With SIX the Musical touring the UK from October last year, Jodie Steele has been playing the role of Katherine Howard to sold-out audiences, with the rest of the tour in the process of being rescheduled due to theatres having closed until further notice. Before starting her role in SIX, Jodie was touring the UK and internationally as Sherrie in Rock of Ages, and in 2018, she played Heather Chandler in the UK premiere of Heathers the Musical at both The Other Palace and the West End transfer at Theatre Royal Haymarket. Other roles for Jodie have included Elphaba in Wicked, Mimi in Rent and Margot in Legally Blonde, and she has also set up her own company, Jodie Steele Associates (JSA), running masterclass workshops with musical theatre performers. Recently, Jodie answered our questions about touring as Katherine Howard in SIX the Musical, being in the cast of Rock of Ages and playing Heather Chandler in the UK premiere of Heathers the Musical.
What do you enjoy most about playing Katherine Howard in SIX the Musical?
The twist in her story/performance that the audience wouldn’t expect and feeling the atmosphere of the whole room change. She’s perceived as the young, silly, flirty one – but you should never judge a book by its (pink) cover! She’s clever, streetwise and super switched on!
How was the tour going before theatres closed and what was it like seeing the audience response to the show?
It was amazing – I felt like I was in a girl band and a musical all at the same time! It sells out everywhere!! It’s such an empowering show to be a part of!
How was the experience performing on Blue Peter?
I’ve always wanted to perform on Blue Peter! I got a badge :)))) I remember watching it as a child all the time! (I actually gave my badge to someone who is in our company but didn’t get one because I felt so bad – but they were so excited!)
Can you tell us about touring the UK and internationally with Rock of Ages as Sherrie?
Sherrie had always been a dream role of mine and to have ticked it off the bucket list was a massive deal for me! She is way more of a complex character than people give her credit for. The particular production I was in allowed us to dig deep into all the different layers of our characters. Her story is brave, tragic and uplifting all at once – just happens to be surrounded by pure comedy and rock and roll 😃.
What are some of your favourite memories from your time in the cast?
Honestly, the best cast I’ve ever toured with. It was so easy to be a part of the company. No drama, everyone worked so hard and got on well. It was such a great team. I have many a great memory of us girls in our stripper underwear walking around backstage like it’s totally normal – because, well, it was! Haha!
You played Heather Chandler in Heathers the Musical, what was the role like to play and how was the experience taking the show to West End Live?
West End Live was a dream come true for me after watching so many over the years from the audience! The role of Chandler is just… epic! It requires such regality and gravitas. I felt like an evil superwoman!
Can you say about being part of the UK premiere and performing your role at The Other Palace and Theatre Royal Haymarket?
It was a dream come true to be part of an original cast. It’s one of my greatest achievements, and I’m so grateful every day for the team trusting me with Chandler. The Other Palace holds such a huge place in my heart and it felt so raw performing it there, but when we transferred I was so proud of our Heathers family – we did that!!
How did you prepare for being Alternate Elphaba in Wicked on the UK and International Tour?
Lots of singing practice, haha! No, but really, I sang the material into my voice for weeks before I started so that I could build up the strength. Eight shows of Elphie is not an easy task! Standby prepped me for when I took over the role, and I felt I got more comfortable and daring with how far I could push myself as time went on!
What was it like getting into costume for the first time?
Okay, great story – when I was seventeen, I watched Kerry Ellis as Elphaba. She became my idol. In my first costume fitting, I found out I was wearing her Wicked Witch dress! Mental!! I got emotional!
How was it being part of War of the Worlds at Dominion Theatre?
It was the most fun I have ever had on a job and also the biggest physical challenge I have ever faced in a job – I’ve never known such a hard-working ensemble! I loved that job so, so much, and the whole cast hold such a special place in my heart!
Can you tell us about some of the other roles you’ve played during your career so far?
I’ve been so lucky! I honestly pinch myself most days to check it’s happening to me. A few others have been Mimi in Rent, Carmen in Fame, Margot in Legally Blonde, Ivy in Bare… 😃
Where does your love of performing come from and is it something you always wanted to do?
I always wanted to be in big movies from a young age – I’m very much still chasing that dream and I will get there one day (fingers crossed). I can remember always singing as a child but no one wanting to listen, haha. I knew I wanted to perform in some way, I just didn’t know specifically how. I’ve always been much more physically and creatively driven than academically.
Which theatre shows have you seen most recently and what are some of your all-time favourites?
My favourite musical is Rent – it’s such a special show for so many reasons to so many communities. And that score! The last show I watched was Dear Evan Hansen (West End), and it blew my mind! Oh, and Moulin Rouge! on Broadway just before lockdown, which is an entire spectacle and the choreography is outstanding!
Since theatres closed, what online projects have you been involved with?
My school! JSA – Jodie Steele Associates! It’s been amazing and super hard work but I love it! I’m super passionate about teaching and growing the business as much as I possibly can! We have big, big plans, so keep your eyes peeled!
I’m also currently working on Godspell directed by Michael Strassen, and that has really been something to get my teeth stuck into and get creative with!
Can you tell us more about Jodie Steele Associates (JSA)?
Yes! JSA is a platform for young people who both want to explore performing arts and also who want to have a career in performing arts. We have our juniors (8-12), seniors (13+) and we will have an Elite Squad soon (once we can get in a room to audition people) for those who have exceptional talent.
We offer huge masterclass workshops to people from all over the country. Our aim is to create a huge family and support network that kids can learn from and feel safe enough to push their boundaries and be creative.
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