After 4 years of not setting foot on a stage, I was invited to take part in a night of British music hall songs at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts, Beverly Hills, and the moment I arrived at the theatre, I realised just how much I have missed live performance. I sang, Burlington Bertie From Bow, and, Don’t Have Any More, Missus Moore.
People always ask me why I am in Los Angeles and not New York if my great passion is theatre but there is method in my madness. 25 years ago, I started out working in London’s West End in, Les Misérables, and I realised that the West End wasn’t creating its own stars any more; they were filling the shows with pop stars and soap stars. Having lost out playing the role of Sandy in, Grease, first to Debbie Gibson and then to Sonia, I decided that I needed to make a name for myself if I was ever going to play a lead in the West End. I sang jazz for 12 years to try and achieve some recognition as a singer and although I was well respected on the jazz circuit, the market was too small for me to achieve wide-spread notoriety. Then the recession hit and a lot of the work I had built up singing over those 12 years, just vanished. This was when I made the move to the States and I chose Hollywood over New York. A strange choice, you may think, but I felt it was more likely that I could raise my profile through TV or film rather than the stage so, LA it was.
I put any theatre work on hold in an attempt to land a role of note in TV or film and that’s still my plan. Having said that, there seems to be more and more TV being cast in New York than when I first came to Los Angeles 7 years ago and a lot of productions which shoot in Vancouver, also cast out of New York so maybe a move to the east coast is on the cards.
The rest of June was spent writing my Hollywood Survival Guide for Actors which is shaping up and hopefully will be finished in the next month or two. What I’ll do with it, I’m not sure. I have realised that a lot of my friends have left Los Angeles and that not too many off us make it work out here so I thought it might be worth sharing my experiences with other actors to help them avoid some of the pitfalls, giving them a chance to keep going.
I also started to volunteer for the charity, Food Forward. Their mission is to fight hunger and prevent food waste by rescuing fresh, surplus produce which they donate to hunger-relief agencies. I’ve picked grapefruits and oranges and in July am signed up to help collect fresh, local produce at farmers’ markets that would otherwise go to waste.
My film of the month is, Rocketman, which is fantastic fun. I’m always interested to learn about the lives of great singers and the film effectively incorporates some excellent, old-fashioned, musical theatre, dance numbers which you don’t often see any more in film. Taron Egerton makes a fantastic Elton, plus I love, Jamie Bell!