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Glinda in 2009: Dianne Pilkington and Glinda in 2019: Sophie Evans

Glinda in 2009: Dianne Pilkington and Glinda in 2019: Sophie Evans

Theatreland’s 10-year challenge

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 30 January 2019, Last Updated 1 February 2019

You’ve probably noticed a lot of your friends doing the 10-year challenge. They’ll pick either a beyond flattering picture or a terrible photo they’d want no employer to see (it’s either one of the other), from ten years ago, and match it up with today.

This new trend of showcasing our worlds ten years ago, and comparing it to today, has got us thinking about how much Theatreland can change in ten weeks, let alone ten years!

So here’s our version of the 10-year challenge, with characters from long-running shows ten years ago and today. Prepare for some serious transformations!

Javert, Les Misérables

Javert in 2009: Earl Carpenter

Earl Carpenter

Earl has performed the role of Javert in six different productions of Les Misérables, including the London production, the 25th-anniversary tour and Broadway revivals. You may also recognise him from his time playing Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera in 2012.

Javert in 2019: Bradley Jaden

Bradley Jaden

Also no stranger to playing star roles in long-running musicals, Bradley had previously starred as Fiyero during Wicked’s West End and international tour. Before donning Javert’s jacket and going on the hunt for prisoner 24601, Bradley had also appeared as Enjolras in Les Miserables in a 30th Anniversary performance.

Phantom, The Phantom Of The Opera

Phantom in 2009: David Shannon


Before donning the infamous half-mask, David had appeared in other Andrew Lloyd Webber productions, including Whistle Down The Wind, Cats and The Beautiful Game, which got him an Olivier Award nomination. You’ll soon be seeing David in a brand new role too, playing Kevin T in Come From Away.

Phantom in 2019: David Thaxton

David Thaxton in Jesus Christ Superstar (Photo: Johan Persson)

David has also appeared in other Andrew Lloyd Webber shows, including playing Raoul in Love Never Dies and Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar. An Olivier Award winner, David had previously played Enjolras in Les Misérables too. He’s recently taken over the role temporarily from Tim Howar, who’s completing a tour with the pop band, Mike and the Mechanics.

Glinda, Wicked

Glinda in 2009: Dianne Pilkington

Before playing Glinda the Good in Wicked, Dianne already had an incredibly impressive Theatreland CV. This included understudying Fantine in Les Misérables, performing in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game and touring in a production of Cats. After understudying Glinda for three months, Dianne got the lead part full-time and stayed in the show for an incredible three years. Her resume continued to add impressive productions post-Wicked too, including The 39 Steps, Mamma Mia! (which she also performed in for three years) and Young Frankenstein.

Glinda in 2019: Sophie Evans

Alice Fearn (Elphaba) and Sophie Evans (Glinda) in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (Photo: Matt Crockett)

Sophie is the youngest actress to have ever played Glinda in a West End production of Wicked. Recognise her from somewhere? She first came to the public’s attention as a contestant on the BBC talent show, Over the Rainbow, a quest to find the next Dorothy for the Wizard of Oz. Although she didn’t win, she still went onto play the role just over a year later. Who would have thought that nine years after that show aired, she’d be performing in a re-telling of that same iconic story!

Sophie, Mamma Mia!

Sophie in 2009: Niamh Perry

Similarly to Sophie, Niamh’s first taste of success came when she was a contestant on I’d Do Anything. Another Andrew Lloyd Webber search, she was competing for the part of Nancy in a new production of Oliver! Although she didn’t win, she went onto to play the role of Fleck in another Lloyd Webber production, Love Never Dies, as well as singing on the show’s official soundtrack.

Sophie in 2019: Georgia Louise

The London cast of Mamma Mia!

Still fairly new to Theatreland, Georgia only graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2017. But within a year of getting her Theatreland qualifications, Georgia had already landed herself a job at the Kinky Boots factory, as an understudy Lauren and within the ensemble.

Mufasa, Disney’s The Lion King

Mufasa in 2009: Shaun Escoffery

Shaun already had impressive credentials when he turned up to play Mufasa in 2009, having recently received an Olivier Award nomination for his performance in Parade, at the Donmar Warehouse.

The Lion King had been running for ten years at this point, but with previous experience in the West End production of Les Misérables too, Shaun could clearly handle this challenging role.

Mufasa in 2019: Shaun Escoffery

Yes, that’s right. Shaun has been playing Mufasa ever since!


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