During July, the 80s feel-good musical Mad On Her will tour 4 fringe UK venues including Liverpool Lantern Theatre (July 14), The Solway Hall, Whitehaven (July 15) and Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate, London (July 17). The July 16 date at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester is already sold out.
Mad On Her follows the story of Donna and Tina who party through the nightlife and drama of 1985.
Donna, ambitious and stylish, is climbing the ladder of success. Finding ‘Mr Right’ is the last thing on her mind – little does she know he could be just around the corner. Tina, with her big hair and big heart, is the disco diva of the boulevard. As Donna’s best friend she sets out to play cupid.
Newport actress Phoebe Rose White, who recently played Mimi in Rent for Two Box productions and featured on The Dreamers original cast album, will Co-Star in the UK tour of Mad on Her playing the role of Brandi. Andy Howells recently spoke to the rising stage star about her current role.
Was been in musical theatre always your dream?
I’ve been involved with musicals ever since I can remember. I was in Stagecoach at a young age and took part in every school play – I think my first role was a camel with in the Nativity! In secondary school I focused more on my grades until I played Maria in our School’s production of West Side Story when I was 16, and then that was it, I caught the theatre bug again! From then on I focused all my energy on getting into drama school and it was my dream to study in London.
You are from Newport originally, were you involved in many local groups / productions as you were growing up?
Apart from School productions, I performed with the Greater Gwent Youth choir in venues like St David’s Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, and the Royal Albert Hall. I also was a member of WAWWA: The Musical Youth for a few years. That was such a special time in my life. I learned so much about professionalism and how to conduct yourself whilst in a company. The support I had from the creative team there was amazing too. We performed in shows in the Dolman Theatre, most notablyThe Music Man and Footloose.
What was your first professional role?
Whilst in college, we were lucky enough to take part in professional concerts and shows that took place in West End theatres, which was an incredible experience, but my first job out on my own after college was a pantomime tour of Aladdin in which I played Aladdin. It was a really great experience in learning what touring is like – you never quite get used to performing a high intensity show to hundreds of kids at 9am!
You played Mimi in Rent, where was that and what did you enjoy most about that role?
I recently performed in a run of Rent at the Two Brewers in Clapham, London. Playing Mimi was a big tick off my list (I used to watch my DVD of Rent on repeat when I was in school) so there was a big pressure I’d put on myself to get it right. The music of Rent is beautiful, so I enjoyed getting to sing the score every night, but what I really enjoyed was the intensity of the role. Mimi goes from a very happy, carefree place, to her rock-bottom in the space of two hours, and so I put a lot of work into making sure that it was believable, authentic and that people could relate.
You’re currently starring in the UK production of Mad On Her, what can you tell us about the show?
Mad On Her is a brand new 80s Musical, about Donna, who is climbing the career ladder to success and will let no man get in the way of her dreams- until new guy on the block Ricki turns up on the scene, The musical is a fabulously fun show set in a nightclub wrapped in everyone’s favourite 80s classics. It’s an all-singing, all-dancing and acting musical with a starburst of energy and 80s flavouring!!
Tell us about your role in Mad On Her and whats your favourite part of the show?
I play Brandi, one of the IT girls in town and one of Donna’s best friends. She is fun loving and is never seen without a touch of glam and perfection. She loves all her girls and will always put her friends first. I’ve always LOVED the 80s, from the music to the fashion, so playing this role will be an absolute blast! The songs are fantastic and the choreography is insane! I’m also covering Donna for the run, so it’ll be a great experience getting to learn two very different parts!
How long will you be continuing with the show for?
The show runs until the 17th July in 4 UK venues with our final night being in London. However there is a huge potential to take this show further and that’s such an exciting possibility. I love being involved with the very start of something and seeing where it will take us!
Do you get back to Wales much and will you be returning in a production anytime soon?
I’m very family-oriented and so try my best to get back to Wales around once a month to see my Family and friends. I’ve been lucky enough to tour Wales twice with two different shows, and also shot 2 short films in Cardiff last summer, which was fantastic. I’d love to perform again in Wales soon – fingers crossed!
- You can find full Mad On Her tour dates and information at www.madonhermusical.com
- A version of this Q&A by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus on June 18, 2016