Recently, George Beet appeared on stage at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the musical 42nd Street which closed in the West End early last month. During his time in the show, the production got recorded for a future release along with attending events such as the Olivier Awards where the cast performed live. George is now in rehearsals for an upcoming UK tour starting later this year where, along with his own character, he’ll be first cover for the lead role. Taking time out to answer our questions, George tells us what it was like to be in the cast of 42nd Street, performing at the Olivier Awards and about his upcoming production.
When did you first get into the entertainment industry?
When I was about eight I played a lost boy in Peter Pan for Qudos and from that point I knew I wanted this to be my career. I went to Bird College at age seventeen and started working professionally when I graduated in 2015.
How was the experience in 42nd Street?
Incredible! It was a dream show of mine so to do it was amazing. It’s one of the world’s most iconic musicals and it is big on every level possible. Tap was always a huge passion so to do a tap musical ticked so many boxes for me. I couldn’t have wished for a more incredible West End debut. I loved my cast and having the Theatre Royal as my ‘office’ was a bit of a pinch me experience. I also got to perform at the Olivier Awards which was the cherry on top of a fantastic contract.
How long have you been tap dancing for?
Since I was seven!
Was the choreography a quick process to learn?
Yes. We had two weeks of rehearsals in a studio and then a week of tech. It was a bit daunting as obviously we didn’t have the staircase in the studio so getting it on stage was quick but we managed and had an amazing opening night.
The show performed at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, what did you like about the venue and what was the atmosphere like on closing night?
It’s a beautiful theatre. Also to be the last cast on the stage as it was before the renovation was an honour. The location was perfect. Having Covent Garden outside stage door was brilliant. The theatre is so prestigious and has been the home to a tonne of incredible shows so to be there for a year was a real privilege. It was also where 42nd Street originally opened in London in the 1980s so it felt like we were continuing the history of the show.
What was it like attending the Olivier Awards?
Another pinch me moment. We performed there just three weeks after the cast change so it was a crazy month! It’s the biggest night of the year for theatre so to be there as part of it was something I’ll never forget.
42nd Street has been filmed for future release, how different was it performing for this show?
Another incredible opportunity… just when we thought we’d done everything, they announced we were making a film. It wasn’t much different from a regular show as we kept everything the same, we just had to ignore the cameras but there was definitely a buzz in the air. We had a couple of days getting different shots with steady cams and cameras on cranes etc which was epic. Suddenly our stage was a film set. I can’t wait to see the finished product and hope it will be a big success.
Have you done shows like this production previously?
No, this was my first West End show and my first show where I was able to tap. I really believe that contract was a once in a lifetime experience.
What do you miss about appearing in the show?
Everything! The show itself, the choreography, the theatre, my cast and everyone backstage. It was a lovely bunch to work with. I miss my gold tap shoes the most!
You’ve previously performed in pantomimes, what do you enjoy most about this kind of work?
It’s good fun, the audiences are always great and interact with what’s happening on stage. Plus you get to pretend to be a fairytale character! I loved playing Prince Charming! The two pantomimes I’ve done had great casts – it was a joy to spend the Christmas period with them. It was a pantomime that made me want to do this as a career so I’ll always love doing them!
What’s it like working with Royal Caribbean?
A whirlwind! Rehearsing in Miami and travelling around the Caribbean was great. I missed my family and friends a lot but I had a lot of fun. I still work for Royal Caribbean occasionally assisting with their auditions in London – they’re a lovely team and I’m so glad I got to experience working on a cruise ship. I also loved doing Mamma Mia and had a lot of fun playing Pepper. It came at a great time at the beginning of my career and I learnt a lot about myself.
What’s the most rewarding part of your career?
The constant challenges. I think it’s the most rewarding industry to be a part of. I love that I don’t know what I’ll be doing next. It can be scary but the spontaneity keeps me excited. I love taking on different roles. I’ve been lucky enough to do different things such as a cruise, pantomimes, an Opera at the Royal Opera House, a West End show and now I’m working on something new again.
Do you have a favourite West End theatre you would like to perform in?
My favourite was always the Theatre Royal as it’s huge and historic… they’re all lovely theatres so hopefully I get to work in a few more.
Now your time in 42nd Street has ended, what are your career plans for the next few months?
Something I’m really excited about. My next adventure is a UK tour as a Brother and also first cover Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’m really excited about this, it’s an iconic British musical and one of the biggest male parts in musical theatre so to be understudying the role is a huge honour and I’m so thankful I’ve been trusted with it. I can’t wait to wear the coat!
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