Earlier this year, Rhys Bailey won the chance to sing at Main Men of Musicals on the same lineup as Ben Forster, Luke Bayer, Liam Tamne and Trevor Dion Nicholas and was then asked to perform alongside Ben in The Greatest Show for Alpha Club’s Summer Ball. Rhys has filmed for Slaughterhouse Rulez and upcoming TV show Brave New World and can be seen at Lambert Jackson Production’s UK concert premiere of Doctor Zhivago at Cadogan Hall on Sunday 1st September. Answering our questions, Rhys talks about performing at Main Men of Musicals, working with Ben Forster and filming for Brave New World.
How was it being part of Lambert Jackson’s event Main Men of Musicals?
It was such an honour and I still can’t believe I was one of the competition winners. Sharing a stage with Ben Forster, Luke Bayer, Liam Tamne and Trevor Dion Nicholas was so surreal. Definitely an experience I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I have always wanted to perform on a West End stage so to be given the chance to perform at Cadogan Hall with all these amazing West End stars was very exciting.
When and how did you find out you’d be performing on the night?
My mum ran into the lounge with the biggest grin on her face and said, “guess what!”. She showed me the e-mail from Eliza Jackson (creative director of LJ Productions) confirming that I won the competition and we both SCREAMED. I was sooo excited, neither of us could believe it as when I entered, I had only just turned sixteen and I didn’t really think I stood a chance – it was the best feeling in the world! I’m so grateful to Lambert Jackson Productions for choosing me.
What was it like performing at Cadogan Hall?
Absolutely breathtaking, it is such a beautiful venue. I’ve never performed in front of that many people before so walking out after Ben Forster and everyone had just sung was very nerve-racking, as you can imagine. They were all so lovely and supportive though, Ben and Luke waited backstage for me whilst I sang, which was really nice of them and it meant a lot to me.
Can you tell us about The Greatest Show with Ben Forster?
This production of The Greatest Show for Alpha Club’s Summer Ball, at The Landmark London, was so awesome!!! After Main Men of Musicals, Ben Forster contacted me to see if I’d be interested in playing young Barnum. I was like OF COURSE! And then, soon after, we started the rehearsal process which I absolutely loved. Everyone was so friendly, and I’ve never seen so many talented people in one room. Before the show, I was looking around and thinking wow I’m sharing a dressing room with Lauren Samuels, Celinde Schoenmaker and Ben Forster when in walks Ruthie Henshall and Mazz Murray to wish us all good luck and tell us they would be watching!!! I thought ‘My life is complete’… What an honour!!
What’s it like being part of MX Masterclass and how long have you been there?
I have been at MX Masterclass for a year now and auditioning was the best decision I’ve ever made. Since I started last September, my confidence has grown so much – the opportunities and training we receive are amazing. We are so lucky every week that we get to work with industry professionals, and I love being a part of the MXM family. Michael Xavier, the principle, is so encouraging and supportive and is really helping me move towards a career in performing arts.
I sang a duet with West End star Rebecca Lock (Heathers, Mary Poppins etc) at the MX Masterclass Christmas Charity Concert which was a huge honour and definitely a highlight of 2018.
You received the Kaplan Award for Voice 2019; how did this feel?
PRETTY AMAZING! I was really shocked and honoured to receive the Kaplan Award for Voice especially as MX Masterclass has so many phenomenal singers. It really meant a lot to me and I’m so grateful to have Michael’s support. It was also lovely that the Kaplan family were in the audience to see me receive the award. All of the winners were also given a Theatre Voucher which I can’t wait to use, how lovely is that!
How did this year’s showcase go with Laura Baldwin and Luke Bayer?
The end of year showcase was so much fun! The energy from everyone is just amazing, there’s so much love and support and it’s lovely to put all our hard work together at the end of term. Having Luke and Laura there made it even more special. Luke sang And You Don’t Even Know It, from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie with us and we performed Candy Store from Heathers with Laura. As you can imagine we had an amazing evening, the best showcase I’ve ever taken part in – and there have been a lot!!
Is there anything you can say about Brave New World?
I can’t say much apart from…WOW!!! I loved filming this, definitely one of the coolest experiences I’ve had. This was the first time I’ve been put up in a hotel, and given my own trailer too, so I was pretty excited as you can imagine. I can’t believe I’m in a TV show which features Demi Moore and Jessica Brown Findlay, I watched her in Downton Abbey and she’s an amazing actress.
It looks like it’s going to be a great TV show, I really hope I get to work with the production team and director again in the future.
How was the experience on set of Slaughterhouse Rulez?
It was a great experience. Being on set with Asa Butterfield was very inspiring, I was in awe of how quickly he transitioned in and out of character and this is something I have really tried to work on myself. Whilst I was on set I heard some of the horror scenes being filmed with everyone screaming and so when the film was released it was cool being able to see what was actually happening.
What do you remember from your time filming for Old Boys?
I really enjoyed filming Old Boys, it was my first experience being on a big film set and up until this point I had no idea the work that goes into creating even just one scene. It was fascinating to watch everyone and to see how the director created his vision. I also remember thinking the cameras were massive but I have grown a bit since then! When it came to filming our scene I had to run across an uncultivated field in the pouring rain whilst looking excited and happy, it wasn’t very glamourous but I loved it and I remember thinking this is what I want to do (be an actor, not run through fields)!!
Have you always had a passion for musical theatre?
I have always loved singing, ever since I could talk, but my passion for musical theatre grew when I joined a local theatre school at the age of nine. I used to be quite shy so my mum decided it would be good for my confidence. This was when I found my passion for musical theatre and decided I wanted a career in the performing arts.
I have received a scholarship for Reddam House School, they’ve been so supportive and the teachers have been amazing when I’ve had to miss school for auditions. I’m continuing to train there and then hoping to go to drama school in London.
Do you have an all-time favourite musical and what’s the most recent musical you’ve seen?
I’ve only been able to see a few musicals but out of the ones I’ve seen, SIX the Musical has been my absolute favourite. I have a slight (MASSIVE) obsession with SIX at the moment. Vicki Manser used to be my dance teacher so as soon as I heard she was in it I knew I had to go… It was spectacular!! I have a huge list of musicals that I really want to go see – Hamilton, The Lion King, Les Misérables, Come from Away (I could go on forever). Hopefully soon!
Do you have any roles or events booked in the next few months that you can tell us about?
Lambert Jackson Productions have invited me back to play the role of Young Yurii/Sasha in the UK concert premiere of Doctor Zhivago at Cadogan hall. I literally can’t wait to perform with Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker, I feel extremely honoured to have been asked. We are rehearsing this week and I’m blown away by how amazing everyone is, it sounds phenomenal.
Thanks to my agent, David Lazenby, I’m auditioning loads at the moment and last week I had a second meeting with a director for a very exciting TV project. Unfortunately, I can’t say anything more at the moment but I’m really hoping I get the role as it’s such a great show. Fingers Crossed!!
Rhys Bailey is represented by David Lazenby at Vivienne Clore http://www.vivienneclore.com
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