Mazz Murray has recently released her latest album Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again, which features her version of ABBA’s music, and before lockdown, she had been playing Donna Sheridan in MAMMA MIA! at the Novello Theatre in the West End. As a member of supergroup WOMAN alongside her sister Gina, Kerry Ellis and Anna-Jane Casey, they have released a charity single I’m a Woman with Brian May in support of The Caron Keating Foundation and Target Ovarian Cancer. Over a number of years, Mazz played Killer Queen in We Will Rock You and her other theatre credits have included Mama Morton in Chicago and Maureen in Rent, and she has been announced for the upcoming Sunset Boulevard at Alexandra Palace in February. With the release of her new album, we spoke to Mazz about Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again, releasing the charity single with her group WOMAN and Brian May and playing Donna Sheridan in MAMMA MIA!.
What inspired you to release your new album Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again and what has the response been like so far?
The response has been wonderful. People love ABBA and MAMMA MIA! so I was inspired to do this album by audiences seeing me as Donna Sheridan in MAMMA MIA! and asking if there were any recordings. So, we decided to make this compilation of ABBA’s greatest love songs in a stripped back acoustic style, which is more contemporary but also enables listeners to really
indulge in their songwriting.
How does it feel releasing your version of the ABBA music?
Well, they are two of the most beautiful voices in pop history. So, I just wanted to do something a little different with these songs and play tribute to this iconic foursome. Julian Littman, who plays guitar on the album, did such a wonderful job of transporting you to a Greek island with his unique touch.
How long were you working on the release and how did you decide what the final tracklist would be?
It took around six months due to COVID and restrictions etc. The final tracklist grew somewhat after we had started routining the songs. Robert Dallas, my producer, adores Fernando and said “we have to do that one!”.
Can you tell us about the supergroup WOMAN that you are part of and how it came about?
My sister Gina is in the group, as is my best mate Kerry Ellis and Gina’s best mate Anna-Jane Casey. Kerry and I were in We Will Rock You, and Gina and AJ were in Chicago. We got together to do something for charity when our close friend and fellow West End star Rebekah Gibbs was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
WOMAN have recently released a charity single I’m a Woman with Brian May, can you say more about this?
Yes, it’s out now – Brian, alongside Steve Sidwell, produced a kick a** track and all the
proceeds go to The Caron Keating Foundation and Target Ovarian Cancer. You can order a vinyl at queenonline.com, and iTunes and Amazon to download the digital – we have a cracking video on YouTube too.
How is the experience touring with artists including Billy Ocean and Il Divo?
Amazing for us and they are probably all still recovering. So delightful and so exciting. We also toured with Earth, Wind & Fire. All of them were just superb superstars.
Before theatres closed, you were playing Donna Sheridan in West End’s MAMMA MIA!, what is she like to play and what are you missing most about performing?
I’m missing my theatre community – my purpose – my break from being a mother and wife hahahaha and I miss the joy it brings to so many people who use theatre to escape their own struggles for a couple of hours.
What was it like rejoining the show after playing Tanya in 2016 and what is the show like to be part of?
The show is a total riot with very good-looking, naughty people everywhere you turn. It’s great fun. Returning as Donna has been a whirlwind and a completely different experience. Just so good in every way!
How did you find your time playing Mama Morton in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre?
Well, there’s nothing like red nail varnish, a black suit and red lip over Christmas. I used to sit on stage (as we all do) and just be entertained by some of the finest bodies and stars of the West End and Broadway. Classy, classy show.
You played Killer Queen over a number of years in We Will Rock You, what did you enjoy most about the role?
Everything! Singing those songs, wearing leather and being with Alex Bourne every night. But mainly being angry and screaming at 2,500 people through the medium of rock every day for nearly a decade.
Was there anything that first drew you to the production and what are some of your favourite memories from your time in the show?
My stepfather Rob was the biggest Queen fan ever and simply said… YOU HAVE TO DO THAT SHOW AND WORK WITH THOSE LEGENDS. So, I accepted. Playing at the Queen’s Jubilee at Buckingham Palace with Queen, will be unbelievably difficult to beat as a career and life highlight.
Can you tell us about some of your earlier roles which have seen you in productions like Rent and Fame?
Rent was a show I always wanted to do. I missed out on the original cast and so when I was invited to do Maureen some years later, I had unfinished business there! Fame was a big love of mine as a child – my sister and I wanted to go to stage school because of the TV show. So, I was part of the London production for a few years. I played many roles in that show.
Had you always wanted an acting career and how did you start?
I followed my sister to stage school. It was either show business or a lawyer. There’s not a lot
of difference, truth be known!
You’ve been announced for Sunset Boulevard at Alexandra Palace in February, how do you think it will feel returning to live theatre?
The very nature of the role and the piece is about a return. It’s going to be epic to be back on stage with a thirty-piece orchestra led by Alex Parker, who is delicious – I cannot wait. The cast are stunning.
Can you say about some of the projects you’ve been involved with while theatres have been closed?
Albums, charity singles, Sunset Boulevard, Matt Lucas’ Baked Potato for NHS, Chicago, MAMMA MIA! and We Will Rock You show tributes, the wonderful Alpha Club (whom I adore) – all their streamed events, West End Unplugged for Backup, supporting everyone in our industry through these dark times for Official London Theatre. I’ve not sat down. I’m going to use this lockdown to eat banana cake.
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