Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Andrew Wright | Interview


Andrew Wright has become one of the West End's favourite choreographers recently, with productions that have astounded the public. His choreographer credits include Singin' In The Rain (Palace Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre), 42nd Street (Chichester Festival Theatre and The Curve, Leicester), Wonderful Town(National Tour), The Showgirl Within(Garrick Theatre), Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi(Liverpool Playhouse, Union Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) ,By Jeeves(Landor Theatre) and many many more! His performance credits include Scrooge(London Palladium), Mary Poppins (Prince Edward), Anything Goes (Drury Lane), Cats (New London), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Dominion and National Tour), A Chorus Line (Derby Playhouse and National Tour) and many more! His list of credits are endless, a career that anyone would be very jealous of! He was also nominated for an Olivier Award in early 2012 for Singin' in the Rain. Taking time out of very busy life, Andrew had the time to answer a few questions!


How did you first get into Dance?I went to a local dance school in Somerset and also danced at my main school, Millfield. However I didn't start to professionally train until the age of 17 at Arts Ed, London.

Is there any advice you'd give to any aspiring dancers out there?That there is no short cut to success. Put the hours of training in. The more skills you have to offer the better your chance of employment is.

You started out your career as a performer, performing in some of the most memorable shows London has ever seen. Was there any highlight from that side of your career?I was very lucky; I adored my 3 years in Cats and loved playing a knife (!) in Beauty and the Beast! I honestly had a blast in every job; I like to find the positive in everything!

You must have worked with some amazing people during this time, is there anyone that stands out or someone who taught you something you have never forgotten?If I had to pick one person I would say it was Sir Harry Secombe. It was my first professional job from drama school, Pickwick. He was not only a brilliant talent but also the most generous, kind beautiful leader of a company.

After a successful career in Theatre what made you turn to Choreographing?I always wanted to choreograph. Not many people knew but even whilst performing I would be choreographing in the day, small projects. Scrooge at the Palladium was my final performing job, on the last night of that show I packed up my dressing room knowing that was it, it was time!

The turning point in your choreography career was when you were asked to do the Chichester Festival Theatre's production of 42nd Street; following this you got the job of working on Singin' in the Rain. What was it like working on two such huge musicals that everyone knows and loves and how did you add your own touch to it?Hugely daunting! 42nd Street was a huge gift, Chichester took a risk on me. For that I will always be grateful. I was asked to do Singin' in the Rain on our final performance of 42nd Street. I had to keep it secret which I found near impossible! I was over the moon. I tried to approach both shows with respecting their roots but trying to add something new on top.

You've choreographed shows in a variety of spaces including huge West End venues, Thrust stages and smaller venues like The Landor Theatre; in comparison is there anything you prefer or even dislike about any of them?Every space brings its own challenge! It was always a dream to have a show on a West End stage. I still have to pinch myself when walking past the Palace Theatre.

When you approach a new project, how do you go about getting your head round what to do with it?I always start with reading the script, listening to the music over and over until I totally know it inside out. One day an idea will come, perhaps I will see, read something that will jog my mind. From there a show grows.

You had to adapt Singin' in the Rain when the show transferred to the West End because the Chichester Festival Theatre is a thrust stage, did you find this difficult? Were there any challenges?I adored re visiting the show. I came with a huge list of changes and even today I had a rehearsal and made a few tweaks. If you are lucky enough to have a show running for a while you are afforded that luxury!

Singin' in the Rain is running at the Palace Theatre, currently open ended. How do you keep a show like that fresh?We are blessed with a wonderful company who care. I try to go in every other week to note it. We also have a great resident choreographer Gemma Fuller who looks after it beautifully.

You worked on Wonderful Town which finished its tour recently; being a show that a lot of people aren't that familiar with must have been a challenge to re-introduce this show to the public. But how did you go about doing that and bringing it to the modern audience?I must admit it was a challenge making the public aware of it. Such a shame as it is a wonderful show. I am really proud of the tour even if not many people came to see it!

You are now officially one of the best choreographers working at the moment! Have you got any future plans for any new projects?How kind, I have lots planned for 2013 but annoyingly I am not allowed to say what they are. Hopefully Singin' in the Rain will have further productions around the world and I am involved with a big revival next summer!

Are there any musicals you'd love to work on in the future?So many, Anything Goes, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story to name a few!

If you were to start your career again, is there anything you'd do differently?Not really, I tend not to do regrets. We only have one shot at life!

What advice would you give to any aspiring Choreographers?Gosh I'm not sure, I suppose I would say to please not be too good!
 Left to right: Singin' in the Rain (Palace Theatre), 42nd Street (Chichester Festival Theatre), Wonderful Town (UK Tour)
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