The Other Palace continues #TOPTalks, interviewing the amazing talent that comes through our theatre with questions from their fans.
In celebration of the workshop production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Unmasked at The Other Palace, we spoke with one of the perfomers Michael Xavier (two-time Olivier Award nominee; Sunset Boulevard in West End and on Broadway, The Pajama Game, Into The Woods and Love Story), about what he loves most about working on Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals and what his dream role is!?
(From madaboutxavier) You are currently workshopping Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical Unmasked. What do you love most about the workshop process? Do you have any fun stories from your workshop experience?
The workshop process is an opportunity to not only be creative but to help shape and often write a production with the creative team. To be a part of this initial germination of a potential theatrical masterpiece is very exciting and truly rewarding.
Funny stories? Probably too many that I couldn’t possibly put in writing!
But we have had a lot of fun with the cast backstage and it’s normally John Owen-Jones who’s causing most of the trouble. He was so busy telling us a joke backstage he missed his entrance! Let’s hope he doesn’t do that during the performance.
What would your dream role on stage or film be and why?
That’s always a tough question. There are so many incredible roles that have been written. I’d love to do more film roles and I’d love to play Joe Gillis if they ever made a film of Andrew’s Sunset Boulevard.
I think it’d also be great to play The Phantom as it’s such an iconic role and a great piece of theatrical history.
Michael Xavier with Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard
You have performed on both Broadway and in the West End. Do you have a preference between (and any great stories of your experiences) performing in London versus New York?
It’s quite different working in the West End and on Broadway. Here in London the audiences are so lovely and respectful but not as wildly enthusiastic as New York audiences. In the West End you can be playing a lead but not really noticed. On Broadway you’re considered a superstar (no pun intended)!
(From @thesophster23) What is your favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber song and why?
Hardest question EVER!! I bounce around between so many favourites. I’m a huge fan of Andrew’s works including Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and The Phantom Of The Opera but one of my absolute all-time faves has to be ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’ from Sunset Boulevard.
What drew you to musical theatre originally and what advice would you give to young performers trying to break into the industry?
My friend and I used to sit at the back of French class and make up harmonies. Then he encouraged me to join a school production of a musical (Grease). I started rehearsals and realised this was absolutely what I was going to do for a living!
My advice to young performers is to keep practising! Join your local amateur dramatic club or take singing lessons if you can afford to. It’s all about doing it. The more the do, the better you’ll get!
I run a weekly Musical Theatre school in London (MX Masterclass) to give young performers the best training and opportunities to perform. I never had those opportunities as a youngster and I love being able to support these young performers who are ultimately the future of musical theatre!