Currently, Jon Tsouras is in the cast of the new reimagined Sunset Boulevard as Finance Man / Stan / Cecil B. DeMille at the Savoy Theatre alongside a cast including Nicole Scherzinger and Rachel Tucker, with the musical being directed by Jamie Lloyd, who Jon worked with before in Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Having opened for previews in September, Sunset Boulevard is receiving outstanding reviews and is booking until early next year. Last month, Jon finished a two-year run at the Piccadilly Theatre in Moulin Rouge! as cover Santiago, The Duke and Christian, and before the pandemic, he was in the cast of Be More Chill for their UK premiere, which was cut short when theatres were forced to close. In both 2015 and 2017, Jon played Corny Collins in the UK Tour of Hairspray, and his previous projects include Legally Blonde, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, A Chorus Line at The London Palladium, the National Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he made his West End debut in The Lord of the Rings. We caught up with Jon about being in the cast of Sunset Boulevard at the Savoy Theatre, his run in Moulin Rouge! and playing Corny Collins in Hairspray.
You are currently playing Finance Man / Stan / Cecil B. DeMille in Sunset Boulevard, which opened for previews at the Savoy Theatre on 21st September, what are you looking forward to for the run?
I’m really excited for people to see what we have been working on in the rehearsal room. This is a bold, brave, new version of Sunset Boulevard and I can’t wait to see and hear the audience reaction.
For those that aren’t familiar with Sunset Boulevard, can you say about the show and your characters?
It is the story of silent film star Norma Desmond and her plan to return to the screen. She has a chance encounter with a young writer named Joe Gillis… and you’ll have to buy a ticket to see how that all turns out! I play Cecil B. DeMille, who was known as one of the founding fathers of American cinema. He directed Norma in many of her early pictures.
What is the musical like to work on and how was it meeting the rest of the cast for the first time?
I was lucky to work with Jamie Lloyd a few years ago on his production of Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and was over the moon to get the chance to work with him again. This show is staged with such precision and there is a level of discipline required to achieve that. It’s a very challenging and exciting way of working. The cast are all incredibly kind and we have had a wonderful time creating this piece. There is an incredible amount of talent in this cast and I feel very blessed to be a part of it.
How was it rehearsing for the show and how did you prepare to play Finance Man / Stan / Cecil B. DeMille?
Rehearsals were amazing, challenging and rewarding. We work incredibly hard but the pay-off of that is that we are creating something truly special.
Having worked with Jamie Lloyd on Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, what is it like being directed by him?
First and foremost, Jamie is an incredibly kind person. He makes everyone in the room feel seen and valued. I really respect him and his vision of moving the art form of musical theatre forwards. Also, Regent’s Park is truly a magical place to spend the summer.
Why would you recommend booking tickets to see the new reimagined production of Sunset Boulevard in the West End and who do you think will enjoy watching it?
This is a version of Sunset Boulevard that no one will have ever seen or imagined before. Completely unique in its storytelling bringing a new dimension to these iconic characters. And Nicole Scherzinger is incredible! She will blow your socks off!
Last month, you finished your run in Moulin Rouge! at the Piccadilly Theatre as cover Santiago, The Duke and Christian, what did you enjoy most about being part of the musical?
I think what I enjoyed most about my time at Moulin Rouge! was getting the chance to play three completely different characters. It really challenged me as an actor and the variety certainly kept things fresh and interesting for the two years I spent there.
What was each character like to play and how was it seeing the audience response to Moulin Rouge! in the West End?
The audiences in London have really come to love this show. It’s wonderful arriving at work and seeing the House Full sign outside the box office most nights. The cast work so hard and rightly get an incredible reception from the audience at the end of the show.
How was your time being an understudy in the UK premiere of Be More Chill?
Ahh… the one that got caught short because of the pandemic… It seems like a lifetime ago now. It was a crazy show with the most talented group of young people. We had a great time. It was short but very sweet.
In 2015 and 2017, you played Corny Collins in the UK Tour of Hairspray, what was this like?
I was always amazed how familiar people were with the show. It’s one of those pieces that no matter where we went in the country we felt such love. It is a show with such a beautiful message of love and inclusivity and I always look back on it fondly.
How did you find the experience performing on the National Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar?
Everyone should get the chance at least one time in their lives to stand on stage at The O2 Arena and sing in front of 20,000 people. That was a real pinch me moment. And I got to share the stage with a Spice Girl! Sporty, in case you were wondering!
What are some of your favourite memories from working on Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre and Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre?
Both of these shows were so silly and fun to perform. Particularly Priscilla, I don’t think I have ever laughed as much as I did on that show. I mean, we were dressed up as giant cupcakes for goodness sake! The only downside was that the glitter went everywhere… EVERYWHERE!
Can you tell us about some of the other shows you’ve been part of over your career so far, which have included Kiss Me, Kate, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, A Chorus Line, My Fair Lady and Lord of the Rings?
Lord of the Rings was my very first West End show. To have been a part of such a huge spectacle was a real honour… I don’t think we’ll ever see something on that scale again. And A Chorus Line was also incredibly special because it is the only time I’ve gotten to work with my husband, John Partridge. It is such an iconic show that we got to perform at the iconic London Palladium Theatre. We also had the privilege of learning the show from Baayork Lee and the late great Bob Avian. Definitely a career highlight.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
I grew up in Canada and there really isn’t the performing arts college scene that there is in the UK. I took singing lessons from a young age and then started dance classes quite late in my teens… but I always had a passion for musical theatre. So, when I was 18, I moved to Toronto to try my luck in the big city… and with hard work and loads of luck, I’m still doing it today!
What are some of your favourite theatre shows to watch and which would you like to see that you haven’t done so as yet?
A couple of things I saw recently were Cabaret at the Kit Kat Klub and Oklahoma! at the Wyndham’s Theatre… and they were both incredible! I think if you are going to revive a show, you should really come at it with a new idea or direction and both these productions excelled at that.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Up until recently, I had been rehearsing Sunset Boulevard in the daytime and doing Moulin Rouge! at night for about a month… so there hasn’t been any free time for a while! But when I do have a day off, I love to go to a farmers market with my husband and our dog, get some beautiful produce and cook a nice meal with a glass or two of wine.
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