Written by Becky Mary (@beckyymary) talking to Josh Benson (Tommo), Ben Hunter (Danny), Victoria Blackburn (Ensemble), Alexandra Burns (Swing Cover) and Tyler Smith (Swing Cover) as younger members of The Girls, currently playing at Phoenix Theatre London.
Thanks guys for coming and doing this would you all introducing yourselves?
Tyler: Hi I am Tyler and I am a Swing and Understudy.
Alex: Hi I am Alexandra and I am a Swing and Understudy too.
Josh: Hi my names Josh and I play Tommo.
Ben: Hi I’m Ben and I play Danny.
Victoria: Hi my name’s Victoria and I am an ensemble member and understudy.
So how was the casting process to get into your current role?
Tyler: We had a lovely casting director her name was Sarah Burn; she was really lovely. It is always nervous going to auditions but soon as I went into the audition room with Sarah she put me right at ease which was really nice. I did a couple of songs and a couple of reading bits and some stuff they sent us to prepare beforehand, just so we were prepared like the normal things you learn in drama school. I went in and just did the best job I could off.
What is it like working with such a female based company?
Josh: It’s like having 6 mothers!
Ben: I think it’s good as well because there are not many roles for middle aged women, like leading roles in the west end. So it is great to be a part of that and they all take care of you and you learn a lot of things. I was having a conversation with one of the ladies’ backstage the other day and I looked down and she was completely naked! And just thought this is wrong!
How did you get into acting?
Josh: I went and saw Billy Elliot at the Victoria palace and the actor that was playing Rod was on as the brother Tony. That made me want to start dancing so I started dancing and that was it and then I went through doing amateur theatre, doing loads of amateur theatre in York from the age of about 8-9 until I was about 12 when an advert came up for a telly job and I did it got a job, from that I got an agent and then it spiralled from there.
Ben: I was the same I went and saw the Lion King and loved it and then I did National Youth Theatre and Hull youth theatre and got and agent then got this job.
Alex: I was young probably about 5-year-old and saw a production Annie and thought yep I want to do that. I was lucky I went to a school that happened to be a performing arts school, so they were always doing productions every year and different things. Then at 18 when I left school I auditioned for drama school and went to drama school and got an agent from there and started auditioning from there really.
Tyler: I was about 8-9 and was decided what you want to be and I decided I wanted to be an actor thinking it was a wealthy, constant sustainable job how wrong I was. So I went to drama clubs in Scarborough, like rounder’s in Scarborough. I then went off to Drama school like Alex and got an agent from there and went from there basically.
Victoria: My mum was an actress and did a lot in the west end and touring stuff so from an early age I was always interested in it. I was always surrounded by it but my mum didn’t force me to do it because it is such a hard industry, so my mum was like it is okay to go to univeristy and do something different like english or something. I kind of fell into it and loving it. I went to classes at sylvia young theatre school on a Saturday and ended up auditioning for Royal academy of Music and I did a course there.
So what drama schools did you all go to?
Tyler: I went to London College of Music.
Alex: I went to Royal academy of Music.
Victoria: I also went to Royal academy of Music.
Josh: It is important to remember though that you don’t always need to have a degree we have a big mix in the cast and if I wanted to I could go and do a degree at a later point in my life like my first line in the show ‘You’re never too old’.
And finally can you talk about how you all gel together as an ensemble?
Alex: Tyler and I had a really different experience as we were hired in march 2 months after everyone else had started.
Tyler: So it was weird coming in because everyone was already formed.
Josh: Yeh me and Ben had already been together dince the start of the show in 2015. I always tell the story about we were buying stuff for press night in Top Man and how we saw this girl and we basically were just like our characters in the show like the best of friends.
We just have such a great relationship with everyone and like even with the lady, Claire Machin who plays Cora are the same as it is on stage. This company is very very close , what you see on stage is very real. I think that possibly because of the style of the show because its very real and close friendships.
Victoria: I think also we were very lucky that because a lot of our cast wanted to take us under their wing and look after us almost like we are their adopted children.
Thank you guys for answering our questions and for your time.
If you would like to see The Girls Musical before it closes on th 15th of July here is the link for booking tickets : https://www.thegirlsmusical.com/