Monday, 14 October 2019

INTERVIEW: Emma Kingston, about to star in London Musical Theatre Orchestra's A Night At The Musicals

Emma Kingston has just finished playing the title role in the international touring production of Evita, under the direction of original director Hal Prince. She is also about to star in A Night at the Musicals on tour starting with the Royal and Derngate in Northampton on 22nd October. Her other credits include Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre); Naomi in 21 Chump Street (Tristan Bates Theatre); Vanessa in In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse); Clara in The Light in the Piazza (Bernie Grant Arts Centre); Ensemble/cover Éponine in Les Misérables (Queens Theatre); Diva 1 in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Miss Lynch/cover Jan in Grease (UK tours); Honeymoon in Vegas (London Palladium) and Something Wonderful (Royal Festival Hall).

You’re appearing in A Night at the Musicals with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra on tour very soon, tell us a bit about how this opportunity came about for you. 

I have had some amazing opportunities to work with LMTO previously. It all started around 3 years ago when I went to my first LMTO Playthrough, now called “SITZ” . Since then Freddie and I have worked a lot together, one thing being my solo cabaret at Zedels, he was my MD. So when he asked if I was available for this concert, I jumped at the chance.

Tell us a bit about this upcoming show, A Night at the Musicals. 

It’s going to be a musical extravaganza. All your favourite contemporary musical pieces in one show with a 30 piece orchestra.

What kind of songs can we expect you to sing at London Musical Theatre Orchestras A Night at the Musicals? 

You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out! 

And how do you feel about singing some of those fabulous songs with a full orchestra? 

I cannot wait! There is no better sound for me that an orchestra getting in tune right at the top of a show, so to be able to perform with these incredible musicians is a dream.

You most recently played the title role in the International Tour of Evita, this prod lion was based on the original West End production. How was it to play that huge part and recreate the original production? 

It was incredible. I had the opportunity before started the show to meet and chat with the late great Hal Prince. We sat in this office and New York and deeply discussed the show and role. I feel so incredibly lucky to have met and spent time with such a theatrical legend. His production is definitive and I felt honoured to be a small part of the show’s and Hals legacy.

When trying to bring your Eva to life, where did you draw inspiration from and what kind of research did you do? 

I loved researching this show. My Mum and her family are from Buenos Aires. My Grandpa was a teenager during the Peronist era in Argentina, so I had my family to talk to as people who experienced the time first hand. I also went back to Buenos Aires before starting the show. I had been before to spend time with family, but it was brilliant to go back and really dive into researching Eva. Aside from reading countless books, I went to her foundation house, I re visited the Casa Rosada. It felt amazing to literally walk in her footsteps.

We’ve recently interview both Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and Eve
Polycarpou who appeared in In the Heights alongside you, both talked about how incredible the experience was for them. Do you have fond memories from the show? 

That show changed my life. I loved every single person on that show, from cast to crew to creatives and producers. We were and still are a family. We felt in the room when we were rehearsing that we were performing a magical piece. It was a really special time and one that I hold so close to my heart. 

And if I remember correctly, you went in as an emergency cover when it was in the Kings Cross Theatre. Tell us a bit about how you were contacted and what the process was for that. 

Yes! July 2016. I was doing some teaching on a Tuesday morning and I had just finished and was on my way to the gym. Around 1.30pm the MD Phil calls me saying “what are you up to this afternoon?” I said oh just the gym. I assumed he wanted to go for a coffee. But then that was the end of that conversation. About 5 minutes later Paul Taylor Mills called me saying “Matinee starts in just over an hour, get to Kings Cross now.” I raced home, picked up my ballroom shoes (which had been tucked away since the production at Southwark) my make up bag and a bra and headed to Kings Cross. After a 40 minute rehearsal with the incredible and wonderful cast especially Alex Sarmiento and Jocasta Amgill, I was on! 

You have such amazing variety in your CV; from modern shows like Priscilla and In the Heights to more classic shows such as Les Misérables and The Light in the Piazza. Upon reflecting on your career, how has it been to have such diversity in your work? 

I love being able to cross over into different genres. I don’t like to be put in a box and labelled as only being able to do one thing. As actors we are chameleons. We have the ability to change and adapt and that’s what I love about acting. I hope I can continue to have a diverse career, stretch into plays, television and new work. I love it all. 

And looking back at the shows you’ve done, do any of them hold any special memories in particular to you? 

When I was growing up, the Les Miserables 10th anniversary concert at the Albert Hall was my favourite thing to watch. I wanted to be Lea Salonga when I grew up. The first time I went on for Eponine in Les Mis, I started singing “On My Own” looked out into the auditorium and just thought, “WOW” I’m in Les Mis and i’m playing Eponine. It was completely surreal and a feeling I’ll never ever forget. 

In one sentence, tell us why everyone should come along to see A Night at the Musicals on tour. 

There is something in this show for everyone. Epic music played by an epic orchestra and sung by fantastic vocalists! 

And do you have anything planned for after the tour of A Night at the Musicals? 

Keep an eye on my socials, always things cooking. @emkingston
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