LSC girls touring with Broadway's classic 'Funny Girl'
Funny Girl was originally made memorable by Barbara Streisand in her break through lead role, Fanny Brice. Barbara notably released the single 'People' prior to opening, leaving audiences clambering to get tickets to see the show! The original production was nominated for eight Tony Awards and the cast recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004. Streisand went on to reprise her role in the 1966 West End production, as well as in the film adaptation of the musical which was released in 1968, and for which Barbara won high acclaim recieving the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best actress that year.
Above: Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl at The Savoy Theatre last year
Following a sold-out revival at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2015, Funny Girl returned to the West End in 2016, this time with actress Sheridan Smith in the starring role. More recently, due to high demand, the production is setting off on a national tour; taking in 22 cities across the UK. The tour has kick-started this week in Manchester with the cast and creatives featuring LSC alumni Rebecca Howell (Associate Choreographer), Abigail Honeywill (Swing) and Samantha Wingfield (Ensemble).
Above: Rebecca Howell (left), Abigail Honeywill (middle) and Samantha Wingfield (right)
Rebecca Howell has built up an array of choreographer and associate choreographer credits, working alongside choreographers such as Lynne Page. She has worked commercially for the likes of the Pet Shop Boys and Ellie Goulding as well as vastly in the theatre world on productions such as; An American Psycho, Oh! What a Lovely War, Viva Forever! and Billy Elliot to name a few. Abigail Honeywill has recently finished a run as ensemble in the revival of Grease at the Leicester Curve Theatre and toured last year with Guys and Dolls across the UK and internationally. Samantha Wingfield has just returned from Disneyland Paris after originating the role of Elsa in the Mickey and the Magician show at the Walt Disney Studios Park. Before that Samantha has worked internationally with Jean Ann Ryan productions as a lead singer.
Above: Samantha in Mickey and the Magician at Walt Disney Studios Park
We caught up with Samantha while the cast were rehearsing in London to see how excited she was to be part of the production:
LSC: What are you most looking forward to?
Samantha: This is actually my first job as a 'dancer'. I have been a singer in all of my other professional jobs so far so I am actually looking forward to dancing everyday! This is also my first UK tour so I can't wait to get on the road and perform to different types of audiences every week.
LSC: What skills did you have from your training at LSC that has helped you while auditioning for the role?
Samantha: I definately learnt a lot from Seedtime Music Theatre Company in 3rd year, especially on the singing element of the audition process. I actually sang one of the songs for the audition that I did in third year with Matthew Shaw (Artistic Director). This show has jazz, tap and pointe work in it and I think at LSC we were especially lucky to have tap classes every week throughout the three years as tap seems to be becoming more and more popular in current music theatre shows.
LSC: What are you most enjoying about the rehearsal process?
Samantha: I am enjoying watching the show come together and seeing the team work together to create somthing great. It is amazing to watch them work. Rebecca Howell, who taught me at LSC, is our assistant choreographer on the production and is incredible. I am learning so much from the rehearsal process just by watching.
LSC: How would you describe and LSC performer?
Samantha: It is nice, because where ever you go, whether that be in work or at auditions, there will always be someone from LSC. Sometimes you may not have known them during training but you already have that connection with them and it makes you feel at ease to know that there is someone else there. So I would say LSC performers are always friendly and we have each other's backs.
LSC: What was the best thing about training at London Studio Centre?
Samantha: The best thing about training at LSC was definitely our 3rd year specialist Company experience. To be able to have workshops with West End performers every week was just amazing, and I have done many of the routines I did in 3rd year in auditions since graduating! Many of the people who would come in to teach were also LSC graduates and it is always comforting to know that there are graduates woking, to meet them and take advice from them as I think it keeps you motivated. It was also great to have agents come in and audition us. We were so lucky to have private auditions as not many colleges do and it really does help you kick start your career. The experiecne of performing in Dance Overture at The New Wimbledon Theatre is great for us as many professional productions perform there and it gives you a glimpse of what working professionally could be like.
LSC: What advice do you have for performing arts students who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Samantha: My only advice is to keep going. It is a very hard industry to be in and you have to be focused on what you want. I would advise to watch as many shows as you can and keep active, even when you are not working as this will keep you motivated. And most of all enjoy it, enjoy every audition that you go to. You have to be prepared to be told no, as you will get more no's than you will yes' but it is worth all the sweat and tears, I promise!...All the best!
Tickets are nearly sold out across the tour, so buy quickly if you want to catch our LSC girls in action.