For his latest role, Lucas Rush was touring internationally with Evita as Che, which included performances in China and South Africa, after he’d been playing Lonny in the UK Tour of Rock of Ages, which had been running from September 2018 to August last year. Among his many stage roles, Lucas has played Mrs Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie and was St Jimmy in American Idiot, both in London’s West End and on the UK Tour, and as well as being cast in the production, he was also Resident Director, with him helping to create the show with Racky Plews. Speaking with Lucas, he answers our questions about touring internationally with Evita, playing Lonny in Rock of Ages and his time with American Idiot.
Can you tell us about your experience playing Che in Evita?
Che was one of those roles I used to listen to on tape when I was a kid that made me want to be in Musical Theatre. I think for that reason, there was something very special about doing the original production. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet the legendary Hal Prince, but it was an honour to know we were the last cast he signed off on. Also, I met some wonderful people. I definitely had to keep pinching myself that I was playing that role. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
How was it touring internationally with the production?
The tour was great. South Africa stole my heart from the moment I landed in Cape Town, just beautiful. China was a lot! That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it… It just took me a while to process it when I got back to London.
You played Lonny on the Rock of Ages UK Tour, how was this?
Oh, I had a great time as Lonny. What was really great was that every night had the potential to be completely different. I always said the audience was like Lonny’s leading lady… Or man… Or anything in-between… It kept me on my toes. Also, I don’t think I remember ever being on tour with such a group of gorgeous peeps that just got on with each other and got on with it! It was almost completely drama free… I nearly felt like an adult.
Had you seen the show previously and what did you enjoy most about being in the cast?
I had seen the show before, yes. Again, I think the interaction with the audience… Also, the music… And, obviously, the gorgeous Kevin Kennedy, but that kind of goes without saying.
What was Mrs Meers like to play in Thoroughly Modern Millie?
Being in drag was so much fun. I seemed to develop this off-stage persona… There’s like ten minutes of her on YouTube if you’re bored, haha. Just search Lucas Rush Mrs Meers… It’s very silly.
Having played St Jimmy in American Idiot in the West End and on the UK Tour, what are some of your favourite memories of playing the role?
Honestly, it’s the weirdest thing for me. I was obsessed with two things as a teenager… Musical Theatre and Green Day. That’s the God’s honest truth. Anyone at school and college with me knew how obsessed I was. I mean, I’ve seen them live seven times. I have so many fond memories of that one… I don’t think anything will ever compare with that gig. I actually got offered it again at the same time as Rock of Ages. It was extremely difficult to say no to… But I knew in my heart that it was time for me to put Jimmy to bed for a while. I’d so totally love to do it again though.
How was it performing Green Day’s music?
It was an actual dream come true. I used to listen to Green Day and imagine their music in a musical… So, I feel like I manifested the whole thing. The final “oh my god, this is nuts” moment was when I last saw Green Day live in Hyde Park, people in the crowd wanted pics with ME! Very odd… And extremely cool.
How did you find the experience on the world arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar?
It was such a bittersweet gig. Performing at the O2 for, I think, five nights was insane. Also, covering Tim (Minchin) was mental. He was ridiculous and such a lovely guy. Before we did the Australian leg, Tim was away being Tim and I got to tech the show as Judas which was an incredible experience… Very scary at first, but by the end of it, I felt like I’d grown so much. Unfortunately, the USA leg got pulled at the last minute, which was really tough. But, again, in retrospect, it made me grow. Overall, I adored the gig.
The show was recorded for DVD, what was it like to be part of and how was it seeing the response to it recently being streamed with The Shows Must Go On series?
Aaaah, that was nice to be reminded of it. I’d actually filed Jesus Christ Superstar away as it ended with such a thud, but it was nice to look back on it with fresh eyes and see it for what it was… A great life experience.
Having been in theatre for a number of years, can you say about some of your early roles?
Well, my first proper show was Peter Pan the Musical version with Brian Blessed as Hook. I remember chatting with Bri backstage, I must’ve been about eight. He was lovely, what a dude. I think the role I loved more than any was Gavroche in Les Misérables when it was at The Palace. I remember crying my eyes out when it was finished. Walking On The Moon, directed by Peter Kosminsky, was pretty epic also. That’s on YouTube now, I believe. I bloody love YouTube. The Merry Wives of Windsor for the RSC with Leslie Phillips was an incredible experience and really began my love of Shakespeare. More of that, please!
You’ve been the Resident Director on a couple of productions, what’s this like to do?
Hard! The only way to do it is to get stuck in. It was easier with American Idiot because we helped create the show with Racky Plews in the original cast, so I felt like I knew what needed to be done… I mean… I also manifested it, of course, so I felt like I was just tweaking my teenage dream, ha. I’m not going to lie, it was a relief to go back to JUST performing on Rock of Ages and Evita.
How did you get into theatre and what inspired you to become an actor?
My Aunt Carrie bought me the tape of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when I was seven. From the second I heard Linzi Hateley sing, I knew I wanted to be her. I now have her on speed dial CLANG.
Do you have any favourite theatre shows to watch and what’s the most recent you’ve seen?
I don’t think anything will ever beat the way I felt when I watched Trevor Nunn’s staging of Les Misérables (the new production is gorgeous too). That original staging will just always stay with me though. I love the original staging of RENT too. The final Broadway performance is something I love popping on when I need a bit of inspiration. Also, Blood Brothers never fails to move me.
To be honest, I adore plays. The last piece of theatre I saw that stayed with me was The Inheritance… I think I cried for a week.
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