📷 : Adam Hills @ Mug Photography
Since graduating, Freddie Clements has made his West End debut in the Original Revival Cast of popular musical 42nd Street at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Whilst in the production, the cast recorded for the 2017 London soundtrack and had chance to perform at many live events. Recently speaking to Freddie, we find out about his West End debut, the cast recording and performing at the final show.
How did you find your time in 42nd Street and what did you enjoy the most about being in the cast?
My time in 42nd Street was so amazing. It truly was a privilege and an honour to be in the cast. I enjoyed every minute and still can’t believe I was lucky enough to call it my job! One of the many things I enjoyed about being in the cast was the amount of stage time we were lucky enough to have. It was very challenging at times with the quick changes (At some points I would under dress three pairs of socks!) but the backstage crew/wardrobe department etc were phenomenal! I also met my girlfriend on the show and got to work with my best friend from college so that was an added bonus!
When and how did you find out you’d booked the role?
I found out I’d got the job when I was on holiday in August 2016. My agent emailed me as she knew that I was away asking if I was free for a call. I was sat on the beach with my two best friends (one of whom eventually joined the company!) when she phoned to tell me the news which made it all the more special that I could share that moment with them.
How long were you in rehearsals?
For the original revival cast we were in the rehearsal studio for four weeks learning the show. We then moved in to the theatre for tech which was three weeks long before our first preview. So seven weeks altogether. However, the second cast learnt and tech’d the show in just three weeks which is amazing!
📷 : Heather Judge
When did you start learning tap dancing?
My first ever dance lesson was a tap class! At the age of three.
How was it having 42nd Street as your West End debut?
It was a complete dream come true. It took a while to sink in that the Theatre Royal Drury Lane was going to become my place of work for the foreseeable future. I also don’t think I’ll ever be in a show where the ensemble are so busy and get to do so much which is why I think it makes it all the more amazing as we all felt we played an important part in the success of the production. The audiences appreciation for the whole cast but especially the ensemble was something I hadn’t really seen before so to experience the love the audience gave us every night makes this show extra special to anyone who’s been a part of it I think!
What was it like backstage at the end of the final show?
I’m not sure anything will compare to our closing night. Being a swing we are only in some parts of the show if we aren’t doing a full track on the night so I was lucky enough to still be involved in certain numbers in the show. The cast received a standing ovation of over three minutes after the famous stair sequence. Everyone on and off stage were completely overcome with emotion and pride at being part of this amazing experience, in fact some of the older more experienced cast said they hadn’t ever seen anything like it!
Had you seen any shows at Theatre Royal Drury Lane before performing there?
Yes I had! I saw Shrek when I was thirteen whilst I was at a performing arts summer school. My mum, however, saw the original production of 42nd Street in the 80s.
📷 : Hannah Rose Photography
What was the experience like recording for the 2017 London Cast album?
It was very surreal! We recorded the cast album at RAK studios which so many amazing artists have used to record their work. Stars such as Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Whitney Houston had all recorded there so it was a real ‘pinch me’ moment. Something I thought I’d never get to do! We had so much fun recording it.
Did you get chance to perform at any live events such as Tonight at the London Palladium or West End Live?
Yes I did! We were so lucky as a cast to be asked to do so many live events. Luckily our amazing dance team wanted all swings to be involved in every live event we did. During my two years in the show I performed on The One Show, This Morning, Sunday Night at the Palladium, West End Live, The Olivier Awards and The Royal Variety Performance. We also had live shows recorded for the cinema! I’ve managed to tick so many things off the bucket list during my time in 42nd Street!
What are your career plans now 42nd Street has closed?
I don’t know what the future holds but all I know is I just want to perform! I would particularly like to Swing on a show again and eventually go down the Dance Captain route in the future.
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