📷 : Mark Macdonald
For her first stage tour, Emily Kenwright travelled the UK and Internationally with her role as Ensemble and Cover Gloria, Tess and Louise/Ms Wilde in the stage adaptation of Flashdance, and she is now making her West End debut in the cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre. Since taking over the role of Vicki last year, Emily has performed to sold-out audiences, appeared at this year’s West End Live and has hosted workshops with fellow cast members Layton Williams and Jordan Laviniere. Chatting with Emily, she tells us about touring with Flashdance, making her West End debut in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and performing the dance to If I Met Myself Again.
For those that haven’t seen Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, why would you recommend it?
It’s a brilliant show for all ages, besides the incredible music and dancing, there is a very important story, a true story, that has inspired so many people and everybody can learn from it.
How did you find joining the cast as Vicki?
I was nervous joining such a successful show on my own, normally you have the ‘first day of school’ feeling on the first day of rehearsals where everybody is in the same boat, but this time the cast had already been together for over a year so I was just hoping I would be welcomed, which I was, everybody was so lovely to me.
Had you seen the show before being cast and had you worked with any of the cast or crew previously?
I actually went to see the show the night before my final audition to gain more understanding of the show and the story, the role I was up for, the accent etc.. It was just incredible, I left with so much more drive and determination for my final audition.
I had worked with Marvyn Charles before on a commercial job, he was great to work with. So it was a nice feeling knowing I was going to work with him again.
I had also worked with Shane Richie when I played Kitty in Scrooge when I was seven, so it was nice to work with him again as an adult this time. He was just as fun as I remembered.
What was it like learning the choreography and how long were you in rehearsals?
I had six days to learn the entire show and my first show was within nine days, which isn’t long when the normal rehearsal process for a show is a month or so. It was such a challenge but Kirstie Skivington put me through my paces and encouraged me, she was a dream to work with.
Has there been a most difficult part of the show to learn?
I learnt the show one on one so it was quite strange not having the rest of the cast. The first time I ran through the numbers with everyone together was my dress run which was on the day of my opening night so that was a bit nerve-racking but it happened and it was nice to have faces to look at on stage.
There’s been a lot of positive feedback about your dance with Ryan Hughes in If I Met Myself Again, how does it feel performing the routine?
I absolutely love performing this routine every night, it’s personally my favourite part of the show and Ryan is a great partner to do it with, it’s a pleasure to share the stage with a talent like him. People really connect to the story behind it too which is rewarding for us.
Do you remember how you felt on stage as Vicki for the first time?
Yes, I remember talking to myself in the wings telling myself to calm down, haha. I was nervous for sure but I had so much adrenaline. The cast were so unbelievably supportive which is all you can ask for. It was such an incredible experience.
What’s the atmosphere like on the West End Live stage?
It was electric, it was such a great experience, it was my first time performing at West End Live and I loved sharing it with my Jamie family. Definitely would love to perform there again.
What’s it like having the show as your West End debut?
It’s really special. It’s been one of my dream jobs to work in the West End so I feel so grateful for the opportunity, I love the show and everything it stands for.
You recently hosted workshops with Layton Williams and Jordan Laviniere, how did these go and do you have plans to do more?
Yes, I love those guys and the workshops were so much fun, we haven’t got any planned at the moment but I’m sure we will. I love teaching, helping and inspiring the next generation.
What was it like performing in the UK and International tour of Flashdance?
It was amazing, I loved the show and the team were incredible. I got to travel to places I would only dream about going so it was such a blessing. It was also my first tour so it will always be special to me.
What would you say is the most enjoyable aspect about being in a musical?
Performing on stage, to an audience while dancing to a live band eight times a week is just amazing. We have a great company so there is never a dull moment.
Where does your love of theatre come from?
I always enjoyed musicals, I did a few as a child but my love for musicals grew more during my training at The Urdang Academy. They really pushed my singing and acting a lot more there.
When and how did you first get into dance and what style did you start out in?
I was four years old when I started, my mum had two leaflets, one for trampolining and one for dancing school, she asked me which one I wanted to try and I chose the dancing one.
She took me along to a dancing school to see if I’d enjoy it. I started in freestyle dancing which was so much fun especially being so young and started competing at age five all over the country. Then I started another dance school to train in ballet, tap, modern etc when I was six. The next ten years were spent at the different schools learning as many styles as possible.
What advice would you give someone making their professional stage debut in a musical?
To just enjoy every moment of it.
We all work so hard to get to do what we love for a living, embrace the opportunity and take the most from the experience as you can because we can never rewind time and time is so precious.
You can currently book to see EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE until 25th January 2020 at the Apollo Theatre https://www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk
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