Sam Turrell is about to star in Santaphrenia (the dirty Christmas musical) at the Leicester Square Theatre. I caught up with him and the Musical Director of the show Dean Austin, for a chat about the show.

Can you tell me about yourself and your career highlights to date?
Dean: I’ve been in London working as an MD for 20 years now which makes me very old! My highlight would be as MD for Zorro the musical at the Garrick a few years ago as I worked initially with the writers/ composers writing & developing the show & then thru workshops & demos to its world premiere in the west end. We also got to do the Royal Variety Performance & Olivier awards as well as recording the original cast album. It doesn’t get much better than that! I love working on new shows hence Santaphrenia.

Sam: I’m 22, have just graduated from Central where I studied my MA in Music Theatre, previous to that I studied Drama & Film Studies at the University of Portsmouth. I’m a huge football and Chelsea fan and still get to play every week. Career highlights include playing Tom Collins in RENT at University and the Edinburgh Fringe experience during the summer where I played Tony in a new musical A Body to Die(t) For.

What is Santaphrenia about and can you tell me about your role.
Dean: As Musical Director I have helped to develop & shape the songs & arrangements working closely with the writer & composers & singers. As a new show some songs have been written especially for our actors which so rarely happens

Sam: Santaphrenia is a dirty, sexy Christmas musical wherein Santa Claus is looking to retire and needs to find a replacement, he chooses my “perfectly nice” twin brother but accidentally takes my character (Malcom); the rebellious “naughty” twin. Once at the North Pole chaos ensues, as Santa realises he may have the wrong twin. Malcom is a horny teenager that has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother, hard done by but has a good heart and I feel there are quite a few similarities between myself and Malcom.

Do you have any dream shows that you would love to have a go at playing for?
Dean: Would love to MD a major revival of Howard Goodall’s The Hired Man

Sam: There are a few! Drew in Rock of Ages would be my first choice, for the gutsy rock belt, which would then include Galileo in We Will Rock You, also would like to play Bobby in Company in a few years, Frank Jr in Catch Me if you Can, and any of the boys in Mormon/Spring Awakening.

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what musical theatre role would you like to have a go at playing?
Sam: Effie in Dreamgirls, no doubt about that one.

Do you have a favourite Musical Theatre show or song that means a lot to you?
Dean: It would have to be Sweeney Todd or West Side Story. Classic score with a great story.

Sam: Rock of Ages…my guilty pleasure, and a song that means quite a lot would be Hasa Diga Eebowai from Mormon… I feel like it has a deep meaning…

Why should people come and see Santaphrenia?
Dean: It’s a great alternative to Panto- rude & fun and with a great new score- so rare these days.

Sam: It’s such a laugh, rehearsals are currently a blast and we want to share the experience with our audiences. I guess I could plug the show by stating that I will be semi naked half the time and so will most of the cast. Always a bone-us! Come check it out!

Thank you for having Tea With Wilma

Santaphrenia plays at The Lounge of the Leicester Square Theatre from 10-19 December.
Click here for tickets