Thursday, 4 July 2019

INTERVIEW: Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky, currently starring in the new UK tour of Grease the Musical

Rhianna-Louise McCaulsky is currently playing the role of Rizzo in the new touring production of Grease the Musical. Her other credits include ensemble & cover Zahara in Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre and ensemble & cover Nabalungi in The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. We caught up with Rhianne-Louise whilst in rehearsals for Grease before she heads out on tour. 

Tell us what we can look forward to in this new production of Grease. 

We’ve got some cool new songs which haven’t been used since the original production, we’ve gone back to the original script and really tried to focus on the truth of the characters. They are working class teenagers growing up in 1950s Chicago and the creative team have really tried to concentrate on that. 

What is it like to be part of a brand new production of Grease, the first of its kind to tour the UK? 

I am so excited about this new production. It’s so nice to be a part of something that we have had the opportunity to mould ourselves. It’s been a very hands on collaborative rehearsal process. I still have to pinch myself sometimes. 

Grease is obviously one of the most well known musicals in the world, but tell us a bit about your exposure with the show prior to getting cast in it. 

My family practically raised me on Grease. That’s why it was so funny that I got the part of Rizzo, because I have been watching it since I can remember. I used to sing ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’ at every opportunity.

You’re pretty fresh from coming off the West End run of Bat Out of Hell, a show which captured fans. How was it to have such a dedicated fan base follow the show?

Bat Out Of Hell will always hold a close place in my heart. The fans are absolutely amazing. They went above and beyond to make us feel loved and appreciated. I owe a lot to them.

Do you hope some of them will come support you on this tour? 

I hope so! That would be lovely to have their continued support. 

Having only graduated in 2016, how do you feel about now playing one of the most iconic female parts in Musical Theatre? 

It really is a dream come true. Rizzo is one of those female roles that I always wanted to play but never thought I would have the opportunity. She is just amazing. I have completely fallen in love with playing her. I find out new things about her every day and Nikolai Foster (director) is so encouraging. 

And after understudying in two West End shows, how does it feel to now have time to make this part your own? 

It feels amazing. I actually sometimes forget. I’ll see my name on a poster or a picture someone might have shared on social media and then I go “hang on, that’s me”. My last two jobs have taught me so much and have definitely moulded me into the actress I am now. 

There’s been many actors who have portrayed Rizzo, where have you drawn inspiration for the role?

It feels amazing to be included amongst so many amazing women who have played Rizzo. Stockard Channing, the original Rizzo, and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, who played her in the West End production, in particular are the two who I have really drawn inspiration from. Not only women who have played Rizzo, but there are several other female characters in musicals and films that I have grabbed little bits of personality traits from.

Is there a venue you’re most looking to on this tour?

I’m so excited to get away on tour as I have always been in London for work. It’s going to be really special visiting different parts of the country with such a special show. I think the venue I’m most looking forward to is Dublin. I can’t wait to grab a Guinness. 

The score is so well known, what is your favourite in the show?

It changes every day to be honest. I’ll go home singing ‘We Go Together’ and wake up with ‘Freddy My Love’ in my head. My favourite song in the show at the moment is ‘Sandy’ and Dan Partridge who plays Danny sings it so beautifully. 

If you had to switch places with anyone in the company and play their role for one night, which one would you chose? 

If I had to switch places with anyone in the company and play their role for one night, I think it would have to be Kenickie. He’s so cool isn’t he?!

In one sentence, tell us why people should come see this production of Grease! 

It’s raw, it’s gritty, but most importantly it’s fun.
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