Hugh Maynard was chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s company to play the principle role of Simon Zealotes in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR whilst studying at ArtsEd. Since then he has continued to have a successful career in London’s West End with LION KING, NOTRE DAME de PARIS, FOLLIES, DANCING IN THE SREETS, and SISTER ACT.
2004 saw Hugh undertake the character of John in MISS SAIGON for the first time and to date is the youngest person in the history of the production to have been given the privilege of playing this role.
Hugh is about to release his debut solo album and will be launching it with a special concert at the Hippodrome Casino on 25 March 2015.
I caught up with Hugh for a chat and a cuppa…..
Q. For anyone who may not have seen Miss Saigon (I’ve seen it 5 times since May!), can you tell us what it’s all about?
Miss Saigon is an epic love story. It tells the tragic tale of a young Vietnam girl Kim, who falls in love with an American GI. But they are torn apart by the cruel war. I feel language is too pale to introduce this story, particularly the new production of Miss Saigon. My suggestion is if you haven’t seen it yet. Go to the theatre, take some tissues with you (very likely you will be laughing & crying) and trust me, you will want to see it again and again!
Q. This is the second time you have played the role of John in Miss Saigon. In 2004 you were the youngest person to ever play the role in the history of the production. What have you done differently this time around and what is it about the part that made you want to do it again?
I have grown as a person; I have a lot more life experience. So coming back to the role of John, I can handle the emotional side in a more mature way (not going back home, calling my colleagues and we together crying the emotion out over the phone). I am now more comfortable in my own shoes and give more, whereas before you do as you’re asked rather than experiment!
Q. Are there any other theatre roles that you would like to have a go at playing?
So many, such as the Phantom, in Phantom Of The Opera, Lola, in Kinky Boots, Rum Tum Tugger, in Cats. I feel my experience, as well as my understanding of life in different perspectives, now enables me to handle more varied roles, both vocally and physically.
Have you ever had funny/disastrous on-stage experiences?
I played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Gale Edwards. I was about to give Jesus and Mary a piece of my mind, when the guy playing Peter, accidentally elbowed me in the stomach. The audience, conductor and cast members were waiting for me to deliver my lines, but I was winded. (It was a very dramatic pause).
Playing Simba in the original London cast of the Lion King, I stubbed my toe on pride rock. It doesn’t sound much, but believe me. That is one hard rock.
If you could be the opposite sex for a day, what theatre role would you like to play?
Elphaba in Wicked, I admire the great performances of the role played by my friends Louise Dearman and Kerry Ellis.
Also I’d like to have a go at playing Kim, in Miss Saigon, though I wouldn’t feel happy about having to kiss Alistair Brammer. Haha! Eva Noblezada’ portrayal of Kim a wonder. The girl is truly exceptional. It is a challenging sing and certainly a great acting role.
Q. What are your thoughts on theatre etiquette? What things annoy you when you are performing or when you are in the audience?
I am never a blind follower of any etiquette, theatrical or others. I always examine it first and analyse why it exists. As an actor, I do think the theatre etiquette has its place. As it ensures the actor/actress can focus on their stage performance without being interrupted by unnecessary distractions.
On the other hand, I can understand that some audiences wish to interact with their favourite personalities who are performing a role during the show. Not that I suggest people to do so, but I won’t feel annoyed by such behaviour. Please turn OFF your mobile device during the performance. Just think how much battery you will be saving.
Q. You are soon to be releasing your debut solo album featuring classic songs such as Let’s Get It On, Kiss From A Rose and When A Man Loves A Woman. Who are some of your musical influences and what inspired you to record this album?
I am very happy to announce that my debut solo album Hugh Maynard: Something Inside So Strong will be released on 25th March 2015. The self produced album is a fantastic mix of songs chosen by you my fans and passionately performed by me. Consisting of your favourite Rock, Soul and Musical Theatre covers, of my own arrangement. I would like to dedicate this album to the people who have continued to love and support me. It is amazing what you can achieve when people have belief in you.
Q. The album also features a couple of musical theatre songs. Bring Him Home from Les Mis and your song Bui Doi from Miss Saigon. What made you decide to pick these songs in particular?
The song selection is based on feedback from fans and professionals in the music industry. I never take my fans words lightly nor that of professionals and when I read why they wanted me to sing these particular songs. I was so touched, I couldn’t let them down. I will endeavour to inspire and sing whatever they wish me to sing.
Q. Apart from singing and acting, what is your biggest vice?
Right now I am still staying focused on maintaining the level of work with charities and charitable events. Though I am always open to new opportunities and collaborations.
Q. You are launching the album with a special concert at the Hippodrome Casino on 25 March. What can people expect from the show if they come along?
It is –
– A one-off exclusive opportunity to see and hear me duet with Kwang- ho Hong & Rachelle Ann Go
– A celebration of the release of my debut album and all those who enjoy great live music
– A midweek fun night out “happy hump day!”
Q. You will be supported on the night by your Miss Saigon co-stars Kwang-Ho Hong and Rachelle Ann Go. What made you decide to choose these two?
Well Rachelle and I are always singing harmonies together socially and round the theatre. So this is a great chance for us to share our gifts with you.
As for Brother Kwang-Ho. Well, I just love him. He is so talented, so humble. We had so much fun singing together at a recent concert in Korea. Our voices blend perfectly.
Buy tickets to Hugh Maynards album launch concert at the Hippodrome Casino on 25 March 2015 here
Order Hugh’s debut album Something Inside So Strong here