Show Boat - Sneak peek and cast interviews

We were shipped over to the Show Boat rehearsal last week to film a sneak peek of the rehearsals and catch up with some of the fantastic cast. Check out our video with Chris Peluso and Gina Beck plus interviews with Emmanuel Kojo and Lucy Briers below:

Get to know Emmanuel Kojo (Joe)

When did you know that you wanted to be a West End star?
I wanted to take Acting serious and decided to go to drama school from around 19. From then on I fell more in love with theatre and film and television. Before that my life consisted mainly around sports which is the career I would have chosen if it wasn't for Acting.

Going to ArtsEd made me want to further myself to the best of my ability but I have been very fortunate and been at the right places at the right time so far in my career, which is a blessing. So the aim and dream was to work in the West End but in all types of work from Shakespeare to Musicals to Film and TV, as it is very important for me to work in as diverse pieces of work that I can.

You landed a role straight out of Drama School in The Scottsboro Boys which was fantastic, what’s life been like since then?
Yes I got the part of Clarence Norris and Understudying the Lead Haywood Patterson whilst I was in my final year at ArtsEd. As soon as I heard it was coming it to the West End I wanted to be part of it as the story moved me very much.

But I have been so fortunate and thankful for that and all the people I got to meet from John Kander to Susan Stroman, then I worked with Opera North and then Showboat in Sheffield. So I have been spoiled in the type of work I have been able to be part of, I find every single job so far has something really special about it and I am proud to be part of it.

With so many performances each week, do you have any special routines to keep your voice so strong?
I have a set of warm ups that I still have from my singing teacher from ArtsEd but also from David White our Musical Supervisor on Showboat. And I think general health looking after you're body itself. Steaming as much as I can, but also if I am feeling vocally tired, I always have some honey lemon and ginger and some whiskey, always helps.

Do you have any funny backstage stories you can tell us?
I think one of the best one's was a moment in Act 2 where due to costume malfunction Lucy Briers was left on stage for quite some time. So she improvised for a good while regarding southern Ice tea and so on, before the show had to be stopped by Stage Management. One of my favourite moments, but definitely one of many in Sheffield.

Can you tell us something people don’t know about you?
I was born in Ghana, I lived there for 7 years before moving to Austria for 7 years and then moving to Manchester at 14. So I have only been in England for nearly 11 Years.

Get to know Lucy Briers (Parthy)
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If you could perform on stage with anyone in the world who would it be and why?
It would be very exciting to work with Glenda Jackson. I have always admired her approach to her roles and the utter integrity she brings to the work and the industry as a whole. I would love to watch her in rehearsals and learn all I could from her.

What research did you do to play Parthy?
I’m very much a believer in going back to any source material. So I started my research with the original novel, Show Boat, by Edna Ferber. It was incredibly useful for filling in all the back story about Parthy and Captain Andy, while also giving me a real sense of the daily routine of the boat and the lives they all led.

Why should people come to see Show Boat?
A lot of the musicals on offer today are ‘juke box’ musicals, like the brilliant Mama Mia for example. What is different about Show Boat is that it is character driven, rather than song driven. The sign of a good musical is when the songs seem to just burst out of the characters because they can’t express themselves any other way, and that is definitely the case with Show Boat. It is also exciting to see a musical which is nearly 100 years old being redefined for a 21st century audience. Daniel Evans has faced the race issues this musical explores with a very fresh and keen eye, while creating an evening where you will be laughing, crying and tapping your feet.

What’s your favourite musical of all time and why?
That’s a very difficult one as I have so many favourites. I guess I will say West Side Story as that was the first LP I ever bought at the age of 12, and it blew my mind. Like Show Boat, it was ground breaking. Why do I love it so much? Taking Romeo and Juliet as its inspiration it shifted the action to a down and dirty neighbourhood of NYC and gave these street kids vulnerability, needs, ambitions and the ability to sing like angels. Brilliant stuff.

Can you tell us something people don’t know about you?
Summer makes me depressed. Too much light. My nearest and dearest think I must have been a vampire in a former life…

Get tickets for Show Boat from £19.50

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