We asked West End Actor Daniel Hope to tell us the biggest thing he’d learnt so far in his career. Daniel is about to join the cast of Matilda playing Michael Wormwood, coming straight from some show called Wicked playing the diminutive Boq.
Third year of college and I’m seizing the day, singing my heart out with my en vogue Newsies & Smash rep in performance class. I know it’s old “Newsies” now, but I managed to get in there before anyone else (because obviously, if two people sing the same song in college, you may as well be plastered all over O.K. magazine in the ‘Who wore it best?!’ column).
You could say I was more than a tad obsessed with Jeremy Jordan. His voice, his cool air, his career and he’s not bad on the old retinas either!
I sang the ‘Santa Fe Prologue’ giving my best dramatic head tilt, eyes closed, with an occasional ‘air-grab’. Me, myself and I were chuffed to bits. My tutor surveyed the scene I’d put on and shrugged:
“Well, you’re not Jeremy Jordan Dan. I’d stop trying to be him!”
LIVID! How dare he tell me I’m not as good as my idol! It was as if he’d kicked me in the chicken McNugNugs and pushed me off the White Cliffs of Dover!
I loved my teacher, but I was determined to prove him wrong, so I ignored him and stubbornly continued to channel Jez throughout the rest of my college days!
Third year show time came around. The opening number: NEWSIES!! And I was cast as the lead to open the show! Hurrah! Take that between the eyes fair teacher of mine.
Opening night arrived and the good old votch-ay (not a clue how you spell that) decided third year was over and had packed it’s bags and was already on a plane, pole dancing somewhere in the Canary Islands. So, I had to take a rain check with Jeremy and realised getting through the week of Showcases was the main priority! Oh well, no point in stressing about it… until the DVD came out!! Oh sweet baby Jesus! My mic was turned up to SUPER WOOFER for the ENTIRE number, sounding like Estelle from Friends with what was left of my voice. “It’s Estelle!”
It wasn’t until three years later when I heard JJ sing “It’s all coming back to me now” that I had this spark of longing again. I can be Jezza, surely now, after a couple of West End credits, the time is nigh.
Wicked were putting on a charity cabaret at the Hippodrome, so I took that song along to Me Julie (my singing teacher) for a session on it. Felt great!
“I’m gonna do it this time! Gonna nail it and do it just like Jeremy!”
I waited in the wings to come on, my name was called, walking on I made the first mistake of moving the mic stand away to hold it in my hand. As I look down at my shaking hand the realization struck me down like the cast of Newsies dropped their week’s print on my head. Right on cue for me to sing one of his classics.
“I really am not Jeremy Jordan!”
You’re a 5 ft 5 Munchkin trying to show off to a room full of musical theatre Stageys who have all heard this song sang and performed at its best! Holy riffing Shiz!
Voice trembling, wrist shaking, blinded by the lights to which my bong eye was out in full force! It was not the time or place to have an epiphany.
Photo: Troy David Johnston
Right I needed to change the way this was going… I headed into the auditorium, through the haze and decide this would be the best time in my career to straddled an audience member. Yup. A classy piano charity concert and I’ve decide to ride one of Wicked’s biggest fans in the audience for the remainder of the song. I finished my floorshow with an almighty trip back onto stage! MOR-TI-FIED!
From the moment I stepped off stage, I knew exactly what my teacher was getting at. He wasn’t saying:
“You’ll never be as good as Jeremy Jordan!”
He was telling me to be my own performer and find who I am instead of being a worse off imitation of someone else.
So yeah, I may not have his cool flawless qualities *sobs into pillow* but now, I can put that energy of trying to emulate someone else’s skills into working on my own skills and stop trying to be a copy cat Christine.
So don’t be a stubborn Susan (everything sounds better with a name on the end of it) and listen to all the advice your teachers have ever given you. They know what they’re chatting about and have probably been there themselves a hundred times. They’re there to guide you, not hinder your skills.
Not everything you perceive as negative is bad for you.
So now, just like Pokémon Go, I have to get out there and find them extra polishing skills & nourish them into being me!Follow us