Showing posts sorted by relevance for query gabriela garcia. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query gabriela garcia. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, 7 January 2017

A West End Guide To Singing | Gabriela Garcia

I am one of those people who is obsessed with hearing other peoples stories and tips and tricks of how they do what they do. So when I see any show I instantly want to pick the brains of the cast about how they sing as well as they do. I'm sure I'm not alone in this so I'm starting a series called 'A Stagey Guide To Singing' where West End stars will answer a series of questions about singing! I hope you find it interesting. Let me know if you have any specific questions or people you'd like answers from!



So for our first instalment we have all of Gabriela Garcia's singing secrets! Gaby is currently starring as Nina in In The Heights and her voice is blowing away people every night so without any more rabble, here we go...

When did you realise you could sing? Did you have singing lessons?
I always liked singing since I can remember but I have videos of me being totally tone deaf all the way up to when I was 16! I started taking singing lessons at 16.


How do you keep your voice healthy, do you have any rituals before shows?
I go to singing lessons regularly (once a month maybe once every 2 months) and I do a short vocal warm up - I concentrate more on my breath warming up rather than my voice. I have to sing through 'BREATHE' before every show on my own just to make sure everything is in place lol


Have you always been able to belt? If not, when did you start belting?
hmmm belting...I guess I was always able to belt as I thought belting was just shouting...during my time at drama school my teachers started to teach me a safer way to 'belt' by mixing and making the sound a bit 'smaller' this is to be able to sing 8 shows a week safely.


What vowels do you find easiest to belt? Do you modify words to make them easier to sing?
Yes, its all about the vowel modification - keeping the vowels as narrow as possible work for me.


What tips do you have for singing and dancing at the same time?
hmm I'm still learning how to merge the two as the breathing is so different! I guess identifying the breathing moments in the choreography and being conscious of not 'pushing'


What's the best exercise to get your voice ready for belt/twang?
I just do witchy and baby sounds which works for me


Overall, what's your number one piece of advice for finding and developing your singing voice?
You never stop learning and you are always developing your technique I guess being open to different teachers advice and being able to identify what works for you and what doesn't.

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Saturday, 2 July 2016

In Conversation with... Gabriela Garcia | In The Heights | Interview




Gabriela Garcia is an incredible performer who recently took over the role of Nina Rosario in In The Heights at the Kings Cross theatre. Since training at Arts Ed, Gaby has starred in some brilliant shows and she is sure one to watch. From her fantastic vocals to stunning acting and amazing dancing Gaby overflows with star power! I was lucky enough to interview Gabriela about her career, goals and all things In The Heights...




Was being a performer something you always yearned for or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?

When I was younger I wanted to be writer and archaeologist and I aspired to be the first woman Mexican President. I started dancing at 13 and then said maybe I would want to be a dancer and by 16 I said...actually maybe an actress- hopefully as an actress I could play a writer, an archaeologist and a president at some point ha! 


So you recently saw Hamilton which must have been amazing. How does it feel being in one of Lin's shows, do you feel extra pressure now Hamilton has had such success? 
No, I wouldn't say I feel pressure. I feel lucky and privileged to be able to perform Lin's material every night.



Your drive, talent and passion have led you to some wonderful shows but you've said Nina was one of your dream roles. What are some of the others?
Anita in WSS...is that too cliche? Fosca in Passion, Molly in Ghost, Evita, Eliza in Hamilton, Jenny in Love Story...gosh so many...I would love to create a new piece where I get to create a new character, maybe a musical based on Frida Kahlo's life!


You studied at Arts Ed which is known for producing West End stars, what was the best piece of advice you were told during your time there?

'Your training never stops' - always keep learning.



Lets talk about In The Heights, you've been in the show since the run at the Southwark, did you know them that you were part of something special? How has the show changed since it moved to Kings Cross?

Yes! we all knew it was something really special as we all gave up our time and money for it. The staging has changed slightly, there's more people in the cast and the band are in a different place but the heart and sentiment of the piece is still the same.



Taking over the role of Nina must have been somewhat daunting. What are the biggest challenges of the show and what are your favourite parts? 

I am the luckiest girl in the world! It was really daunting but the support from my cast mates and company made it all much easier. I feel like I got the best of both worlds. I got to know the show from Yolanda's perspective and from Nina's! There are so many favourite parts of mine...if I had to pick one: When you're home when I sing 'my people, my people...' I always think of Mexico then even though I should be thinking of Puerto Rico as Nina...There are so many challenges and every day they change - I guess the biggest one is to be able to tell the story for the first time every day and to not take it for granted.



It must be exciting as a Latina to play a role so focussed around the Latina heritage. Were you always proud of your heritage or did you face some of the same struggles as Usnavi and Nina when you moved to England?

Omg yes as a foreigner you always feel like you don't belong and then you go back home and everything has changed and you feel like you don't belong there either! I have always been very proud of being Mexican and always will although now I say I'm British too as I consider London my home too!  


The idea of home and family is very important in the show. What things remind you of home?

My grandma and my whole family, good Mexican food, sunny weather, Mexican music and vibrant colours.



If you had to sum up the show in 5 words, what would they be?

Family, dreams, faith, support, hot.



Finally, do you have any advice for people hoping to get into the performing arts industry?

Be kind and never give up.




Thank you so much Gaby for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to catch In The Heights which is currently booking until October!


Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor

Monday, 20 March 2017

West End Live Lounge, Union Theatre | Review


West End Live Lounge
Union Theatre
Reviewed Sunday 19th March 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★

When I say last night was a perfect Sunday evening, I am not exaggerating at all. With the amount of talent that was in the room it was hard not to have a brilliant time! The West End Live Lounge at the Union Theatre was the first of what I hope become many concerts created by Shaun McCourt and Leigh Lothian. The premise of the concerts is that as many West End stars as possible are brought together to perform incredible music with all proceeds going to charity. There are no musical theatre songs to be heard so all performers are able to step out of their usual boxes and really explore and show off their musicality.

The star studded line up included: Marisha Wallace, Gabriela Garcia, Arun Blair, Tyrone Huntley, Phoebe Street, Kelly Agbowu, Natalie Green, Leigh Lothian, Matthew-Seadon Young, Sejal Keshwala, Laura Tebbutt, Nicola Avino, Iain Mattley, Paul Wilkins, Laura Mansell, Brady Isaacs Pearce, Jamal Andreas, Jonny Howe, Katie Brayben, Marcus Ayton, Gary Wood, Lauren Ingram, Adam Bailey, Oliver Savile and Andrew Bateup.

There were a number of lovely duets and trios as well as fabulous solos and the performers also got to show off their other musical abilities such as piano playing which was very impressive. The intimate atmosphere of the Union Theatre in Southwark was the perfect setting for the evening with the whole evening having a warm, laid back, friendly feeling. The stage, complete with sofas and a table added to this vibe and the overall mood was perfect for a relaxed Sunday.

The overall quality of performances was extremely high and every member of the cast and ensemble were flawless with wonderful song choices and joyous performances. There were a number of particular standouts for me. Firstly, Gabriela Garcia and Arun Blair who did a lovely, sweet, and harmonious medley of Rihanna and Sam Smith with a cheeky bit of Into The Woods mixed in! Their chemistry was evident and their voices just work so well together that it's a joy to see and hear them perform. Tyrone Huntley and Marisha Wallace were other standouts and were a theme of my weekend having seen Dreamgirls on Saturday (review coming soon!)

Tyrone's dulcet tones were perfect for the Michael Jackson hit 'Rock With You' and Marisha brought the house down and earned a well deserved standing ovation with her insanely good rendition of 'Natural Woman'. Natalie Green sang Sam Smith's classic, 'Lay Me Down' which was truly stunning.

The whole night was full of joy, friendliness and sweet, sweet harmonies. It was so lovely to see so many people come together to perform and raise money for UNICEF and I really hope there will be many more West End Live Lounges to come! Make sure to keep and eye out on Twitter to make sure you don't miss the next event which is sure to be as incredible and inspiring as this one!

Check out West End Live Lounge on Twitter: https://twitter.com/WElivelounge17


Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Stagey Guide To Singing: Kerry Ellis


If you've ever wanted singing tips from a West End star, then this series of posts is the one for you! This post is courtesy of the wonderful Kerry Ellis who will soon be starring as Eve in the tour of the new show, Heaven on Earth...


When did you realise you could sing? Did you have singing lessons?
I always sung from an early age I knew I loved it and that was enough for me to want to pursue a career it wasn't really about whether I was good enough or not. I've had lessons with various people along the way but nothing consistent. I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

Have you always been able to belt? If not, when did you start belting?
I think so yes I grew up listening to Bernadette Peters, Elaine Paige, Barbra Streisand Celine Dion and other incredible female vocalists. Liza Minnelli too and I'd just try to sing along with them so I guess it was all from a natural place. 


What vowels do you find easiest to belt? Do you modify words to make them easier to sing?
I think you have to sing the lyrics of the song regardless whether it easy or not but a good teacher would help you work your way through the song without forcing or causing any damage.

What tips do you have for singing and dancing at the same time?
Breathe and go for it and have fun!

How do you keep your voice healthy, do you have any rituals before shows?                              Depends on the day I think the best advice somebody gave to me was use the voice you have that day, which means you mustn't give yourself a hard time if your voice doesn't feel the same every day just sing with the best of your ability and give yourself a break. Lots of water lots of rest and don't abuse your voice.
Rest is so underrated you have to take care of your voice like any other part of your body it's precious and needs care and attention and respect!

Overall, what's your number one piece of advice for finding and developing your singing voice?        Trust yourself and enjoy it!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Goldstone Live, Hippodrome Casino | Review


Goldstone Live
Hippodrome Casino
Reviewed on Sunday 2nd April 2017 by Olivia Mitchell
★★★★

Goldstone Live brings a group of stunning ladies with glorious voices together in their global entertainment company which provides sparkling entertainment for a number of various private events. This was Goldstone's first ever public event and it did not disappoint. 

With it's 54 Below vibes, the Hippodrome Casino was the perfect venue for this retro, glitzy evening. The audience were seated at tables with food and drink flowing which combined with the golden goody bags adorning the place and the warm lighting created an intimate atmosphere.

The stage is small but the whole thing was used to it's full extent with dances and sequins covering every tiny inch. The buzzing atmosphere of anticipation was prevalent from when the audience entered the venue and it certainly went up and up with every high energy performance!

The Goldstone trio Aimie Atkinson, Helen Kurup and Vicky Hoyles opened the show with a fabulous rendition of 'One Night Only' from the current West End hit, Dreamgirls and things only went up from there. The theme of the night was definitely glamour, with a level of glitz I can only dream of! The night was made up of three sets of varying styles and genres but each one was lively and full of energy. The girls put their own Goldstone spin on on every songs; performing pieces from artists such as  The Supremes, Beyonce and  Nicki Minaj. Their repertoire had something for everyone and I found myself dancing and singing along all night and just enjoying a truly wonderful evening of entertainment.

Along with the 'official' Goldstone girls, the night included some special guests who all fit in perfectly with soaring voices, stunning outfits and glorious personalities. Jodie Steele was a particular standout of the night but it was the overall high caliber of performance which made the night so enjoyable. There were no weak links and everyone gave it their all to create an outstanding evening of entertainment.

I can't review this concert without mentioning the little In The Heights reunion at the end where Gabriela Garcia, Stephanie Rojas, Aimie Atkinson, Genesis Lynea and Sarah Naudi performed a sizzling rendition of 'Lady Marmalade' which really brought the house down and exuded glee! 

The show closed in proper Goldstone style with golden dresses as far as the eye could see and an outstanding performance of 'Proud Mary' which I was tired just watching! Overall this was a perfect Sunday evening full of talent, glamour and endearing personalities and I hope one of many more public events put on by these crazily adept ladies! Congratulations to everyone involved for a magnificent performance and true embodiment of girl power!

For more information about Goldstone Live visit: http://www.goldstonelive.com

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Strictly Ballroom, Piccadilly Theatre | Review


Strictly Ballroom 
Piccadilly Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 24th April 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Strictly Ballroom is a chilled out, glittering celebration of dance and a refreshing show to add to the list of ones to cheer us up in these dreary times. 

Based on  Baz Luhrman's 1992 film, Strictly Ballroom tells the story of Scott Hastings, a young Australian man who’s been dancing and winning awards for almost his entire life. He longs to break free of what moves are ‘expected’ and 'strictly ballroom' and pave his own way in the dance world. Enter Fran, just Fran, the overlooked dancer who wants a life of love, passion and to dance with Scott. When Scott starts improvising at a dance competition again, his partner  Liz leaves him and he and Fran become secret dance partners.

This show is cheesy beyond belief but it’s also extremely self-aware. The over exaggeration and somewhat cringy humour works because it doesn’t try to be anything other than fun. The characters are larger than life but work to create an embellished version of life as a competitive dancer.


This show is of course, all about the dance and Drew McOnie has done an outstanding job choreographing his West End debut. The moves are sharp, sleek and a real joy to watch. When attending this show, I wasn't aware that it's not a typical musical. In fact, I would describe it more as a play with songs. Will Young takes on the role of Wally Strand who acts as the compere, narrator and singer. His voice is beautiful and he does a fabulous job of performing Marius De Vries' arrangements of hit songs such as Dancing With Myself, Love is in The Air, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and more. This set up doesn't take away from the show at all but it would be nice to see the rest of the company getting a chance to show off their vocals. However, it's the dance that's the star of the show. Taking  the place of big vocal numbers, it's stunning to see such colourful, glitzy routines on the stage. The act 2 close of the Paso Doble and HabaƱera is especially powerful, with Fernando Mira's flamenco routine wowing the audience and proving how emotive dance is.

There’s a running joke that the west end isn’t the west end unless a Strallen sister is in a show. Seeing Zizi Strallen perform you can understand how their talent has made them a crucial part of the London theatre scene. Zizi’s performance is dorky and heartfelt and her character arc throughout is beautiful to watch. It’s truly joyous to watch her perform and you can't help but keep your eyes on her every second she's on stage. I am definitely going to have to bring my apricot face scrub out of the cupboard if it'll make me look like Zizi! Ms Strallen's footwork is also sublime and she works in perfect synchronicity with Jonny Labey who is is dazzling on stage and clearly the perfect choice for the role. The pair of actors are a winning combo.


Anna Francolini is suitably hilarious as Scott's mother who lives vicariously through him- her comedic timing is outstanding. Eve Polycarpou is sweet and endearing as Fran's Abeula and her latin vocals really stand out amongst the rousing music. The ensemble of Strictly Ballroom are great, all with clear personalities in their dancing duos. Gabriela Garcia and Liam Marcellino really stand out as Vanessa and Wayne. The entire cast work brilliantly together to create a polished show.

It's a lovely feature to have the band live on stage and it's amazing how they become part of the action rather than being overshadowing at all. Catherine Martin's costumes are as sparkly and over the top as you could want and Soutra Gilmour's set is simplistic but emotive. This production is well thought out and it's clear to see how much care and love has gone into it from the entire cast, crew and company.

It's time to escape the grey for the colour filled dance hall of Strictly BallroomBogo Pogo your way to the Piccadilly theatre for a spectacularly sparkly experience, and a fun, chilled out night that'll make you want to get out of your seat and dance. 

Strictly Ballroom runs at the Piccadilly Theatre until October 20th 2018

photo credit: Johan Persson

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

In Conversation With... Sarah Naudi | In The Heights | Interview

Sarah Naudi is currently starring in Lin Manuel Miranda's glorious brainchild In The Heights as the feisty, loved up Vanessa. Her other credits include the short film In The Name of Bjorn and By The Sea in which she acts alongside Angelina Jolie, to name a few.




After a wonderful performance of In The Heights, Emilie and I interviewed the lovely Sarah. We found out about her journey to becoming a performer, her love for Lara Croft, her future aspirations and so much more. So without further ado, here is our interview:

Was being a performer something you always yearned for or did you have a different career path in mind when you were younger?
I always wanted to be a performer. Oh my god, I have to get into my sob story now! Anyway, I was born with a deformity in my foot and it's a disability and they were like “oh she’ll never dance, she’ll never do anything” so my mother was like “oh I’m gonna send her to ballet lessons then”. And I was always the shittest and the worst but I was facially always the happiest and having the most fun so I just carried on dancing for years. 

Then when I was 15 I told my parents that I really wanted to go to England cause I had seen The Lion King here and I was like “oh my god in England they do musicals” so that’s kind of why I came here and again, struggled very much in dance and then was dancing amongst these [the cast of In The Heights] amazing people! I’m very lucky and it's just a dream come true really so yeah, to answer your question, this is what I’ve always wanted to do… but I really want to do film! So I think after this, because this is the part I really wanted to play in musical theatre, and I’ve done Carla and Daniela, Nina and Vanessa which is amazing, I really want to act seriously.


What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Probably meeting Angelina Jolie, that was amazing. I don’t know if you’ve seen By The Sea it's her film with Brad Pitt? So basically she filmed it in Malta so I had to do a scene me and her and she's like my idol, I’ve always wanted to be like the next Lara Croft or something so when I met her I was like “this is it” and she’s an amazing, amazing woman. She’s motherly, very nice and was like “thanks for being in my film Sarah” and I was like “thank me?? Thank you!”. It was amazing yeah, definitely a highlight!


With all the success of Hamilton do you feel extra pressure being in one of Lin’s shows?
Well I can’t wait to watch it [Hamilton] here, its going to be honestly amazing, just gonna blow everyones minds! Oh god its gonna be so good! 

With the success of course there’s more pressure because its brought more attention to the show because everyone knows who he is now but everyday -no matter what happens backstage or in your own personal life- when you hear the music we just realise how lucky we are.

And Gaby (Gabriela Garcia) and I, these were our dream roles at college. We lived together, went to school together, everything and we just cant believe that it's happened, not just for one of us but for both of us. When we’re on those stairs together at the end we look at each other and we go “wow, how did this happen, we are so lucky”. So everyday listening to Lin’s music its just, yeah! And I can’t wait to watch Moana, it looks amazing and the music sounds incredible!


You’ve been with In The Heights since it was at the Southwark, how has it changed since then?
I feel like at the Southwark we loved the show and not the story yet. So there was a lot of heart for the show and it was a ball of energy and that’s why it was such a success but now I feel the focus is on the story, whereas before it wasn’t because we didn’t have time to invest in it whereas now, most of us know it so well and we’ve been doing it for so long that we’re like “this is why he wrote the song!” 

And even getting to meet him and hear him speak, when he said he is Nina and Sam is Usnavi like wow, what a compliment for Sam! That’s what I feel the biggest difference is, now I really understand the story, whereas before I loved the music and how I  felt, now I really really love, you know the whole Paciencia y Fe and all of that!


The idea of heritage is prevalent in the show, did you face some of the same struggles as Nina and Usnavi when you moved to the UK from Malta?
100% I mean I’m from a tiny island in the Mediterranean and people haven’t even heard of it and I always had these big dreams, kind of like Vanessa, really just wanting to go and get out and do something and when I came here I found a massive culture shock. I found, at first, my classmates were very cold. It's a colder culture here, it's more polite, whereas in the Mediterranean we’re used to hugs so I used to talk to people on the tube all the time like “oh I really like your nail polish” and they thought I was a psycho because you don’t do that here! So I really had to learn that but I think when the Brits really get to know you as a foreigner they fall in love with you. I have so many close British friends now but I did struggle. All of them making fun of my accent oh god…. they still do it backstage now!


Have there been any challenges playing Vanessa in general or with your transition for Carla to Vanessa?
More nerves. First of all, more pressure because I have been begging to play this part for I don’t know how long so its like "uh oh the producers are looking at me now", so you really have to deliver. 

And vocally there's more pressure. As Carla, if I was having a bad singing day I could do okay. And also when I was playing Carla I could hide behind the humour and really get along with the audience whereas with Vanessa, it's really hard to make her likeable because she's always moaning on stage! So I really wanted to make sure that I kind of play her more sweetly and just like she's trying to get out of here but has a good heart, so that was kind of a lot of pressure to try and get that across. And it was difficult doing 'The Club' with a completely different track and all that... yeah just more pressure!


The idea of home is therefore very important, what three things remind you of home?
The smell of the sea reminds me of home. Damian [Buhagiar], his Maltese accent backstage! He speaks to me all the time in Maltese which is really sweet! And probably my family.


Whats your favourite moment in the whole show?
To play, definitely Champagne. In my life and so many of my friends lives theres that moment where you really want to tell someone to stay and I feel like every night I get to do that and tell the person to stay and I know he doesn’t do that, he stays for the great but I can get over that! But yeah, every night I have the opportunity to do it, in life I sometimes don’t do that so I love playing it.

To listen to as a song definitely Benny’s Dispatch. Every night backstage I’m vibing along and also probably in ‘Carnaval’ Sam’s bit where he sings “a corner full of foreigners” and all that section.


If you had a magic wand, which show would you do next?….. although you want to do film!
Lara Croft the Musical?! haha, no I don’t know. I actually have no idea because this was my dream show! I love Spring Awakening, I think I’d be too old for it now but probably Spring Awakening

Moulin Rouge… that’s what I wanna be in! That’s the one… something gritty!


If you could be any fictional character for a day, who would you be and why?
A superhero definitely! [Lara Croft?]  Yeah! I didn’t want to say it again but lets be honest. Yeah I just like the idea of being a really strong woman who can save lives.


What does your perfect Sunday look like?
Ohh definitely involves a party of some sort! I go to these things called Morning Raves. They’re for people who don’t drink or don’t do anything they just love music and you just party from like six in the morning until 10 to start your day and you start your day really fresh and happy. Also seeing friends, Winter Wonderland- going on the  the rides, just something adventurous. Once on our day off Courtney (Mae-Briggs) and I went skydiving in Peterborough! We’re just adrenaline junkies! We booked it two days before and it said ‘North London Skydiving’ but Peterborough is not North London, just saying! It took us ages! 


Whats your best piece of advice for an aspiring performer?
I would say always be prepared because success is when preparation meets the opportunity. So if you’re always ready and the opportunity comes, then boom. If the opportunity comes and you’re not ready then you're not going to get the part or get into the school you know, so always, always, always be prepared. Keep improving yourself. Gaby (Garcia) is a master at that, I mean, she inspires me everyday because she is always learning and always asking us what she can do better. She goes to lessons all the time so just keeping that. No matter how successful you become just keep working at it. Be kind, be really kind to people. People will wanna work with you again. And be on time… don’t be late!


A huge, huge thank you to Sarah for being so lovely, kind and inspirational. A truly talented lady who I hope to see become a movie megastar in the future! Thank you to Emilie for joining me on the interview and as usual thank you to Lin Manuel Miranda for creating the best musical ever!

Interview by Olivia Mitchell, Editor