Formerly of The Woman in White, Priscilla and Phantom of the Opera – but now terrorising Shaftesbury Avenue as the Demonic Barber Sweeney Todd, read on to find out what happened when I chatted to the marvellous JEREMY SECOMB.
Who or what inspired you to get into the Theatre industry?
I had an amazing music teacher in High School that was a big influence on my singing. But having grown up in the country in Australia I didn’t see my first Professional Musical till I was 22. I was doing an amateur show in my local area and the director was the one that sparked my decision to throw in my 9 to 5 job and move to Sydney and start auditioning for Professional shows.
If you could duet with any West End or Broadway performer – past or present – who would it be and why?
I’m an massive fan of Anthony Warlow’s voice, always have been. So a male duet with him. As for a female duet…….. That would be with Kelli O’Hara. If you haven’t heard her, listen to Jason Robert Browns’ score of The Bridges Of Madison County. She is incredible.
If you could play any role, be it play or musical past or present, what would be your dream role to play and why?
Would have to be Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. When I saw the show I knew nothing about the show. Tim Minchin is a very intelligent/clever guy. It would be so much fun playing the baddie to all those children. I also think I have the legs to pull off the costume – ha ha!
Who are your favourite theatre performers (to watch) on stage?
I love watching performers working really hard. I get a real buzz from it. There is just something about seeing a performer just giving it. I love it. But to single someone out. Bertie Carvel, who I first saw as Leo Frank in Parade at the Donmar Warehouse, absolutely blew my mind. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
What is the best piece of advise you’ve ever been given? And what advice would you give to young performers trying to break into the theatre industry?
I was once told when I first started auditioning that you have to be Think Skinned. You’re gonna come up against a lot of Walls. It’s absolutely true. The biggest thing is learning to handle the No’s. Sometimes you don’t even get a no. You just don’t hear anything at all.
What I would, and do, tell young performers now, is you have to want it. Your heart has to be in it fully. You won’t last if you’re half hearted towards auditions, working and continuing in the industry. If you want it………… Go for it!
You are probably best known for your performances as ‘Piangi’ in the legendary “Phantom Of The Opera”. What was it like to be a part of such an iconic show? And what was the biggest highlight of your time there?
I have a VERY long history with POTO.
It was my first job, in the Australia/New Zealand Tour in 1996. I’ve been in the show on and off for over 10 years now. I’ve played Piangi for 6 years all up in London. So it’s a very special show to me. I love the role of Piangi. I have many great memories of the show. One of the great memories was singing Piangi next to Wendy Fergusons’ Carlotta for the Sitzprobe for the 25th Anniversary. We were both standing in for the Sitzprobe and then Wendy stepped in last minute to play the role for the Concert. She smashed it and I couldn’t have been prouder.
Then I got to play The Phantom for my Brother and his family when they came over to the UK for my wedding last year. That was probably one of my all time career highlights.
Last year, you also played the Lead Role in Tooting Arts Clubs production of Sweeney Todd. Did you ever expect the production to receive the phenomenal response that it did?
Not at all. It was a great cast, director etc…… I nearly didn’t do it. I was in two minds about it. But so glad I did it. It was such a great production to be involved with. It’s a testament to Rachel Edwards, Bill Buckhurst, Ben Cox and the cast and crew. Everyone just jumped into it. And it was such a great experience.
Do you have a favourite moment in the show? or maybe a particular song that you love to perform?
It’s a toss up between The Epiphany. It’s the time when Sweeney just throws all the toys out of the pram! And the Johanna Quartet in the second act. It’s a beautiful piece of music.
In 10 words or less, why should people come and see you, along with all the fantastic cast when Sweeney Todd comes to Shaftesbury Avenue?
Immersive, Intimate, Brilliant, Dark, In your face, Exciting pop-up Theatre!
Finally, 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?
In The Arms Of The Angels – Sarah McLachlan. I’m not religious at all, but I like the sentiment behind this song.
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life – Monty Python. For obvious reasons. It’s a good “Just Keep Going” song.
The Luckiest – Ben Folds. I sang this to my wife on our wedding day.
Cheesy but they all mean something!!!
Having recently visited Jeremy and the whole cast at Tooting Arts Club’s Sweeney Todd on Shaftesbury Avenue, well – there are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to say how good the show was! I couldn’t fault one element of it – and Jeremy in particular makes a truly powerful, menacing Sweeney. Go and see it folks – I swear you won’t regret it!
Get your tickets at http://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/Tickets/SweeneyTodd/SweeneyTodd.asp The show runs until 30th May!
Thank you so much to Jeremy for taking the time to do this interview. Being able to chat to a performer I have such great respect and admiration for is always such an absolute honour that I am truly grateful for.
Signing off for now
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx