Wednesday, 23 December 2020

INTERVIEW: Miriam-Teak Lee, Star of & Juliet on how she is teaming up with her brother, Dex Lee, for an online Festive Concert!

Miriam-Teak Lee originated the role of Juliet in the West End production of '& Juliet' at the Shaftsbury Theatre, a role she has gone on to win an Olivier Award and a Black British Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Not only that but she is a past winner of The Stage Debut award, for which she won for her performance in Dre McOnies production of 'On The Town' at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. As well as appearing in these shows, she was also apart of the original London company of Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, Lee was in the ensemble and also covered all of the Schuyler Sisters! 

Alongside her Brother, Dex Lee (star of BBC1's Doctors, The Wild Party, Grease, In the Heights), 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!

Firstly, a huge congratulations! You’ve recently become an Olivier Award winner for your performance in & Juliet! In such a bizarre year, what does it mean to you to be recognised for your portrayal of Juliet? 

Thank you so much! You know it’s not every day that you get to originate a role and work with the entire creative team to find these wonderful nuances and manifest a role that could be become to inspirational to many people. And also, being able to work with an iconic songwriter such as Max Martin whilst getting to live my pop star dreams! I have always been very passionate about this role and this story so it warms my heart and fills me with so much pride to be recognised for that, and to see that the industry feels the same way. Even now I still can’t believe that I won an Olivier Award! I’m still pinching myself! 

Where are you keeping your award? I hear a lot of people keep theirs in the toilet… 

Oh goodness! Who keeps it in the toilet? I actually keep it in my bedroom on my shelf next to my WhatsOnStage, BBTA and my Stage Debut Award (all of which I am unbelievably grateful for!) It does make me smile when I see it every morning when I wake up and before I go to sleep. It’s like a little motivation to kick start a fantastic day!

You are no stranger to awards,, however, you received the Stage Debut award for your performance in On the Town and also the Black British Theatre Award for your performance in & Juliet! How does it feel to be a multi-award winning actress?! 

It honestly just feels unreal! You see actors and actresses winning multiple awards and it just seems untouchable. Like how does anyone even get there? So to be amongst those people now is just an absolute dream come true! 

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

This is our first concert, yes! But it is an idea that we have toyed with for a while. It’s never been the right time before, we’ve always been in a job or just like ships in the night so this lockdown has actually given us the time that we haven’t had, to create some magic together and put our heads together and actually make this idea of a Concert happen! And who doesn’t love Christmas?! So a Christmas Concert was the perfect idea!

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

There are definitely some Christmas Classics, there’s a song in there for everyone and they are all songs we know and love! Surprises? Well, there may or may not be a bit of a Christmas family quiz in there! I don’t want to say too much but you will all be thoroughly entertained! So make sure you get those tickets!

What is your top ultimate Christmas song?! 

The Christmas song by Nat King Cole! It just screams Christmas to me. For as long as I can remember, Nat King Cole was always played all through the house at Christmas and it just makes me feel so warm and happy inside!

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

I remember when I shared a room with Dex and we would stay up all night chatting (we definitely were supposed to be sleeping!) but on Christmas Eve we always wanted to get straight to bed so that Christmas would come quickly! And we’d jump up so early and wake up everyone in the house. Screaming kids, such bliss!

What is your favourite Christmas tradition? 

It would have to be the Lee family traditional Christmas Breakfast which is “ackee and saltfish and fried dumpling” which is a Jamaican delicacy and I literally can’t wait for Christmas mornings for that alone!

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

Well our oldest brother was a childhood actor, another brother of ours makes music, and our parents are stunning at Salsa! So honestly I think I’d have to say performing is very much in the family! We’re all very theatrical! There’s actually 8 of us in the family. 

I couldn’t interview you and not talk about Hamilton! You were in the original London cast of the show and covered all three of the Schuyler Sisters! If you were to return to the show, which one would you most like to play? 

Honestly it would have to be Angelica! She was the sister I went on for the most so she’s definitely the one I feel most connected to, and I mean how could I not love to sing “satisfied” again!

Of course, we’re still unsure when theatre will come back but what is the one thing you’re looking forward to most when you return to the West End? 

I can’t wait for that first show back! The energy will be electric!! From the audience and the cast. I will most probably cry when I sing “I am stronger than yesterday” because no truer words would have been spoken!

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