Blue Eyed Girl interviews . . . Geronimo Rauch

 

It is an absolute honour for me to announce that my next interviewee is the phenomenal talent that is Geronimo Rauch.

After training in his native Argentina, Geronimo’s array of theatre credits include Mary Sunshine in “Chicago“, Jesus in “Jesus Christ Superstar” (Spain and Argentina), Doody in “Grease“, and most recently, he has just finished a near 3 year run as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables“, both in Spain and at London’s Queens Theatre.

Geronimo has now taken up the epic challenge of becoming “The Phantom” in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary production of “The Phantom of the Opera” at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Despite his extremely busy schedule, I considered it an absolute honour that Geronimo – who is one of my favourite West End performers – was able to sit down and answer my questions about Les Miserables, facing challenges, Miss Saigon, and the freedom wearing a certain, very famous Mask can bring . . .

Tell us a little known fact about yourself – something we wouldn’t know by looking at you

That I usually don’t know what would be an interesting answer to this question. 🙂

Who or what inspired you to get into the Theatre Industry?

It was definitely the 10th Aniversary concert of Les Miserables and especially Colm Wilkinson and Lea Salonga. Then I started researching and I could say that Anthony Warlow was an inspiration.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? And what has been the biggest obstacle you have faced?

There has been many life changing moments in my life as a performer. But I could definitely say that my first show as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar – Spain and my first performance as Valjean in the West End. 

The biggest obstacle was after we dissolved my band Mambru and I couldn’t get any work opportunities in Argentina.

If you had to choose any 3 songs from any genre as the soundtrack to your life so far, what would they be and why?

The first time I heard Bohemian Rhapsody, I couldn’t really understand what sort of transformation I was going through. Then I realised that I was destined to become an artist because of that song.

Honrar La Vida” from Eladia Blazquez is an amazing song and “Hey Jude” by The Beatles because I remember my father singing it.

If you could play any role, be it play or musical, past or present, what would be your dream role to play and why?

There are a few on my list: –  Jekyll and Hyde, Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and John in Miss Saigon (I’ve always wanted to sing Bui Doi!)

VIDEO: Watch Geronimo perform the enchanting “Till I Hear You Sing” from Love Never Dies – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba83yLD3NWI

 You are probably best known for your stunning performance as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables”, both in London and in Spain. What were the biggest things you learnt from your experience in such a legendary production?

I learnt how to do 8 shows a week, how to train and prepare for the challenge every day. I learnt a lot from my colleagues and directors. The most important thing is that I made amazing friends.

Speaking of legendary productions, you have recently taken on the role of The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera.” What new challenges has this role presented to you that you have not faced before?

Valjean had many things that I could see reflected from my own personality. The amazing thing about the Phantom is that I put on my mask and I’m a different person so I can go on stage and play. It’s a total joy and my feelings and performances change every night.

(Geronimo as the Phantom with Sofia Escobar as Christine.


The biggest challenge is to sing “Music of the Night.” I never thought that song could be so hard to perform. It´s not only about the music, its about the words and the connection between Christine and the Phantom. Thank God I have two amazing Christines (Harriet Jones and Olivia Brereton) that make my life easier. 

Do you have a favourite moment in the show? Or maybe a particular song that you love to perform?

Definitely The Point of No Return! It has tango, passion and it’s lovely to sing.

What would you say makes your Phantom different from those who have worn the mask previously?

I don´t know. Let’s ask the audience this question! Ha ha ha ha!

If you could give one piece of advice to your 13 year old self – what would you say?

I started this career very late and ignored my vocation when I was a child. But I could definitely say STUDY, prepare yourself and also study an instrument! (I’m a very bad musician ha ha ha!)

I have to say – having seen Geronimo perform as the Phantom live and in person, that it was one of the most spectacular performances that I have ever seen in my favourite show. He performs the role with such passion, power and beauty that his mind-blowing talent must be seen by everyone – and I’m not ashamed to say I cried like a baby! Read more of my thoughts on Geronimo and the rest of the new cast of Phantom of the Opera at http://www.westendframe.com/2013/11/guest-blog-new-casts-at-les-mis-and.html

You can also follow Geronimo on Twitter @geronimorauch, or over on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Geronimo-Rauch/39976406687 

For more details on Phantom of the Opera, as well as information on tickets, check out http://www.thephantomoftheopera.com/london

I must say thank you to Geronimo for taking time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to answer my questions – it has been an absolute dream for me to interview one of my favourite performers and I can only hope Geronimo and his phenomenal talent continues to light up the Theatre World for many years to come.

Signing off for now,

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

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Blue Eyed Girl interviews . . . Phantom of the Opera’s Harriet Jones

 

The next interviewee in my Inspirational Women of the Theatre Industry series is Harriet Jones.

Harriet recently made her West End debut as the alternate Christine Daae in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s legendary “Phantom of the Opera” at the beautiful Her Majesty’s Theatre, London.

After the beginnings of a blossoming Opera career, Harriet has now made the step into Musical Theatre, which she discussed with me, as well as her inspirations, settling into Phantom, and “Fat Bottomed Girls” . . .

Tell us a little known fact about yourself – something we wouldn’t know by looking at you
I love open water swimming. I grew up by the sea in Sussex and used to swim lots as a child. If I come across some water on my travels, I can’t help jumping in!

Who or what inspired you to get into the Theatre industry?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. A lot of my childhood memories are of dance competitions and music festivals. There were so many happy moments and also plenty of tears when I didn’t win! I have always loved performing and have been very fortunate to be part of institutions like the Royal College of Music where you can work with the most amazing people from the industry. So I guess there have been loads of inspirational people and events along the way.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far? And what has been the biggest obstacle you have faced?
Phantom is my first contract and there’s no doubt that it’s the highlight of my career so far. I have never felt so happy as when the team called me up after the 5 weeks of auditions and asked if I would take on the role of alternate Christine.
 
The biggest obstacle was making the decision to pursue a career in music. I was studying Theology in Dublin after I left school and when I found out I had got in to the RCM, I really wasn’t sure whether to accept. It felt like a big risk and there’s always the possibility of failure. I knew I loved to sing and I hate turning down opportunitiesdecision made!
If you had to choose any 3 songs from any genre as the soundtrack to your life so far, what would they be and why?
The first would be Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’. It reminds me of the journey to school when my Dad and I would sing at the top of our voices. We used to listen to their songs over and over again and never get bored.
The second is the trio ‘Suave sia il vento’ from Mozart’s ‘Cosi fan Tutti’. It means a great deal to me because I was asked to sing it at a great friend’s funeral. It is so simple and beautiful. It makes me cry every time.
The third is Otis Redding’s ‘Sitting on the Dock of the Bay’. It brings back so many memories and his voice sends shivers down my spine. It’s a great song to listen to when life gets a bit much.
What is your must-see West End show (other than your own!) at the moment?
When I first moved to London I was taken to see ‘War Horse’ at the National. I was totally blown away by the skill and beauty of the puppets and actors. It’s definitely worth a visit but take tissues!
You have recently taken on the role of Christine Daae in the legendary “The Phantom of the Opera”. How does it feel to be a part of such an iconic show?
It’s an incredible feeling. My family finds it really funny because when I was 15, I was going through a grumpy teenager phase. My parents were despairing and so took me to London to a Musical to try and inspire me – they took me to Phantom! I was totally in awe and sat there in complete silence. I never dreamt then that ten years later I would be playing Christine Daae.

When I got home, I ordered the book and became hooked on the story of the Phantom of the Opera. I still think it is the most amazing story and I’m really grateful to be part of a wonderful production.
Has settling in to the show been made easier by having the lovely Sofia Escobar and Olivia Brereton to show you around?
Definitely! Sofia very kindly let me shadow her backstage before my first night so that I could be sure of the off stage journeys and quick costume changes. Liv is an absolute joy to be around and I only wish the three of us could spend more time together. Unfortunately we are hardly ever in the theatre at the same time.
If you could duet with any West End or Broadway performer – past or present – who would it be and why?
Noel Coward. No better way to learn than by working with a genius.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never turn down an opportunity.

Also I love Joanna Lumley’s advice to school girls: ‘Never be bored. Find something to do…and don’t yawn.’
In 10 words or less, why should people come and see you, along with all the new cast members at Phantom of the Opera?
This beautiful and tragic love story won’t fail to move you!

Thank you so much to Harriet for answering my questions. Having seen her perform live recently for the first time, alongside the sublime Geronimo Rauch (who has to be one of, if not THE BEST Phantom I have ever seen!), I can truly say that Harriet has the most beautiful voice and her portrayal of Christine is truly wonderful! Get down to see her at Her Majesty’s as soon as you can!!!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Show your support for the brilliant Se7enDaysinDecember (1st to 8th December)

Just a quick shout-out for a truly wonderful fund-raising event coming up soon!

After the wonderful success of Se7enDaysinJune, which raised lots of money for St Ann’s Hospice in Manchester, my dear friend Selena is back with Se7enDaysinDecember.

This time, the auction is raising money for The Christie NHS Foundation Trust – who are leading experts in cancer care, research and education. They have been pioneering cancer research breakthroughs for over 100 years and remain committed to helping all those affected by cancer. You can find out more about this fantastic cause over at http://www.christie.nhs.uk/

Great mystery surrounds the lots to be auctioned on this occasion – but I have no doubt they will be totally spectacular!

The lots will be published on Twitter and on their special Facebook account on 30th November. Bidding will then start on the 1st December via eBay and will last for 7 days.

You can keep up to date with all the details on Twitter @se7endaysindecember – keep your eye out for links to the Facebook and eBay sites!

I really hope you can all, once again, show your love and support for this amazing event – I know I certainly will be!

Much love to all my lovely readers 🙂

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

The NEW Casts at Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera – My Thoughts

(Phantom picture from www.londontheatredirect.com, Les Mis picture from www.ticketmaster.co.uk)  

As a Theatre lover – and a proud one at that – nothing makes me happier than to see such a wide range of new shows, be it plays or musicals, coming into the West End, particularly at the moment. With such a diverse range as The Commitments, Strangers on a Train, The Light Princess and Once, as well as many more on the horizon, it looks like the theatre industry will be thriving for many years to come.

But one of the key ingredients of a thriving theatre industry for me is that all of this new ‘wonderfulness’ is balanced out by the long running classics – the shows which have been running for many years and continue to bring in the audiences night after night.

For me, two shows that fall firmly into this category are “Les Miserables” and “The Phantom of the Opera“, which I am proud to say I have seen 12 and 20 times respectively. I have been lucky enough to visit these shows within the past few months, both having been through recent major cast changes, as I was eager to see what a plethora of new talent had to offer.
 
 
Thank you so much to Andrew over at West End Frame for yet another fantastic opportunity – I am truly humbled and forever grateful that I get a chance to write about a true passion of mine, but to have the chance to write about my two favourite shows is just completely overwhelming! I can only hope my love for these two epic productions comes across in the feature.
 
Signing off for now
 
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Matilda – Saturday 26th October 2013

 
A recent achievement of mine – and one of which I am very proud of – is that I was asked to write the first ever review of MATILDA THE MUSICAL for the rather marvellous West End Frame.
 
So, on a recent London trip – which you all know I adore so much – I made my third visit to the Cambridge Theatre to once again see why sometimes, “you’ve got to be a little bit naughty!”  . . .

Take one of the most well known children’s stories of all time, add in the stunning book by Dennis Kelly and the lyrical genius of Aussie comic Tim Minchin and one of the most versatile companies currently in the West End – and what do you get?
 
Starting life as an RSC production in Stratford Upon Avon and moving to London’s Cambridge Theatre in October 2011, the success of Matilda continues to grow by the day. Not content with a plethora of Olivier Awards, and transferring the show to huge success on Broadway, tickets to this outstanding show continue to be like goldust to theatregoers around the world, and after a recent visit – my third in total – it is very easy to see why.
 
Read the review in full at http://www.westendframe.com/2013/11/Review-Matilda.html#more

Massive shout out to the awesome Andrew Tomlins over at West End Frame for asking me to write this review – what a fantastic afternoon it was! I hope it isn’t too long before another opportunity to write for you comes along 🙂

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Thriller Live! – Sunday 27th October 2013

(Picture from www.ticketmaster.co.uk)


On my recent trip to London, I was very lucky to see several shows for the first time – which for me, is quite an achievement!

Take a look at my thoughts on my first ever trip to see THRILLER LIVE in the review I wrote for www.londontheatre1.com  . . .

The music of Michael Jackson is very recognisable. No matter what your age you will have come across some of the greatest pop music ever written or a current artist that has been directly influenced by the “King of Pop”.

Thriller Live – currently rocking the house at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue celebrates this fact by taking its audiences on a journey through all of Jackson’s classic tracks. From the earliest hits of the Jackson 5 (complete with a young MJ), to the phenomenon of the “Thriller” album, all the way to his most recent smash-hits, there is a song for everyone in this energetic concert spectacular.

Read the review in full over at http://www.londontheatre1.com/index.php/53543/review-of-thriller-live-at-the-lyric-theatre/

I must say a huge thanks to Neil for giving me the chance to write the review for him – an absolute honour!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

The Light Princess – Tuesday 29th October 2013

 
One of the most exciting parts of my recent London trip was my first ever visit to the National Theatre. It is a building that I had always walked past and been extremely curious about – but I had never gone as far as to buy a ticket.
 
I decided to rectify this situation on this trip – as I booked tickets to see the new musical THE LIGHT PRINCESS, starring the beautiful Rosalie Craig. Have a look at my review . . .


The Light Princess has all the ingredients of a classic fairy tale: a prince and princess, villains, monsters, magic, and a journey that will leave you on the edge of your seat before reaching its exciting conclusion. But believe me, this is like no fairy tale you will have ever seen before!

Read the review in full at http://www.londontheatre1.com/index.php/53558/review-of-the-light-princess-at-the-national-theatre/

Once again, many thanks to Neil over at www.londontheatre1.com for giving me such a fantastic opportunity to review such a unique show. I am eternally grateful for the chance he has given me and I can only hope that another opportunity like this will arise at some point in the future.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx