Having joined the cast last year, Sophie Naglik is currently playing supporting lead character Jennifer Parker in the West End production of Back to the Future the Musical, which is running at the Adelphi Theatre with tickets booking until October. For Sophie’s first touring experience, she was part of the UK and Ireland Tour of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2021, and she has previously performed as Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane and made her West End debut as Hortensia in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical. Sophie trained at both The BRIT School and D&B Academy of Performing Arts, and, alongside her theatre career, she has worked on screen in short films Bye Bye Baby and Maya’s Moment, and also performs as a music artist. Chatting to us, Sophie told us about playing Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future the Musical, performing in the West End at the Adelphi Theatre and touring with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
You are currently in the West End cast of Back to the Future the Musical as Jennifer Parker, what is the character like to play?
Jennifer Parker is a really lovely character to play. She has such a positive, warm energy, which naturally makes me feel good when I’m playing the role. The words she sings and speaks to Marty are uplifting and have an air of confidence and determination around them; I love being able to portray this to the audience.
Was there anything that drew you to the production and do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role?
What drew me to this show was how much fun it gives off. Also, Back to the Future is such a great classic film, I really wanted to be a part of its musical adaption. I was so over the moon when I found out I booked the role, it felt like such a relief and dream, as it was my first opportunity to play a supporting lead role in the West End as an adult.
What is it like working with the rest of the cast and how was it meeting them for the first time?
I love working with this cast, from the get-go everyone was so friendly and kind. It honestly makes the job ten times better when you work with people who you can have fun and a laugh with amongst all the hard work.
How is it performing at the Adelphi Theatre and what is it like seeing the audience response to the show?
The audiences at Back to the Future are probably the most responsive audiences I’ve experienced with a show before. It’s amazing! They give back so much to us during the show which makes it even more of a joy to perform.
What are you enjoying most about being part of the musical and what are you looking forward to for continuing your run as Jennifer Parker?
I’m just really enjoying being a part of a show that brings so much fun and love, and being able to enjoy my time with great people. I’m looking forward to continuing to love and grow within the character, and having new people join the company which I think will bring some fresh, exciting energy.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see Back to the Future the Musical at the Adelphi Theatre and who do you think it will appeal to?
Back to the Future is a show full of fun, excitement and love, not only through the story and music but with all the amazing special effects as well. It’s something I think everyone should experience watching. Honestly, I think the show appeals to such a range of audiences, I know family and friends of all ages and backgrounds that have told me how much they enjoyed the show and that it’s one of the best things they’ve seen.
How did you find the experience touring the UK and Ireland for the first time with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and how was it covering the roles of Lucy and Susan?
I loved my time on tour with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was the first tour I’d done, and I had such a great time always being in and experiencing a new place in the UK. The company felt like a big family.
As a child actor, you played Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, what are some of your favourite memories from being in the musical and playing the character?
Playing Violet Beauregarde was a lot of fun. The character is very over the top and sassy and I think that was my favourite bit about it, just being able to have so much room to play the character and not holding back, it really grew my confidence as a performer actually.
In 2013, you made your West End debut in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical as Hortensia, do you have any stand-out highlights from working on the production?
I remember loving performing the song Revolting Children, that was one of my favourite parts of the show. Also, a stand-out happy memory of being on this show was being taken out to dinner in-between shows on a double show day with all the other kids. It felt like hanging out with your friends every day.
On screen, you play Fran in the short film Bye Bye Baby, can you tell us about the film and how was it having it selected for film festivals including Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Hollyshorts Film Festival?
I’m really grateful for all the experiences that came from working on Bye Bye Baby. I hadn’t worked on many jobs involved in film, which is something I’ve always wanted to do, so this was really exciting. Also, the role of Fran I’d say is the opposite of who I am in my everyday life, and I find it’s always fun playing a role that’s so different from yourself.
You also star as Maya in the short film Maya’s Moment, what was this like to work on?
Maya’s Moment was a really cool film to work on. The way it was shot and the aesthetic of the shoot was super interesting. The storyline itself felt comforting, as it was about a performer and the highs and lows that come with that.
Where does your love of acting and performing come from and how did you get into it?
Naturally I always loved performing from when I was very young. I’d say a lot of that came from my mum, she’s a very creative person, so I was always surrounded by music and art as a child. Then my own love and drive for it kept that journey going for me.
You trained at The BRIT School and D&B Academy of Performing Arts, what were they both like to attend?
D&B Academy was how I really got into doing performing professionally. I joined their agency as a child and got my first job in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical. I’m very grateful for this, as without D&B I don’t know if I would have gone into this industry. My time at The BRIT School I’ll never forget, to me, this school is like no other, it has its own vibe and energy, and helped me grow into the person I am today. I met some of my greatest friends there.
We understand you were part of the E4 series Stage School, how was this?
Reality TV wasn’t something I had thought of doing before. So being able to experience this in the school I had attended since I was a young child was lovely.
Having worked on a number of commercials including for Logitech and Peperami, what are they like to film?
These jobs were super fun. I didn’t really have to play a role as such, so they felt quite free and enjoyable, allowing me to take in more of the prep and filming experience.
You also perform as a music artist, most recently featuring on James Gittins’ single What You Want, can you tell us about your music career and what do you enjoy most about working in music?
I love being able to do music on the side of my theatre/performing career. Creating and listening to music is my emotional and mental outlet, whatever mood I’m in, music is always there. I enjoy being able to release my thoughts into my songwriting and create something beautiful and meaningful to me with it.
Do you have any favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
My favourite theatre shows I’ve watched are Miss Saigon, Hamilton, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical. I really want to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Cabaret.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
In my down time, I really do like to relax, give myself some self-care and spend time with my family and close friends. I enjoy baking, it always makes me feel comforted, and drawing as well.
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