With the current furore over Sheridan not being around for a while and the understudy taking over it got me wondering about understudies you've seen and if you've preferred seeing them to the lead. I once saw Chris Jacobson as Jean Valjean as I went to see Les Miserables on a Monday night which at the time was Ramin's night off. After seeing him in the role I actively used to book Monday night's show so I could see him perform. I also recently saw Callum Francis as Lola and he totally owned that role, to the point I'm looking forward to trying to see him again when Matt Henry is next on leave.
With the current furore over Sheridan not being around for a while and the understudy taking over it got me wondering about understudies you've seen and if you've preferred seeing them to the lead.
Alice Fearn as Princess Fiona in Shrek - SO MUCH BETTER than Amanda Holden, let alone Kimberley Walsh. Alice should have been cast as principal Fiona in the first place, or at least been bumped up after Ms Holden left.
Natalie Andreou as Elphaba in Wicked. A completely different league compared to Emma Hatton. And I must admit that, back in the days, I've also preferred Nikki Davis-Jones over Rachel Tucker.
Rachel John as Felicia in Memphis. Beverly Knight may have been the (slightly) better singer, but Rachel's portrayal was so much better. Overall preferred her.
Totally agree. Equally in her debut understudy role in "Rock of Ages."
Well, I've never seen Amy Pemberton as Sherrie, so I can't compare her to Natalie, but yes, Natalie was unbelievably good in Rock of Ages. Still gutted that we didn't get a London cast recording - our London cast was perfection.
Post by talkstageytome on Mar 7, 2016 19:18:32 GMT
Once I've seen a show I almost always only ever return if I want to see an understudy.
I've seen loads of fab understudies but for me the standouts were Rachel John and Jon Robyns in Memphis. I loved Beverley and Killian but Rachel and Jon were spectacular. Especially when together. I also preferred Tim Newman to Killian as well.
Alan Burkitt as Jerry Travers in Top Hat, who was much better in my opinion than either Tom Chambers or Gavin Lee. I managed to see him 8 times during the London run, then another 8 times when the producers finally saw sense & gave him the lead for the second tour.
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street, 29 years ago today. Can't say she was better than Barbara King, but she got a standing ovation. As I recall, the programme never seemed to be entirely sure where her hyphen should go.
Alexandra Jay as Eliza in My Fair Lady.
Cheryl McAvoy and (a couple of years later) Emma Harris as Jellylorum in Cats. Two marvellous voices.
Another vote for Alexandra Jay in My Fair Lady - just wonderful. Margaret Preece in Sound Of Music - cant compare her to Lesley Garett but she was faultless so very happy to have seen her. Loved Fiona Rees as the Narrator in Joseph at the Adelphi, so much preferred her to Jenna Lee James.
Post by couldileaveyou on Mar 7, 2016 22:08:07 GMT
Maureen Moore built an entire career on being a standby/understudy: she was Bernadette Peters' standby in "Song and Dance" and "Gypsy", Elaine Paige and Betty Buckley's standby in "Sunset Boulevard", Mary Louise Wilson's standby in "Cabaret" and Christine Ebersole's standby in "Grey Gardens". She played some of the most amazing roles in musical theatre always as an understyudy and she always delivered outstanding performances.
Nikki Davis-Jones as Elphaba (vs Rachel Tucker) Adam Bayjou as Valjean (vs Peter Lockyer) Zoe Birkett as Rachel Marron (vs Alexandra Burke) Leo Roberts as Shrek (vs Dean Chisnall) Tanya Manalang as Kim (vs Eva Noblezada) Carolyn Maitland as Ellen (vs Tamsin Carroll) Lauren Varnham as Scaramouche (vs Lauren Samuels)
David O'reilly as Elder Cunningham. Way funnier (to me) than Brian Sears. Emma Kingston as Eponine. Not that Carrie Fletcher is bad (I like her too) but Emma is a star. Sophie Linder-Lee is an amazing Glinda. Love her voice and her comic times. So funny and fresh every time I saw her. I liked Niall Sheehy way more than Alistair Brammer as Chris in Miss Saigon.
To be honest, I do normally prefer the lead to the understudy, but examples of where I preferred the understudy are:
Joanna Woodward as Carole King (over Katie) Oliver Ormson as Elder Price (over Nic) Robbie Scotcher and Stephen John Davis as Sam and Bill in Mamma Mia (over Richard and Charles) Paul Ayres as Charlie Price (over Killian) Rachel John as Felicia (over Beverley) Matt Nalton as Gerry Goffin (over Alan)
However, I love the vast majority of understudies, even if I do prefer the lead.