Wednesday, 23 December 2020

INTERVIEW: Dex Lee, star of Stage & Screen on how he is teaming up with his Sister, Miriam-Teak Lee, for an online Festive Concert!

Dex Lee is currently one of the stars of the BBC Soap Opera, Doctors, playing Bear Sylvester. Now being on one of the biggest soaps around at the moment, he is also a huge musical theatre star! His theatre credits include In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse & Kings Cross Theatre), The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick Theatre), Carrie (Southwark Playhouse), Seaweed in Hairspray (UK Tour), Danny in Grease (Leicester Curve), Know Moe in Five Guys Named Moe (Marble Arch Theatre), Curly in Oklahoma (Grange Park Opera) and Bill in Kiss Me, Kate (Sheffield Crucible ) to name a few! 

Alongside his Sister, Miriam-Teak Lee (Star of & Juliet, original London cast of Hamilton, On the Town), have put together a festive Christmas online stream to get us all to really start feeling all those festive feels! 'Simplee Christmas' is being streamed through the 25th December. Click here to check it out and buy tickets!

You are currently in the BBC Soap opera, Doctors, after having a very successful career in Musical Theatre what made you want to make the transition to TV? 

Yes, I am and loving every minute of it so far! So, musical theatre is my biggest love that’s for sure, but I wanted to take a break, too much of a good thing can stop you enjoying it so much. I wanted to take a break and I wanted to learn a new set of skills. I want a chance to get to do a bit of everything in my career and so I thought this was the perfect time to attempt to take that step.

We hear a lot about the struggles Musical Theatre performers face when transitioning into other media, did you experience any prejudice because of your career background? 

I can’t say that I experienced prejudice in my transition due to my musical theatre background, but what I can say is that my musical theatre background had me approaching TV/film scripts in the wrong way. On a stage you have to project, express, be bold with choices, be a character. On-screen, the camera is the only audience member, expressing yourself more subtly and through the eyes is key, it's better to become the version of yourself that’s closest to your interpretation of the character.

The fundamentals of being a truth-speaking storyteller remains the same but the execution is different which I’d learned through many audition mishaps!

If we look back at your career you’ve been in so many wonderful shows like Hairspray, In the Heights, Grease, The Wild Party & Kiss Me, Kate (to name a few!) but which one sticks out to you as your favourite? 

Any time I’d get the opportunity to dance Drew McConie Choreography! Luckily, I’ve had that chance on three occasions (In The Heights, Hairspray, The Wild party). Dance is the way I got into this industry, so it’s always a joy to move my body like that. My ultimate favourite would be ‘The Scottsboro boys’ at the Garrick theatre, first time in the West end, a powerful story, stellar cast to work with and learn from, it ticked a whole load of boxes for me.

You will be starring alongside your sister, Miriam-Teak Lee, in your online Christmas concert SIMPLEE Christmas! This is the first concert you’ve done as a sibling duo, what inspired the idea? 

Doing a concert together is an idea we’ve played with and talked about for years, but circumstance has never put us in a position to have enough free time to work on one together. Now being bubbled together presented an opportunity so we jumped it, got to find those silver linings amidst the madness.

What can we expect from the concert? Some of the Christmas classics? Any surprises? 

We’ve tried to present to our watchers as close to a night at the theatre from the comfort of their own homes as possible. Christmas classics both older and newer, dancing, poetry and even some audience participation

What is your top ultimate Christmas song?! 

Ooh, all Christmas songs are brilliant, but If I have to narrow it down, I have two ultimates. Definitely the Christmas song (Nat King Cole version) and Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas.

We’re getting closer to Christmas now and as you’re doing this festive stream with your sister, do you have any special Christmas memories from your childhood? 

This actually gives me a reason to explain why I think Nat King Coles version of ‘The Christmas Song’ is so definitive. Every Christmas morning in the Lee household, after breakfast, that song on a record player would be the first to play when we started opening presents. Lots of good memories when I think of that song

What is your favourite Christmas tradition? 

The tangerines at the bottom of stockings that taste so much sweeter on Christmas day and more recently, having a laugh seeing the elf on the shelf posts pop up on my feeds!

You and your sister have had such wonderful success in the industry, is performing in the family? 

Thank you, our oldest brother did some acting gigs as a child so that energy was definitely a form of inspiration. Our mum is a hugely eccentric woman and our dad is very supportive, so although our family wasn’t too involved in the industry, we were definitely brought up in an environment that helped us nurture our careers.

Will we ever see you return to the stage? What sort of show or role do you think you’d like to do? 

Well let's get the obvious out of the way, I’d love to be in Hamilton, who wouldn’t! But if (When, fingers crossed) Hercules comes to the West End that’d be a role I’d overflow with joy to play.

2020 has been a tough year for our industry, coming into the new year what advice would you give people who may be struggling in performing arts.

Be flexible try to stay, on the pulse with how our industry is evolving. First rounds of auditions are self tapes and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, get the practice in to smashing looking, sounding and being great on self tapes. Stay passionate and creative about the craft and stay tight with the community; we’re all going through it so keep talking to people, keep using your social media as forums of togetherness. There are people doing fantastic theatre related things online now, check out Magneticmovement_1/ magneticstudios_1, gohubworkshop, collectivecreativeinitiative, thestrallencollective and The Lockdown Loop, founded by Miriam-Teak and I which is an Instagram page highlighting and showcasing the talents of the newer performers in our industry, which we’ll be picking back up in the new year, and finally and most importantly keep finding reasons to smile.

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