You’ll soon be making your London theatre debut starring as Eugene in EUGENIUS! How are you feeling?
I’m feeling nervous and excited! I’m thrilled to be making my London debut with this show. We have about two weeks before our first audience, and we’ll be using every minute of rehearsal to make it the best it can be.
Can you tell us a bit about the show?
Happily! Eugenius is about a teenage comic book geek, Eugene. His talent isn’t recognized by most until he gets discovered by a Hollywood producer and his comic book story gets turned into a major film! It’s a sweet, hilarious show about staying true to yourself, discovering true love, and finding the superhero within.
The production has a score inspired by the ‘80s. What are some ‘80s trends that you think should be brought back?
Yes, our show pays loving tribute to many trends, films, and songs of the ’80s, although it has a completely original score. It is filled with catchy hooks and fantastic beats. I can’t stop singing the songs! As for trends, let’s see…who doesn’t love a sequin and a fanny pack? I think a lot of ’80s stuff is coming back. Look at what a success Stranger Things is. There was a larger-than-life quality to pop culture in the ’80s, and Eugenius definitely captures that.
You’ll be starring opposite Laura Baldwin, who recently appeared in Big Fish at The Other Palace. Have you enjoyed working together?
Oh, I’ve enjoyed working with her immensely. She is such a joy to be with, and everyone in the cast and on the creative team feel the same way. She is overflowing with talent and optimism. There’s an honesty to her in life that shines through on stage. Wait till you see her in this. Laura is sunshine.
You’ve performed several off-Broadway and major regional productions around the US, but what are you looking forward to about performing in the West End?
When you’re an actor in New York, it’s always nice to be able to do a show in town. You have the comfort of your own home, good exposure to industry professionals, and you once the show is open, you can audition for other projects during the day. The same would be true here in London, I suppose. The Other Palace is a wonderful venue, and is the home of new musicals, so it feels very special to get to do a show there.
Have you found there to be any major differences between theatre in the UK and in the US?
You know what I appreciate about going to see theatre here? I can hear every single word. I think the voice training here might be more comprehensive. It could also be why my lovely British cast is able to do such a convincing American accent! I’ve been lucky to see quite a few productions here, and have been consistently impressed. It’s hard to say if there is a difference in working styles between the US and the UK, because it varies from production to production, I think. Our director, Ian Talbot, keeps things light and is very encouraging, which I so appreciate. He’s marvellous. I think rehearsal vibes vary based on the director and the stage manager, and it might have less to do with which country you’re in. But what do I know?
What has it been like working with Warwick Davis as a producer?
Warwick is a very kind man. He sent us a video warmly welcoming us to the project. I can’t believe I’m working with him! It’s an honour.
It’s been described as a show “where geeks rule.” Is there anything you’re a bit of a geek about?
Oh gosh, yes. I resent the fact that “geek” can often have a negative connotation. To me, a geek or nerd is someone who is intensely passionate about something. They’re usually the ones who go the furthest (our show is about that, too!). So, I will say I am very passionate about anything food-related and popular music from older times (Noel Coward, Burt Bacharach, Jerome Kern, to name a few). My Instagram account is basically pictures of food I make and videos of obscure, odd songs from bygone eras.
EUGENIUS! is being performed at The Other Palace, currently buzzing with new productions and innovative theatre. What has it been like working there?
We have our final week at the rehearsal studios and move into The Other Palace after that. I’m looking forward to getting there. It’s a pity there aren’t more original British musicals, so it’s thrilling to get to do a brand new, completely original British musical at such a buzzy venue!
Why should audiences come to see the show?
Audiences should see Eugenius because they’ll leave the theatre smiling, dancing, and singing the songs. Ben Adams, our composer, together with our brilliant sound designer, will make the whole show sound like a rocking 80’s-tastic concert! Eugenius has a wonderful silly feel to it, while still addressing some really relatable themes. It’s just so much fun. I hope I see you there!
Eugenius! plays at The Other Palace 22 January – 3 March 2018
Interview by Olivia Dowden