Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Feature: West End stars choose desert island musical theatre songs... (#2)

It's the question they all dread... when interviewing musical theatre performers we always ask which three musical theatre songs they would take with them to a desert island. So, to celebrate publishing our 200th interview, we've put together everybody's answers into one stagey feature! Find out which three songs everybody chose below (and click on a performer's name to read the full interview). Enjoy!

Marry Me A Little / I Can't Sing

1. ‘All I Ask Of You’ from The Phantom of the Opera
2. ‘Anthem’ from Chess
3. ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from Les Miserables

"Ah man [laughs]! That’s a good question. Gosh. Wow – suddenly I can’t think of anything. I guess what I would probably do is take songs which have meant a lot to me…. but I just don’t know! Phantom has played a massive part in my life and I am forever indebted to that show, so I would take – even though I’ve sung it once or twice – ‘All I Ask Of You’ just because it means a lot. Phantom was such a big thing for me in every single way. What else? Umm… [laughs] I’m so sorry I think I’m going to be here forever! I recently did a very small intimate concert with Tim Rice and he was listing off the songs we would be doing that he wrote and suddenly I realised I was standing in the presence of the man who wrote Aladdin and The Lion King and Chess and Joseph. One of my most favourite songs to sing is ‘Anthem’ (from Chess). I just adore the song! For the last one I think I’ll go with a female song – ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ (from Les Miserables). I’ve been a part of the show and I think it’s one of the most beautifully crafted songs, some people might think it’s a boring choice but I think it is pretty much perfect."

The Last Ship / Wicked 

1. ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked
2. ‘Send In The Clowns’ from A Little Night Music
3. ‘Don't Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl

"Here’s the thing… I’m actually not a massive musical theatre fan! I don’t even think many people know this [laughs]! That’s why most of my album was pop. Although I don’t sit and listen to pop either, don’t get me wrong - I’m not massively into my pop charts! Does it have to be musical theatre? Ok, let me think… we might be here for quite some time! Right, I have to say that I think I would need to take ‘Defying Gravity’ (from Wicked). Not because I’ve been in Wicked and played the part, just because it’s a fantastic song! Amazing lyrics and tune, it’s so inspiring and moves me when I hear it live. I adore the piece of music. When people asked, “What’s your favourite song in Wicked?” I used to try and avoid saying “Defying Gravity” because even though it stands out as the big number in the show and it’s the one everyone is waiting for, I always used to try and make it as part of the storyline. I wanted to keep it authentic to what it was saying and why it’s there – it’s not just a musical theatre classic, genuinely it is a stunning piece of writing and that’s why I love it! Do you know what song I adore? ‘Send In The Clowns’ (from A Little Night Music). It just moves me again and again, the lyrics are stunning. I played that part (Desiree Armfeldt) at college; it’s very simple but beautifully written and so effective. That’s my second one so I can take one more… my final one would be… goodness me! Umm… let me think! Probably a Barbra Streisand song… I would take ‘Don't Rain On My Parade’ (from Funny Girl)! Those are three songs I would never grow bored of listening to! I'm happy with those!"

Alternate Huey in Memphis 

1. ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables
2. ‘You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want' from Avenue Q
3. ‘Moving Too Fast’ from The Last Five Years

"Ok, I’m going to take ‘One Day More’ (from Les Miserables) just ‘cause! It never gets dull or boring. You can see it being performed by schools and it’s still good, you can see it performed by the O2 cast and it blows your mind. I don’t think there’s a better end to act one in any show I’ve been in! Next I’m going to take ‘You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)’ from Avenue Q, I obviously have a different memory of it; my main memory is doing the show and seeing people pointing with their mouths open. I can’t help but smile when I listen to it, and it’s just a rocking out number which is good. I think I’m going to need a ballad now! You should have asked me this with a week’s prep! I’ll take ‘Moving Too Fast’ from The Last Five Years. I just did it in Greenwich and getting to perform it has really opened it up in my mind. I’ve always loved the song, but now I have a greater appreciation for what’s involved in it."

Water Babies / We Will Rock You

1. 'On My Own' from Les Miserables
2. ‘Waiting For You’ from Water Babies
3. ‘A Christmas Song’ from Elf The Musical

"[laughs] Right, well I would definitely take 'On My Own' from Les Mis because when I did singing lessons when I was younger it was one of the very first songs that I heard musical theatre-wise, I was about 13. I was like “This song is beautiful, what is it from?!” Can you believe I didn’t know?! Now, what else would I take? At the moment I would take ‘Waiting For You’, the duet that Louise and I do in Water Babies, because it’s been one of the best songs I’ve ever had the opportunity to record. To be given the opportunity to duet with Louise has been amazing because, as you know, her voice is incredible and she has the kind of CV I can only dream of having one day. My last choice... for a bit of fun... ummmm.... this is a really hard question! Can I not just take everything?! I think I would take ‘A Christmas Song’ from Elf The Musical. I heard it for the first time a couple of years ago. It’s one of those songs that made me laugh so much and made me so happy. I did a musical theatre radio show at Christmas and played that song! So yes, I would finish with a Christmassy musical theatre song!"

Nick Massi in UK Tour of Jersey Boys

1. ‘Seasons Of Love’ from Rent
2. ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables
3. 'Eyes Look Your Last' / 'The Flesh Failures' from Hair

"Oh no! Not desert island discs! I’m not ready for this! Oh my god… there is such a massive variety of songs I could choose. I will have to go back to my own previous experiences and pick songs from shows I’ve been involved with. I would have to take ‘Seasons Of Love’ from Rent… oh god! This is tough and my mind has gone blank [laughs]. Regrettably I’ve never been in Les Mis – I would love to do it – but I want to say ‘Bring Him Home’. My third and final choice… I want to go upbeat… I’ve got Saturday Night Fever in my head and I don’t know why. I know – I’ll take Eyes Look Your Last / The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In) from Hair. Technically it is one song!"

Assassins / As You Like It / Rock Of Ages

1. ‘What Kind of Fool Am I?’ from Stop The World - I Want To Get Off
2. ‘For Now’ from Avenue Q
3. ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ from Hairspray

"Ok… I’m going to take my favourite song which is ‘What Kind of Fool Am I?’ by Anthony Newley from Stop The World - I Want To Get Off. I’m taking the Sammy Davis, Jr version because that’s my favourite. I need a big old happy song… I would take ‘For Now’ from Avenue Q because everything in life is only For Now so being stuck on a desert island is only for now [laughs]. What do I need for my third one? Hold on… I need to think of something clever… There are so many good songs! How do you choose one? Maybe I’ll take… hmmm… I want a lovely upbeat one, something I can maybe have a dance to. I would throw a beach party so maybe something like ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’ from Hairspray? Is that a boring one? Oh I don’t know! Literally I have no idea. As long as there is food and music I’m happy!"

Annie Get Your Gun / Love Story

1. ‘Last Day on Earth’ by Lance Horne
2. ‘Poisoning Pigeons In The Park’ by Tom Lehrer
3. ‘Clapping Symphony’ from Love Story

"Ok the first one I would take, I suppose it’s technically a musical theatre song, is ‘Last Day on Earth’ – the Lance Horne song. I would have to take the version sung by Hannah Waddingham because, oh my god, it’s astonishing! It’s the most beautiful piece of music and Lance and Hannah are both good friends of mine – it’s just incredible! Hmmm, probably ‘Poisoning Pigeons In The Park’ by Tom Lehrer because it amuses the heck out of me! It’s one of the first Tom Lehrer songs I ever heard and I love it to pieces. I must have heard that on Hey, Mr. Producer actually [laughs] – that’s not stagey at all! Oh god! Gosh this is a really hard question! Hmmm, I feel like I need something dark… or deliciously melodious. Ooo, let’s take something overturey from Love Story – yes! ‘Clapping Symphony’ from Love Story! Having that seven piece orchestra on stage with us was amazing, they were beautiful – let’s take them! I love each and every one of them and that means I get to listen to something without lyrics which will be lovely!"

Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys

1. ‘Goodbye’ from Catch Me If You Can
2. ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables
3. ‘Raise Your Voice’ from Sister Act

"I love ‘Goodbye’ from Catch Me If You Can! Also… [laughs] it sounds clichĂ©, but ‘Bring Him Home’ (from Les Miserables) is a beautiful song. Umm I need one more. I’m pleased with my first two! Do you know what was a really good one? I was in the show. I really liked ‘Raise Your Voice’ from Sister Act! So I’ll take that as my final one. I remember the first time I was in rehearsals and they sang it and it made me cry! So if it made me cry maybe I should take it with me to a desert island! You know when she goes, “Tu Solus Dominus” and then does the high note? I literally went (crying impression), “Oh my god why is this so beautiful”. It was a bit weird, I was like why am I crying?"

Porgy & Bess / RENT

1. 'For Good' from Wicked
2. ‘What About Love?’ / 'I'm Here' from The Color Purple
3. ‘Come to Your Senses’ from Tick, Tick... Boom

"Oh god. I love ‘For Good’ from Wicked, it makes me cry every time. I act it out as well in the dressing room – I put the album on and sing all the parts really badly [laughs]. I’m trying to think what musicals I listen to. This is a hard question! I… would… take… something from Company! This is so hard – my mind has gone blank! Ok, I would take ‘What About Love?’ from The Color Purple. I just love that song, and I do a mash-up of it going to ‘I’m Here’! Can I take a mash-up?! Maybe something from The Last Five Years or Tick, Tick... Boom! Ahh it would have to be ‘Come to Your Senses’ from Tick, Tick... Boom! They’re all girls songs though, shouldn’t I have a boys song in there? It’s hard! I think most male songs in musical theatre are quite macho and boring, it’s sad! Why can’t we have some more sensitive stuff, I do like ‘Being Alive’ but it’s still quite macho."

In The Heights / A Chorus Line

1. ‘Cabaret’ from Cabaret
2. ‘Sweet Transvestite’ from The Rocky Horror Show
3. ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl

"Oh no! [laughs] This is insane! It would have to be… oh my gosh, ahh! Ok, ‘Cabaret’ from Cabaret, because that would keep me perky and sweet and happy, and I could have little private jokes with myself. What else? Ummm… ‘Sweet Transvestite’ from The Rocky Horror Show – it’s an absolute must-have! Ok, what else do I like? It will have to be something from Gypsy because it’s my favourite show. Or what about Sunset Boulevard? Hang on a minute, let me think this out! I think it would have to be ‘Rose's Turn’ from Gypsy. Why not?! Actually that or ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl because I have bored so many casting directors with that song throughout my life. I know it far too well and I think they actually despise me when I sing it in the audition room [laughs]. So yes, I’m going to go with that just because I love singing it."

Enjolras in Les Miserables

1. ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ from Les Miserables
2. ‘The Column’ from Sweet Smell of Success
3. A Little Night Music's prologue

"I would take… oh god! The first one would be from Les Mis… I would take ‘Do You Hear The People Sing’ but the whole section from the ABC CafĂ© with the students into Do You Hear The People Sing because I just love listening to it and don’t think I’ll ever lose love for that music, regardless of how many times I sing it. Number two is a song from a Marvin Hamlisch musical, ‘The Column’ from Sweet Smell of Success. I saw it performed once and immediately thought it was phenomenal! For my last one I would have to take… umm… [laughs]. I would take the prologue from A Little Night Music. I love Sondheim in general but that is one of my favourites!"

Jolene Oakes in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

1. ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ from Kinky Boots
2. ‘The Movie in My Mind’ from Miss Saigon
3. ‘I Think I Got You Beat’ from Shrek

"Oh my god, I read West End Frame all the time and always read this question so know what’s coming… right, let’s do it! I thought about this before but I’ve just changed my mind! First I would take ‘The History of Wrong Guys’ from Kinky Boots which is an amazing Jerry Mitchell musical! I often listen to it on the treadmill! I can run around on the beach on my desert island listening to it! What else? Hmmm, ‘The Movie in My Mind’ from Miss Saigon because it’s just beautiful and if you ever needed a little cry on a desert island it would be perfect! Actually I could cry now just thinking about it [laughs]! Finally… ahh… I like old school musicals as well! Can I choose… ahh! Maybe ‘Always True to You in My Fashion’ from Kiss Me Kate or ‘Wonderful, Wonderful Day’ from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers because I used to listen to that at my nanny’s house and watch it on VHS! Actually neither of them, I’m picking ‘I Think I Got You Beat’ from Shrek, but it has to be Sutton Foster’s version… or Alice Fearn’s!"

West End Frame Award winner for Loserville

1. ‘Taking The Wheel’ from It's Only Life
2. ‘Now and for Always’ from Lord of the Rings
3. ‘Once We Were Kings’ from Billy Elliot

"Right – I’ve prepared! It’s so difficult because you’re not asking what are your three favourite songs – you’re asking which three you would want on a desert island! You’re going to want to listen to something uplifting, something that reminds you of someone and something that makes you cry… and you don’t want to get sick of any of them! It’s also not fair because it would depend what mood I was in! I have to take ‘Taking The Wheel’ from It's Only Life – I would take anything from that album! ‘Now and for Always’ from Lord of the Rings and then finally I’m randomly going to pick a song which makes me feel epic whenever I see it live – ‘Once We Were Kings’ from Billy Elliot. Purely because it’s just so overwhelming when you see it in context. It’s so powerful and whenever I listen to it I can always relate to that moment."

Barbara Castle in Made In Dagenham

1. ‘It’s An Art’ from Working
2. ‘May I Have A Moment?’ from Lend Me A Tenor
3. ‘Move On’ from Sunday in the Park with George

"[gasps] Ok! I’m going to take ‘It’s An Art’ which is the opening number in my cabaret. It’s from a small show called Working by Stephen Schwartz (the musical ran on Broadway for 24 performances and 12 previews starring Patti LuPone). It’s about a waitress and about how she doesn’t want to be a waitress but has to be to pay the bills. There’s an inner diva in there [laughs], are you sensing a theme here?! I would have to take ‘May I Have A Moment?’ (from Lend Me A Tenor) because it was written for me. Finally I think I would actually take ‘Move On’ from Sunday in the Park with George. I did the show last year in Paris and it kind of got under my skin [laughs], I didn’t think it would! It encapsulates everything – if you’re in a quandary you just have to move on with your life and what will be will be."

Ordinary Days / Wicked

1. ‘Take Me to the World’ from Evening Primrose
2. 'Just Arrived' from Copacabana
3. ‘Carrying the Banner’ from Newsies 

"Erm… [laughs] this is hard! I don’t want to embarrass myself! I usually prefer musical theatre duets instead of solos – I don’t know why! I really love ‘Take Me to the World’ from Evening Primrose; it’s a real big duet. I was introduced to it by someone else and love it! My next one is really stagey and my mates are going to laugh at me... it’s 'Just Arrived' from Copacabana. It's a proper big cheesy musical theatre number! It makes me smile [laughs]! It’s one of those songs which really builds, there’s lots of different people singing on different parts of the stage and it builds until they’re all singing over each other to a big finish. My last one is ‘Carrying the Banner’ from Newsies which I’ve loved for years, before it was even a stage musical."

Spamalot / Avenue Q

1. Quintet from West Side Story
2. 'Starlight Express' from Starlight Express
3. 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' from Carousel

"Gosh! This is really difficult! Umm… you’ve thrown me! I think one has to be the Quintet from West Side Story, because for me West Side Story is the most amazing musical ever written. What else? This is going to sound weird… but I’m going to go with Starlight Express because it’s the first show I ever saw. I fell in love with it and it got me into musical theatre. My third one… gosh… 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' from Carousel! It’s such an inspiring song and it’s the first show I ever did with my amateur dramatics society. Whenever I listen to it I get tingles! So there’s my three… I’m not sure whether they’re good choices or not [laughs]?!"

Altar Boyz / Wicked / Mamma Mia

1. ‘I Believe’ from Alter Boyz
2. ‘Moving Too Fast’ from The Last Five Years
3. ‘Once Upon A Time’ from Brooklyn

"Right so I’m going to go for ‘I Believe’ from Alter Boyz because I have to and it is my favourite song in the show. Musical theatre songs… let me think… I’m going to choose ‘Moving Too Fast’ from The Last Five Years and… let’s think of a girl’s song… ‘Once Upon A Time’ from Brooklyn."

Forbidden Broadway / Billy Elliot 

1. ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl
2. ‘One Hand, One Heart’ from West Side Story
3. ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ from The Book of Mormon

"Right… I’m going to take ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ (from Funny Girl) because it’s just a classic, ‘One Hand, One Heart’ because I met my husband on West Side Story and then, because it makes me laugh every time, ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ from The Book of Mormon! It’s filth! I’ve got your classic, a sad one and some comedy. That’s what I need!"

Elphaba in Wicked

1. ‘No One But You’ from We Will Rock You
2. ‘Greased Lightning’ from Grease
3. ‘Hushabye Mountain’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

"Oh god! Musical theatre songs… ok. I would probably take ‘No One But You’ (from We Will Rock You) because I love it and it’s very linked to me, it’ a personal song. I would then take… ummm… I don’t know! This is hard! I need to take something fun and upbeat! Maybe ‘Greased Lightning’ (from Grease) – something camp and funny! Finally I would take ‘Hushabye Mountain’ from Chitty for when I wanted to relax and be emotional."

Associate Choreographer of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels 

1. ‘Raise You Up/Just Be’ from Kinky Boots
2. ‘With You’ from Ghost the Musical
3. ‘Giants in the Sky' from Into The Woods

"I would take ‘Raise You Up/Just Be’ from Kinky Boots just because that’s always going to be inspiring and keep you happy! I would also take ‘With You’ from Ghost the Musical for when I’m feeling a little down, and I would also take… it has to be a classic… oh I know – it would be something from Into The Woods! Maybe Jack’s ‘Giants in the Sky’, you’ve got to have some Sondheim in your life!"

The Return of the Soldier / Wicked

1. ‘I’m Not That Girl’ from Wicked
2. ‘Get Happy’ from Summer Stock
3. ‘All the Wasted Time’ from Parade

"Oh… my… gosh! First of all whilst we’re on Wicked I would have to take ‘I’m Not That Girl’. You’re going to have to give me a wee minute! This is a good challenge! Next let’s go for… something like ‘Get Happy’ (Summer Stock). One more! I’m glad we’re not on a timer! I want to choose something I haven’t been in! I’m think ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’… actually no – maybe ‘Without Love’. Wait I’ve changed my mind! It has to be ‘All the Wasted Time’ from Parade!"

20th Century Boy / From Here To Eternity

1. ‘What is it About Her’ from The Wild Party
2. '20th Century Boy' from 20th Century Boy
3. ‘Bui Doi’ from Miss Saigon

"Wow! Ok… actually this is so tough! I would take ‘What is it About Her’ from The Wild Party (by Andrew Lippa) because it’s probably one of my favourite musical theatre songs. This is hard! I can’t think! Can I take something from my show? Does that count? I would take the title song – 20th Century Boy – because it actually is my all-time favourite rock tune. One more… here we go… I know! ‘Bui Doi’ from Miss Saigon because it’s such a powerful tune, you would need a big anthem with you!"

Guy in Once

1. ‘If I Didn't Believe in You’ from The Last Five Years
2. ‘Again’ by Scott Alan
3. ‘Falling Slowly’ from Once

"Firstly it would have to be ‘If I Didn't Believe in You’ from The Last Five Years. A mate introduced me to it while I was training at LIPA and it was the first time I realised musical theatre didn't have to be jazz hands and split leaps! It's a beautifully real conversation and it's a joy to perform. Then it'd be ‘Again’ by Scott Alan which in my mind is the most perfect song ever written. Finally, I'd choose ‘Falling Slowly’ from Once. In all honesty, I'd probably smuggle the whole Once soundtrack down my swimming trunks!"

Marius in Les Miserables

1. ‘Sunday’ from Sunday in the Park with George
2. ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story
3. ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables

"[laughs] I think you would have to take some classics! It would be very difficult… I think for me all three of them might have to be Sondheim! I would take ‘Sunday’ (from Sunday in the Park with George), maybe something from West Side Story – probably ‘Tonight’. Finally to reminisce I would take ‘One Day More’ (from Les Miserables)."

Swing in Mamma Mia

1. 'Slap That Bass' from Crazy For You
2. 'Astonishing’ from Little Women
3. Starlight Express' finale megamix

"That’s hard! Ok… Crazy For You is my all-time favourite musical as myself and my Dad would sing the whole soundtrack on long car journeys so I would have to take 'Slap That Bass'. Next I would take ‘Astonishing’ from Little Women because I'm one of three sisters so the show touches my heart and the song gives me a boost if I'm 'feeling the pressure'. My final choice is a silly but fun one… the finale megamix from Starlight Express! It's outrageous but would make me smile as Starlight Express was the first musical I ever saw!"

Girl in Once

1. 'Gold' from Once
2. 'I'd Give it All for You' from Songs for a New World
3. 'Season of Love' from Rent

"I would take 'Gold' from Once because it's so gorgeous and moving. Then 'I'd Give it All for You' from Songs for a New World, Jason Robert Brown is a genius! Finally I would take 'Season of Love' from Rent because it’s an amazing reminder that love is what matters most."

Composer / The Confession Room

1. ‘The Juggernaut’ from The Wild Party
2. ‘Legally Blonde’ from Legally Blonde
3. ‘Why God Why’ from Miss Saigon

"I’m taking ‘The Juggernaut’ from The Wild Party (by Andrew Lippa) just because it has the sickest orchestration ever and it just makes you go ‘yeah, this is amazing!’ Then I’m going to take ‘Legally Blonde’ (the ballad) from Legally Blonde. I think the song is beautifully written and I think Laura Bell Bundy sounds amazing on the album. It’s a really well-crafted, beautiful song. Finally I think I’m going to stick in ‘Why God Why’ from Miss Saigon!"

June in Gypsy

1. ‘A Boy Like That / I Have a Love’ from West Side Story
2. ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ from Hairspray
3. ‘Bill’ from Show Boat 

"My goodness me! I would like to take ‘A Boy Like That / I Have a Love’ from West Side Story, then I would take ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ from Hairspray and finally ‘Bill’ from Show Boat because it’s one of my favourites of the standards!"

Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot

1. ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz
2. ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables
3. ‘Quiet’ from Matilda

"I would take ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ without a doubt and it would have to be Judy Garland singing it. I still think it’s one of the most beautiful, uplifting songs. I would take the end of act one from Les Mis, ‘One Day More’, because it’s just rousing and wonderful… and… what else would I take? Gosh! I think something like… hmmm… I know! ‘Quiet’ from Matilda! I would take that, I think it is absolutely wonderful and a brilliantly written song about how you feel as a child."

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