Ste Clough and Ben Vivian-Jones will be starring in Seussical the Musical this Christmas at the Arts Theatre, following on from last years successful run at the same venue.

I caught up with them to find out more about the show and a little bit about themselves as well!

Can you tell me about yourself and your career highlights to date?

Ste: My name is Ste Clough and I’m from West Yorkshire. After training at Arts Educational London, Graduating in 2009, I’ve been on tour with Evita, Oklahoma, and just finished 2 years in Shrek the Musical earlier on this year at Drury Lane, playing one of the three pigs and covering Lord Farquaad.

Ben: I’m originally from the South Wales valleys and trained at the Guildford School of Acting. One of my career highlights was whilst training I performed in Bernstein’s Mass at the Royal Festival Hall under the direction of Jude Kelly and musical direction of Marin Alsop, the first female conductor of the Last Night of the Proms, this year. It is such a beautiful and empowering piece, and it was so inspiring to work with such passionate artists.

What is Seussical about and can you tell me about the character you play?

Ste: Seussical is a musical based on a variety of stories by Dr Seuss, that have been cleverly incorporated into one story, with the main stories being ‘Horton Hears A Who’, ‘Horton Sits On An Egg’, and ‘The One Feathered Tail Of Miss Gurtrude McFuzz’.
I’m lucky enough to be playing Horton the Elephant in this production who is kind, very sincere, and driven by his morals to do the right thing no matter how ridiculous the situation may be. He’s a great character to play.

Ben: Seussical is a musical adaptation drawing on many of the characters in Dr Seuss’ books, probably the most famous being The Cat in the Hat, who narrates the story. It all revolves around Horton the Elephant discovering the tiny Who world on a speck of dust and doing all he can to protect them. I play one of the Wickersham Brothers, naughty monkeys who attempt to destroy the dust speck and also The Mayor of Who, trying to save his small world from being blown away.

Do you have any dream roles that you would love to have a go at playing?

Ste: Well if we are being totally honest I would love to play ‘Javert’ in ‘Les Miserables’. Ever since I was a child and watched and listened to the 10th anniversary recordings with Philip Quast I put it on my bucket list. Actually thinking about it he’s not that different to Horton, in the sense that they are always driven to do what’s right, but Horton doesn’t end up throwing himself off a bridge! Slightly happier ending for him.

Ben: My ultimate dream role would be Frank N Furter in Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’d also love to give Hedwig a whirl and the Emcee in Cabaret. Aside from the cross dressing I’m a big Jonathan Larson fan and if I can learn to play the piano well enough I’d love to one day be Jon in Tick, Tick…Boom!

If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what musical theatre role would you like to have a go at playing?

Ste: One role and performance I was completely blown away by recently was Rosalie Craig’s ‘Althea’ in ‘The Light Princess’ at The National Theatre. I thought she was incredible and that is one hell of a great part. For those who aren’t familiar with the piece, ‘Althea’ is a princess who cannot feel the affect of gravity and spends the whole show with a sense of weightlessness. The beautiful and clever techniques with which the National use to create the effect was sensational. Not only do they use strings to keep her suspended but she is often held up by four acrobats that move her throughout the piece almost like a puppet and create the effect of floating. To feel that sensation would be an amazing experience.

Ben: Who said I’d need to be the opposite sex? I’m currently in All-Male HMS Pinafore at the Union Theatre and we’ve got guys singing soprano! Give me a few years, get an all male Gypsy in the pipeline and I’d definitely give Mama Rose a good crack!

Do you have a favourite Musical Theatre show or song that means a lot to you?

Ste: It has to be ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat’. It was the first West End show I saw when my dad and grandma brought me down for my 4th birthday present. I was sat on the front row of the royal circle and when Jason Donovan ascended over the audience at the end of the finale, I waved and he waved back. It made my year and at moment I knew then that that’s what I wanted do, to perform and make people feel that same way I did.

Ben: The King and I and The Sound of Music were the first musicals I ever watched, when I was a little boy at my grandparents’ house, so I think they will always be very special to me. One gave birth to my Julie Andrews obsession and the other set me up for my first stagey heartbreak when I found out that Deborah Kerr didn’t actually sing. Scarred me for life. But that did lead to my discovery of the goddess Marni Nixon.

Why should people come and see Seussical this Christmas?

Ste: Christmas is a celebration and thanks for all the good things and people that we have in our lives. Seussical tells the story of a whole worlds saviour and his determination to save them whatever the cost. With so much family based entertainment around over Christmas. Seussical offers the whole audience a soaring broadway score set to the iconic stories of Dr Seus

Ben: It’s an absolute feast for the eyes and ears with so many laughs and crazy characters. The story has a lot of heart and is an adventure unlike any other, one that any theatregoer will love. And if you’re not a fan of Green Eggs and Ham then you’re in good company!

Thank you for having Tea With Wilma