Showing posts sorted by relevance for query bat out of hell stagey sunday. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query bat out of hell stagey sunday. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Backstage at Bat Out of Hell the Musical | Stagey Sunday


Hello!

Happy Sunday and welcome to a new series on Rewrite This Story called Stagey Sunday (creative or what?) The premise of this series is that each month we focus on a certain show, with each Sunday of the month focussing on a specific aspect of the show, such as costumes, wigs, cast etc...

Our show of the month for June is the larger than life, electrifying, Bat Out of Hell which is currently playing at the Dominion Theatre until October 27th 2018. Each Sunday we will have a post and/or video dedicated to part of the show. What's this week? I hear you cry! This week we are taking you on an access all areas, backstage tour of the Dominion Theatre, hosted by Strat and Raven themselves: Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington!

This is the first of an exciting month, be sure to come back next Sunday for an interview with Andrew and Christina about life as West End leads. We will also have a chance to ask the cast your questions so if there's anything you want to know, be sure to leave a comment or tweet us @RewriteThisWeb

It's Bat you're here to see, so without further ado, here's the video:



A huge thank you to Holly for organising all of this, Andrew and Christina for filming with us, Sophia for being camera woman extraordinaire and all the lovely staff at the Dominion Theatre.

Join us next Sunday for the next Stagey Sunday at Bat Out of Hell the Musical

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

Sunday, 24 June 2018

In Conversation With... Xena Gusthart | Bat Out of Hell | Interview | Stagey Sunday


Welcome to the fourth and final week of Bat Out of Hell Stagey Sunday (boo!) To close up we have TWO new posts. 

Firstly we have this interview with Bat's resident choreographer, Xena Gusthart. Xena told us all about the choreography, the cast and even showed us some of the amazing costumes in the show! 

Our second post is an interview with a whole load of cast members  with questions by all the amazing Bat fans, so be sure to check that out here.


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!




*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.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Get West End Ready With... Emily Benjamin | Bat Out Of Hell | Stagey Sunday


Welcome back to Stagey Sunday! This week is very exciting as we get to see star of Bat Out of Hell, Emily Benjamin as she transforms into her character Mordema.

Mordema is a rugged member of The Lost, known for clawing her way around and just being generally cool and rugged. Emily talks us through her amazing makeup for the character and why she decided to make it the way it is.

We'll let the video speak for itself! If you fancy creating a Mordema look, be sure to tweet it to @RewriteThisWeb with the hashtag #StageySundayBOOH and you could win a special Bat prize!




All the products Emily uses:

Foundation
-Maybelline Eraser Eye
-NYX Total Control Drop Foundation

Powder
-Benefit 'Hello Flawless' Matte Powder
-Kryolan Setting Powder

Blusher
-Bourjois Paris Number 33
-HEMA Blush Stick (for Mordema's scar)

Bronzer
-NYX Matte Bronzer

Eyes
-MAC Passionate Eyeshadow
-MAC Carbon Eyeshadow
-NYX STFU Eyeshadow
-Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
-Bourjois Volume Reveal Mascara

Lipstick
-NYX Liquid Suede Matte 'Cherry Skies' (for The Lost symbol)
-NYX Liquid Suede Matte 'Alien'


See you next Sunday for an exclusive feature on the choreography and costumes in the show!

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

Post by Editor, Olivia Mitchell


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.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

In Conversation with... Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington | Bat Out of Hell | Interview | Stagey Sunday


Hi! Welcome back to Stagey Sunday, where we are focussing on Bat Out of Hell for the entire month of June. This week we have an exclusive interview with Andrew Polec and Christina Bennington about their lives whilst starring in Bat Out of Hell....


For anyone that hasn't seen the show, can you explain a little about the story line and how your characters fit into it?
Andrew: I play Strat, he is the leader of this Lost gang who are all 18 and never age. We're set in this post-apocalyptic world; the island of Manhattan, due to some cataclysmic event has broken off from the rest of the country and floated out to sea. On this island there's a dictator named Falco who Strat is rebelling against and doing his best to liberate the people of Obsidian, give them equality, make them all feel special and give them value in their lives. As he is rebelling against Falco and this violent revolution, he suddenly realises that Falco has a beautiful daughter who's name is Raven...

Christina: We find Raven on the eve of her 18th birthday. She has been watching Strat and the gang of The Lost for basically as long as she can remember. They have all the freedom and liberation that she's always wanted so she eventually manages to escape and meet Strat. From there it's all about love for the two.


Andrew, you were involved in the show from the workshop stage, so what was that like and how was it for you Christina, joining a little later. Did you both know how big the show would end up?
C: Absolutely not! I did I guess an average audition process, I say average in that I got the call from my agent and I went to various rounds, but that was probably where the average ended. There were lots of very interesting movement workshops that we did, I got paired with different people to read the Strat and Raven scenes. We also had stamina tests to see if we could sing the songs multiple days in a row. So I would come in and sing All Coming Back to Me Now, four of five times getting higher and higher and higher, and then come back the next day and do it all again to see if I could sustain it. I thought it was a fantastic challenge- great fun! 

I don't think I ever thought it would be this big and I don't think I ever thought that it would be such a wonderful experience for me, personally and professionally, to grow in the way I perform. It's been really wonderful. It was great also, working with Andrew because he already had the job so wasn't part of the audition process. It was really interesting reading against all the potential alternate Strats but never reading with the actual Strat so it's serendipity that it's all worked out so well.


Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A: I have two posters in my dressing room where I've put all the rock and roll idols that I think inspire the show; there's Jim Morrison, there's Chuck Barry, there's Jimi Hendrix, Meatloaf, Jim Steinman and Iggy Pop. I basically ask that they come and help us on this journey because the show takes a lot of energy, you've got a lot of bodies up there that are burning 10,000 calories a minute!

C: My pre-show ritual is also  really rock and roll... I listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks everyday, every single day. From after warm up until just before the half to kind of calm my brain down. Cause it's something I'm so familiar with it kind of clears my head of everything that's an outside influence. Then once it hits the quarter I play different music everyday that I think Raven would listen to, so then it does become slightly more rock and roll! So from me to Raven really


Have you had any onstage mishaps?
C: Oh yeah! 
A: Tonnes!
C: One the other day was really good. Andrew fell off the tower when he jumped down...
A: Cool, lets just talk about the one where I hurt myself!
C: No but it's brilliant because in this show a mishap often becomes something incredible because Jay (Scheib) has encouraged us to be really free and flexible. In rehearsals he often asked up to include falls on purpose to force ourselves to be really in the moment. If you see the show, you'll notice that I fall over on-purpose-accidentally a lot... it's a real trope for Raven.

A: I think probably the biggest mishap was our first preview ever in Manchester. I had it in my mind that I would run down to the bottom of the stage and bring Christina along with me and I just slipped and we just started flying towards the end of the stage. In Manchester there was just an 8 metre drop  and I knew that if we fell we'd probably not have legs like we have now! Fortunately, Christina grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and kept me from falling.

C: So fans of Andrew Polec, you're welcome!


Bat Out of Hell is so full on, how do you relax and calm down after a show?
C: It is difficult to go to sleep afterwards because it's so exciting. At the end of the show every night there's a massive buzz from the audience, they're on their feet, screaming and you feel like a rockstar with everyone coming together to celebrate this amazing music. I guess I like to eat after the show, watch something good and try and chill out.

A: Yeah, food is nice!


You have a five minute break in rehearsals, what are you doing?
C: I don't wanna say eating again! We're probably chatting about something that's happened in rehearsals. We do tend to talk a lot about constantly looking for ways to do things differently and improve so you'll probably just catch us discussing.

A: Mostly we're walking up the stairs!!


What's your favourite part of each others track?
C: One of my favourite bits ever is after I leave Revved, I stand  at the side, and I watch from the stage left wing and the screen of Hope Rock,  Andrew and the main Lost gang singing the end of Revved. I think it's absolutely incredible and I love it. I think Andrew is a force of nature and I love watching it, it's so exciting and there's so much visceral energy. Raven doesn't ever see that Strat which I think is so wonderful  because she sees a completely other side of him. So it's really interesting for me to see that force.

A: I really, really admire Raven's whole scene in her  bedroom during Heaven Can Wait. If I  have enough time after the interval preparations and can get down to the video screen then I watch the perspective of the camera as she sings the whole song and it's really cool.  She blows it out of the water every night, she remarkable!


Are you like your characters at all?
C: I'd love to say yeah, I'm really cool like Raven  but I guess I can be tempestuous sometimes like she can. The thing about Raven is that she's all about life or death, that first  love that is absolutely everything. In that way I guess we share  something that we both think love is probably the most important thing in life. But the intensity with which she feels it is more like 17 year old me than it is current me.

A: I guess Strat and I are both hopeful. I think what surprises people when they meet me is that I'm more soft spoken than Strat. Considering he just shouts on stage all night, I think when they meet me they're like "where's your high-octane energy?". 

They're certainly characters and they continue to grow and develop everyday that we work on them. They're good friends to have around.


Other than yourselves, who would you like to see play your roles?
A: I think I'd love to Jim Morrison to play this part, I think that would be a lot of fun. Or someone like Elvis would be really fun.

C: Ellen Foley was involved in the first stages of the show playing the Wendy/Raven character so it'd be really cool to see  what she would do with Raven as she is now.

A: You're absolutely right, I mean Jim Steinman hands down should be playing Strat- he's even on the t-shirt.

C: If it had to be someone from the cast I think one of the super swings should have a go. I'd pay good money to see someone like Jono play Raven!


Finally, can you tell me your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to get into performing?
C: I would say, be very sure of yourself and your  strengths and weaknesses. Believe in yourself and your ability because no one else can do that bit for you.

A: Love what you do, no matter what you end up doing. As long as you take joy in your work then you've found the secret of life and you'll be happy.

C: and be nice!

Watch the full interview plus some fun games here:


Thank you Holly for organising all of this, Andrew and Christina for filming with us, Sophia for being camera woman extraordinaire and all the lovely staff at the Dominion Theatre.

Join us next week to see Emily Benjamin become her character, Mordema!

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

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

photo credit: Specular

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