📷 : Nicholas Dawkes
As an Original West End cast member of Aladdin, Kayleigh Thadani left the show when it closed in August this year, and while in the production, she attended the press night at the National Gallery and performed on Children in Need and at the Royal Albert Hall. Kayleigh has now been announced to appear in White Christmas due to open at the Dominion Theatre next month for a limited run until January 2020. Before rehearsals for her new role, Kayleigh talks about her time in West End’s Aladdin, hosting workshops and joining the cast of White Christmas.
What was it like being part of Aladdin in the West End?
Aladdin was the most incredible experience, a true Broadway spectacular! I loved being an original member of the West End cast and holding the responsibility of swinging seven roles. It was a dream job for me!
Do you remember how you felt when finding out you’d booked the role?
I was at my freelance ‘muggle’ job when I found out I’d booked – I took the call from my agent and jumped up and down and screamed outside the office. When I went back inside and exclaimed “I got the JOB!” they already knew.
How was press night at the National Gallery?
Press night was amazing. My mother and my agent were there as my honoured guests and it felt like a dream. I kept pinching myself!
As part of the original cast, what did you enjoy most about being in the show?
I loved working with the original creative team including Tony Award-winning Director and Choreographer Casey Nicholaw. I also loved the buzz about being in the newest show in town. I loved working hard, learning the show and making friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.
How was the atmosphere on closing night?
Weirdly, closing night almost felt like opening night. The adrenaline was high. But there was so much love, joy and nostalgia. It was the most incredible evening; I was so lucky to be part of both the opening and closing of this beautiful show.
What will you take from your time in the show?
Many amazing friendships and memories, but also lifelong skills and lessons. Learning how to be a swing and managing an eight-show-a-week West End schedule to name two!
What’s Children in Need like to perform on?
So much fun! They added swings into the staging of Arabian Nights, and I remember my stage manager whispering to me “you’re in the shot!”. I made sure I was waving my silk with extra pizazz for the cameras!
You appeared at the Royal Albert Hall for Disney’s Broadway Hits, what was this like to do?
This was one of the major highlights of my time at Aladdin. The venue is just breathtaking and again swings were added into the staging of this version so there were thirty of us on stage. The energy was incredible!
We understand you’ve run workshops, can you tell us more about this side of your work?
I love teaching young budding actors and dancers! They come with such enthusiasm and energy. It’s been so special for me to share my journey and inspire young people hoping to work in the industry. It’s also been wonderful to hear some of their amazing testimonials which make it all worthwhile, knowing that my teaching is making a difference in their lives.
📷 : Hettie Pearson Photography
Where did your musical theatre career start and had you always wanted to get into the entertainment industry?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to entertain. I started by watching old classic Hollywood movies with Fred and Ginger, Cyd Charrise, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland and Ann Miller. These inspired me to start singing and dancing – and I really enjoyed it! I was lucky enough that I lived in London and my parents took me to the Ballet and Musicals. I was hooked and I’ve loved theatre ever since.
📷 : Hettie Pearson Photography
What can you say about your training?
I started training in Ballet at the age of two at the Vacant School of Dance and did Ballet until the age of fifteen. I then started to get involved in competitive cheerleading before attending my undergraduate University in Pennsylvania, USA. I did a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre before investing further in my training by doing a Masters in Musical Theatre at The Guildford School Of Acting.
You have been announced for White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre, can you tell us about your role and have you started rehearsals?
This is my DREAM show! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of this beautiful production – I’ve grown up watching the movie as a holiday tradition! I am in the ensemble and playing the role of Rita. She’s super fun and sassy. I’m about to begin rehearsals and I can’t wait for audience to come and share this timeless Christmas story at the Dominion Theatre, running till 4th January 2020.
When did you find out you’d booked the role?
I found out in July! It was a dream come true!!!
Have you worked with any of the cast previously, and what are you looking forward to for the show to open?
I haven’t! But I’ve met almost everyone already and everyone is lovely. I think I’m most excited to share this piece with my family and friends and to be at home for the holidays!
Kayleigh Thadani is represented by Michelle Blair Management https://www.michelleblairmanagement.co.uk/kayleigh-thadani
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