Monday, 30 December 2019

Best Understudy and Cover Stories of 2019

Standbys, understudies, alternates and swings are integral to the running of a show. They save the day on a daily bases all around the country in all kinds of shows. In a time where some shows champion their covers on social media and in the actual theatres, some shows still restrict the cast members on the publication of dates and information about their cover dates. But to prove how incredible they actually are, we looked back at the past year with our friends at @WestEndCovers and put together a list of the Best Understudy and Cover stories of 2019!  

"This year the recognition for standbys and alternates has been greater than any before. Some newer shows with smaller casts like Six, Come From Away and Dear Evan Hansen rely on their standbys (who do not perform unless on for one of their cover roles) and alternates (who weekly scheduled shows as their cover) rather than the more common understudy and swing model for shows with a larger ensemble. The difference is that understudies may be a member of the ensemble or a swing who steps up to cover a principle role and a swing steps in to cover ensemble tracks." - @WestEndCovers 

And we must mention but our beloved West End Understudies account are in their 5th Year in 2020!  Here's to the next 5 years of celebrating our fantastic covers all across the theatre industry! 

Take a look at some of these extrodinary stories and tweet us any you think we missed out! @PocketSizeBlog
Collette Guitart 
 Collette Guitart travelled up to Salford from the London production of SIX to play Catherine of Aragon in the tour for one night alongside 3 other alternates.

★ Blood Brothers actor, Shaun McCourt, becoming first actor to play both Mickey and Eddie after stepping in once the principle and covers for Mickey were both indisposed. 

★ Jenna Innes going on mid-show for Eponine in Les Miserables on tour without finishing any kind of cover rehearsals or having a technical rehearsal. 

★ Stephen Rolley travelling from the London production of The Book of Mormon to play Elder Price in the touring production of the show in Amsterdam. 

Jacob Fearey and Ellie Mitchell
★ Jacob Fearey and Ellie Mitchell performing a split track of 5 ensemble roles in a matinee and 4 in an evening show in one day in We Will Rock You on tour.

★ Jermaine Woods, who usually played Iago in Aladdin, went on for Kassim (a role he doesn't cover) with only a few hours rehearsal.

★ Genesis Lynea returning to SIX to play Anna of Cleves. Genesis had not played the role for about 2 years before returning. 

★ Lisa Bridge playing not only her own track but also her 2nd cover Mrs O/Doris and her 1st cover Cassandra in the same show at The Only Fools and Horses musical

Jason Winter, Jacob McIntosh & George Grayson
★ Jacob McIntosh, George Grayson and Jason Winter covering the whole of male ensemble in one show at the Kinky Boots tour. 

★ Come From Away having a show where 6 out of 12 cast were standbys. 

★ Mark Pearce playing Thenardier for the reopening of Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre with 3 hours notice. 

★ Natasha Bernard who was asked if she could play Mary Shelley at Frankenstein UK Tour. She jumped on the train to Cardiff, watched the show the night before and performed the next day. She wasn't even in the cast!

★ Emily Woodford travelling from the London production to the touring production of 9 to 5 to cover the role of Judy. 

Tsemaye Bob-Egbe
★ Toby Marlow, composer and co-writer, of SIX stepping in to play Catherine Parr in the London production. 

★ Tsemaye Bob-Egbe who had a dress rehearsal on one afternoon and on the same day went on as Tina Turner mid-show tonight at Tina the Musical on her first day back with the company. 

★ With just 48 hours notice, Hannah Brown appeared as Natalya in Preludes at the Southwark Playhouse. 

★ Ivan De Freitas returning to Aladdin after 2 years to cover the role of Jafar. 

★ Amy Perry, Assistant Choreographer of Nice Work if You Can Get it at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, stepped in as the leading lady with no rehearsal. 

Jacob Yarlett
★ Jacob Yarlett traveling over from the touring production of The Book of Mormon in Amsterdam to perform the role of Elder Cunningham in the West End production. 

★ Maiya Quansah-Breed, Olivier Nominated SIX cast member, returning to Six on the tour to play Catherine Parr.
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