Since playing Santa / Mr Greenway in Elf the Musical last year, Nicholas Pound is reprising his roles when the production opens at the Dominion Theatre on 15th November, with booking until 6th January. Elf the Musical is returning for a second consecutive year at the Dominion Theatre, and Nicholas is currently rehearsing in preparation for the show’s opening next month, with a cast including Matthew Wolfenden as Buddy and Ben Lancaster as Alternate Buddy, and tickets are now on sale. In 2017, Nicholas played Santa in the world premiere of Tom Fletcher’s musical The Christmasaurus, and over the years, he has played Old Deuteronomy in CATS on and off including in the West End, the International Tour and the revised production at the London Palladium. Previous projects for Nicholas have included playing Eddie/Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show in the West End, Jean Valjean on the Les Misérables Tour, Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and he’s had roles in numerous pantomimes, and it’s recently been announced that he will be playing Claude & Others in the 2024 Come From Away Tour. We spoke to Nicholas about reprising his roles of Santa / Mr Greenway in Elf the Musical, being in the cast of the world premiere of Tom Fletcher’s musical The Christmasaurus and performing in CATS over the years.
Next month, you will be reprising your role of Santa / Mr Greenway in Elf the Musical at the Dominion Theatre, what are you looking forward to for opening at the Dominion Theatre and what is the show like to be part of?
I’m looking forward to revisiting both characters and finding new ways to play them. It’s the best feeling being involved with such a Christmassy show… at Christmas.
How was it performing in Elf the Musical last year and was there anything that drew you to the production?
I was thrilled to be offered the show last year, I was particularly drawn to the opportunity of playing two such diverse characters that are total opposites! I’ve played Santa in another show, so he’s a comfortable fit for me.
How was it meeting this year’s new cast for the first time and how are rehearsals going?
It was great to reconnect with old friends from last year and to meet the new cast members. Rehearsals are going well. I’m enjoying working with my two new Buddys – it’s a different energy, which means finding new things.
What is it like getting into character as Santa / Mr Greenway and what are the roles like to play?
Playing two opposing characters is challenging but rewarding. Santa is so familiar to everyone, but I try to give him depth and truth and show different elements of his personality. Greenway is a terrifying bully, very on edge. I try to find different physicalities for the two roles – Santa is big, open, belly first; Greenway is tight, stressed and wound up.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see Elf the Musical in the West End and who do you think will enjoy watching it?
It’s a good old-fashioned family show for kids to grandparents. You’ll come out smiling and feeling Christmassy to the max!
Having played Old Deuteronomy in CATS on and off since 1998, including in the West End, International Tour and the revised production at The London Palladium, what are some of your favourite memories from working on the show?
I love the universal message of CATS – acceptance and inclusion. I always loved going up on the hydraulic tyre at the end of the show.
What do you enjoy most about working on CATS and how is it taking the show around the world?
Playing Old Deuteronomy is a very spiritual experience, I always felt very at home in the role and quite Zen. It’s such a visual spectacle that can translate anywhere in the world, it transcends language and nationality.
You originated the role of Santa in The Christmasaurus in 2017, what was it like being involved with the world premiere of Tom Fletcher’s musical?
It was such a fabulous show, I wish we’d done more than just 11 performances. Tom Fletcher is a genius, I have so much respect for his talent and work ethic, and the joy of working with his whole family as well as his bandmates.
How was your time playing Eddie/Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show in the West End?
Being part of Rocky Horror is the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. You can get away with so much and every night is different as you never know what the audience will throw at you… verbally and sometimes physically!
Can you tell us about touring with Les Misérables as Jean Valjean?
Jean Valjean is any actor’s dream role – the journey, the emotion, the songs and the intense feeling you get back from the audience is tangible. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to play that part.
Over the years, you have performed in many pantomimes, what are these like to be part of and how different do you find them to your other work?
Panto is great fun, but very hard work. You have to be disciplined and pace yourself. Performance-wise, your characters can be larger than life, which is fun to play, whether you’re a baddie or a dame.
What are some of your stand-out highlights of your career so far, which has seen you perform in shows including Man of La Mancha, The Fix, Evita and Annie?
Playing Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha was a definite highlight of my career. The show is not produced very much and, like Valjean, it’s a very intense and emotional journey. Working with Sam Mendes on the world premiere of The Fix has to be up there too.
Where does your love of performing come from and how did you get into it?
I started as a school and church chorister and then got involved in university drama. I’d never intended to pursue musical theatre but my first job was in the chorus of South Pacific and nearly 40 years later… I’ve always loved singing, so musicals are my natural home.
Do you have any favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
I love Sondheim, but also love the classics too. I really enjoyed Come From Away and I’m so thrilled to be doing the tour in 2024. I’m looking forward to seeing The Little Big Things whilst I’m rehearsing in London.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a great cook and baker. I love feeding people. The kitchen is my happy place, inventing new recipes, making cakes. I feel very at peace. I love foreign travel, discovering new places and cultures – Thailand in January after Elf!