it begins to anticipate what is expected of it. It's like starting the engine of a car before a long journey. I try not to use an awful lot of vocal energy during warm up. I keep it very light and subtle. A lot of closed mouth sirens, quiet humming, lip trills, slowly and focused so that I can just check in gently on every note. I'll also do a neck massage and loosen up my tongue muscles. I always do some amount of physical warm up but on days where my voice feels dry or tired I will really push myself with the dancers warm up, just to get my blood pumping in my muscles, which is so important to make my voice work. 

Danielle: We start with a physical warm up so I like to make sure my back and legs are super warm because of what is required of me, also the neck for head banging purposes! Then we do a vocal warm up which is super important as we sing loads! Then we do fight call which is so everyone can make sure their fights are all good and safe before the show. 

Christina: I love our full company physical with our dance captain Courtney. It gets my body woken up and prepped for the marathon that is Bat Out Of Hell. Then I take it easy in the company vocal. It depends what I need each day. 


What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring performers in terms of finding and maintaining your voice? 
Sharon: Know your limits. Accept them. 

Slowly and carefully continue to try work around them but remember your voice is unique, so embrace what you can do and let go of what you can't. 

If it hurts, stop. It should never be painful. 

Sometimes less is more - in terms of effort and support. A lot of people have the misconception that you must support and push and be tense on the big high belt notes when in fact the opposite can be so much more effective. 

Listen to your body when it's telling you that you need a rest. You only have one voice and if you are a performer - it is your life insurance, so never compromise it for anyone or anything or any production. It needs you to be smart to take care of it. When you need a show off, take it, because if you sing on a tired voice in a long run, it always, always catches up on you. Vocal massages are little gifts from heaven! Find a good therapist! 

Danielle: Always try new things, I didn't find my voice until I was about 18. Before then I had a very limited range and wouldn't have even dreamed of being able to sing the songs I can now. I still have a long way to go and I'm always trying to better my voice. It’s a case of playing around with different genres as well to see what fits well, rock, pop, jazz, musical theatre, legit? So much to choose from. Also.... don't smoke!!! 

Christina: I would say don’t compare your voice to anyone else. Yours is unique and wonderful! Absorb as much knowledge as you can and decide what works for you. Be disciplined in looking after your instrument and practise! 

Sending a massive thank you to Sharon, Christina and Danielle for giving us all their inside information of all things singing! Join us next Sunday for a tips from someone with All That Jazz

Bat Out of Hell is currently at the Dominion Theatre until 27th October 2018

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell


Photo credit: Specular, Christina Bennington, Danielle Steers

A Stagey Guide to Singing... Sharon Sexton, Danielle Steers, Christina Bennington | Bat Out of Hell | Stagey Sunday

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Sunday, 24 June 2018

In Conversation With... The Cast of Bat Out of Hell | Interview | Stagey Sunday


Welcome to the last week of Bat Out of Hell, Stagey Sunday! We're going out with a bang with TWO new posts. The first is an interview and look at some of the costumes with resident choreographer, Xena Gusthart which you can see here. This post is an interview with a selection of cast members with questions asked by you! Some answers are still coming in so you may just get a bonus Bat post later this week so keep an eye out!


What do you think makes the show appeal you both old and new fans of Jim Steinman/Meatloaf? 
Rob Copeland (BatFish): The beauty of Jim Steinman’s music is that it hits you on the first listen and then has you hooked. So whether you are new to the music, or an old fan, you are almost guaranteed to leave musically satisfied. His music is so diverse and rich that it’s verging on a rock opera, hence him regularly being dubbed the Wagner of rock. For those who love the albums, it’s the beauty of seeing these story heavy songs brought to life on stage that you have been picturing all these years and, let’s face it, we are incredibly lucky to get to do it on an totally epic scale of set and general production. We regularly get spontaneous applause in the middle of the song Bat Out Of Hell and we are only half way through! 

Rob Fowler (Falco): Our show appeals to all generations because there are misunderstood teenagers and dysfunctional marriages in all walks of life therefore I feel that the audiences of our show really identify with our characters. 

Wayne Robinson (Jagwire): The variety in talent, the cast bring so much diversity to the show and there's something for everyone who loves a live show. 

Sharon Sexton (Sloane): People have a huge connection with this music. Jim captures emotions musically like no one else I know. His songs are like rollercoasters that bring you on an epic journey. Just when you think a number is ending there is another twist and a new feeling. Also his lyrics are poetry and often deal with the idea of eternal youth and growing old and trying to hang on to what keeps us human. I think this type of storytelling brings older people back to their youth, giving them that taste of nostalgia and I think it equally appeals to young people who are just starting to get a sense of their own life. Wow. That’s deep. But that’s what makes his music special and makes this show appeal to so many generations. 


What’s your favourite song to sing and what’s your favourite song that you don’t sing? 
Danielle Steers (Zahara): Favourite song to sing aside from the obvious Two Out Of Three, my fave song is actually Rock and Roll Dreams! I get goosebumps every night singing that final chorus out front and seeing the audience, it’s such an incredible feeling! 

Favourite song I don’t sing, would have to be It’s All Coming Back To Me Now, I love the harmonies and sing along backstage all the time! It’s so powerful! 


Can you sum up having Giovanni as a partner every night in 5 words? 
Charlotte Anne Steen (Liebeswooosh): I’d sum Gio up as a dance partner/love interest in 5 words as... reliable, consistent, fun, passionate and caring. We have a lot of fun on stage and I’m very lucky to have him as my partner. 


You’ve recently opened an online store selling your art, do you have any other hidden talents? 
Danielle Steers: Hidden talents? Hmmm, I bake, I play the piano, I sew, I’m good at cleaning.... I’m the perfect housewife really! 


In Batchat you mentioned putting salt in Rob’s mouth on April Fools… can you expand on that story…? 
Sharon Sexton: Um, no. ;-) 

Basically there was a part in Who Needs the Young where I used to place my hand across Rob’s mouth when he sung a big note, and then I’d say my line before taking my hand away. Sometimes if he was feeling cheeky he’d lick my hand while it was there. So on April fools day, in the wings there happened to be some vaseline & some salt sachets ...and well - he got his commupance. But he gave as good as he got. I think in Paradise I ended up with a mouthful of chocolate... 


If you could change one thing about Falco, what would it be? 
Rob Fowler: If I could change one thing about Falco, it would be that the incident with Tink does not occur. 


How is your Jagwire similar/different to others? 
Wayne Robinson: I’ve never seen or heard the previous Jagwires so I can't comment on the finer details of similarity or difference. However we are similar when it comes to the book and score and completely different when it comes to costume who I thank John the designer for.  He's done such an awesome job. 


Do any of you have ideas about the backstory of your characters?
Rob Copeland: Well we sell a beer front of house that The Lost have made to fund their life style. My character (BatFish) is first seen in the on stage Dive Bar so I like the idea that he runs that operation. Essentially he is a party animal who brews his own beer and sells it to support The Lost. 

Rob Fowler: My ideas of the backstory for Falco is as simple as he was once part of The Lost and he had to grow up when his wife fell pregnant with their daughter Raven. 

Wayne Robinson: I'm quite similar to Jag in reality when it comes to his passions and even the way he conducts himself, I pretty much just play a younger version of myself each night, if I had any ideas to share it would be aspects and events from my own past but I won't share those yet. 

Sharon Sexton: I think Sloane has hardened in her ageing and with life. She’s lost a lot of her sparkle when we meet her. In my mind she was a wild free spirited feisty rebel, and we see glimpses of it. I see her having a very tested relationship with her parents, particularly her father which is why seeing Falco and Raven struggle upsets her so much. And is what eventually brings her back home. 


What’s the average number of costume changes per person? 
Rob Copeland: I have seven costume changes in the show, and actually appear in one song twice as two different characters... (I will let the shows super fans work out which one that is), so actually it’s not too bad a show for costume changes for me. I know my mates doing Les Mis round the corner from us have a lot more than that in act 1 alone, so I can’t complain really! Plus we have an amazing team of dressers, wardrobe and wigs who make it all painless and easy. We would be lost without them (no pun intended). 

Rob Fowler: I’m confident in saying I probably have the most challenging costume changes during the show. In total 12. 

Sharon Sexton: Oh gosh no idea. For me 9. 


The show is constantly evolving, how often do you have rehearsals for changes? 
Rob Fowler: Normally changes with the new show will be rehearsed before the opening and during the previews. 

Sharon Sexton: The show has kind of settled now. Usually we don’t ever change anything for the sake of change. Something has to be not working for a long time and discussed and edited and tested before we will even attempt to put anything different in so I think we won’t see any changes for a while. Though we are constantly in rehearsing covers, promos and events. 

Wayne Robinson: There's always some tweaking going on every so often. 


What’s your favourite costume you wear? 
Sharon Sexton: Pencil skirt and red silk blouse and belt. In it she feels strong but still womanly and I adore those power shoes. 


What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you on stage? 
Charlotte Anne Steen: I got hit straight in the stomach by the dolls head that Rob Fowler bats across the stage in Land of the Pig- I turned around and saw everyone trying not to laugh at me as I was lying there pretending to be injured! 


What’s the hardest part of the show for you? 
Sharon Sexton: Vocals. Particularly, All Coming Back to Me Now. Myself and Christina Bennington had to find a key to suit us both that meant the song wasn’t too low for her but not too high for me, so it’s in a key that tests both of us and it’s now higher than the original key - so it’s right at the top of my belt and an extremely long note which myself and rob has to work very hard to sustain matching time, breath, support and emotion. 


If you could swap costumes with anyone, who would you choose? 
Charlotte Anne Steen: I’d swap costumes with Mordema played by Emily Benjamin, I like the silver futuristic look of her costume. 


What’s your funniest stage door experience been? 
Rob Copeland: Well… there are two cast members called Rob... myself and the wonderful actor who plays Falco, Rob Fowler. I understudy Rob and we have similar facial hair/colour etc so I can see why this happened…A few weeks ago I left stage door, turned right immediately and walked briskly as usual to get home (I have a one year old daughter who has me up early so tend to try to get home as quickly as possible after the show ends). 

A woman chased after me shouting: “Rob! Rob! Please will you sign my programme, I have seen the show lots of times now and I never manage to grab you and I think you are brilliant!” 

I blush with a smile agreeing to sign her programme whilst pretending not to love that someone has finally clocked how ruddy brilliant I am as BatFish! It’s a miracle (considering I have no solo lines in the show..) 

She opens it up and points towards Rob Fowler’s photo in the programme. 

I then awkwardly have to explain that my name is Rob but I am not THAT Rob and she then very half-heartedly asked me to sign my biog clearly to make me feel less bad about myself...even though she wasn’t that bothered and was looking over her shoulder for the real Rob Fowler throughout... Excellent! Haha. 

Rob Fowler: Coolest experience at the stage door all the fans singing happy birthday to me! 

Sharon Sexton: Um probably when I’m not recognised at all and I offer to take photos of the others 


What are some of the good and bad traits of your character? 
Rob Fowler: Good and bad traits of my character, would be on one side he’s overprotective and on the other side everything he does is due to the amount of love he has for his family. 

Wayne Robinson: Jag has no bad traits he's pure love 

Sharon Sexton: Good- She has a heart of gold underneath the frosty. She sees the good in everyone. She doesn’t hold a grudge. And she’s a peacemaker. 

Bad - she’s too soft sometimes. She is a little spoilt. She’s a bit vain and material things matter too much to her. 


How do you maintain your vocal health singing the intense Steinman music every night? 
Rob Copeland: Well we have a 15 minute vocal warm up every day which I make sure I do thoroughly and it’s other than that it’s just stamina that we have built up over time. When we first started rehearsals my voice was very tired every evening, but I have a pretty solid vocal technique now so have yet to experience any vocal problems. I also drink what feels like about 400 litres of water during every show and have cut down on alcohol intake as that can dry your voice out. I try and eat fairly well also. If you have a healthy diet it will only have a positive effect on your voice. We also have regular vocal sessions with our shows vocal coach Fiona McDougal and she really is excellent. 

Rob Fowler: To be able to sing Jim Steinman songs in the original key eight shows a week half of the challenge is being born with the ability, the second half of the challenge is taking care, this being as cliche and boring as it comes, steam, drink water, sleep, eat healthy and exercise. The show may only last three hours but the work starts before we get to the theatre 

Wayne Robinson: Careful warm up and not talking just to be talking. 

Sharon Sexton: Warm up is key for me. I can tell everything when I warm up, exactly how I need to pace myself and what I need to do mouth shape wise to get through if I’m tired. Also I drink water and start getting ready at least two hours before the show. Tongue muscle massage and steam only when necessary. Other than its muscle memory. 


Can you sum up your fans in one word? 
Rob Copeland: I have never been in a show with such passionate fans. It’s really amazing to see. There is something about this show that people really feel is personal to them, and I love being part of that. 

Rob Fowler: To sum up the fans in one word we have to be ... outstanding... but aren’t we all :-) 

Wayne Robinson: I'd say the fans are loyal 

Sharon Sexton: Inspiring 

A huge thank you to the cast, crew and everyone at Bat for being part of this episode and the whole series. I hope you've enjoyed Bat Out of Hell Stagey Sunday!

To finish with a bang, we have a giveaway for you to win 2 tickets to Bat Out of Hell* To enter, RT this tweet and send us your best Bat look whether it be a makeover, an Andrew Polec impression, your own Bat choreography... the more creative the better!

Bat Out of Hell is currently at the Dominion Theatre until 27th October 2018

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

Photo credit: Specular

*T&C’s:
1) This entitles the prize winner to two tickets to Bat Out of Hell the Musical at the Dominion Theatre.
2) Prize to be redeemed by Thursday 23rd August 2018.
3) Valid on Monday to Thursday performances only
4) Tickets are subject to availability.
5) No cash alternative.
6) Travel to and from the theatre and any additional expenses incurred are not included within this prize.

In Conversation With... The Cast of Bat Out of Hell | Interview | Stagey Sunday

Sunday, 24 June 2018