With free theatrical extravaganza West End LIVE in association with MasterCard barely a week away (23 & 24 June), we quizzed three of Sunday’s performers, musical theatre stars Mark Evans, Louise Dearman and Alex Gaumond, and learned about being old before your time, performing for 70,000 people, a shared love of Beyoncé and a penchant for really bad jokes.
How would you describe yourself in six words?
Evans: Fun, hard-working, focused, ambitious, loving, bit of a Granddad.
Dearman: Loyal, friendly, silly, caring, tidy and passionate.
Gaumond: Hard-working, driven, dedicated, musical, bilingual and perfectionist. Sounds boring, doesn’t it? I also like bad jokes involving wordplay (think Christmas crackers) but didn’t know how to encompass that in one word.
How are you feeling about performing in Trafalgar Square as part of West End LIVE?
Evans: I can’t wait. I am looking forward to getting out there and singing songs from my album and seeing everyone sing along too as so many of the people there have a copy of my album by now and have known the songs for a while!
Dearman: I’m so excited! I have never had the opportunity to perform at West End LIVE and I can’t wait! I’m expecting an incredible atmosphere and tons of fabulous people looking to have a good time.
Gaumond: I’m very excited to perform at this year’s West End LIVE as I got a taste of it two years ago with Legally Blonde, but with the event now moved to Trafalgar Square the crowd and the buzz you get should be even bigger.
What is the largest crowd you have performed for?
Evans: I performed at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee with Rod Stewart for 70,000 people at the Mall. I suppose that’s the biggest live crowd I’ve seen from a stage but I was a contestant on BBC’s Eurovision-Your Country Needs You over three years ago now and we had viewing figures of approximately seven million, which is hard to picture as a whole group but nonetheless they were all watching whilst I was singing live.
Dearman: The largest crowd I have performed for was on tour with Michael Ball at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a wonderful experience and totally overwhelming. My ultimate goal is to play my own gig there.
Gaumond: I led the UK tour cast of We Will Rock You and we performed a few songs from the show at Coventry City’s first Championship football game of the season in 2009 against Ipswich. Their home ground (Ricoh Arena) holds over 30,000. It was an amazing feeling to perform to such a big crowd, especially singing those Queen anthems.
Who would make it into your ideal festival line-up?
Evans: Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Jessie J, James Morrison, Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman and, of course, Louise Dearman.
Dearman: Adele, I adore her and her music, she is so grounded but with such a phenomenal talent. Beyoncé because she is the ultimate diva, a true superstar. Take That because I’ve been a fan since the very beginning and my girlfriends from back home would go crazy! And George Michael because I’ve always been a huge fan. His music is timeless to me.
Gaumond: Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, The Script, Coldplay and Pink. Some of them because I love their songs, some of them because I love their stage presence.
What is the best experience you have had in London’s West End?
Evans: Probably taking my bow after my first ever performance as Sam Wheat in Ghost The Musical. I had worked hard to get the role and actually standing there having just done it on stage with a fantastic audience gave me the biggest surge of overwhelming adrenalin I think I’d ever had.
Dearman: As a performer, Wicked was such a special part of my life and my career. To be part of such an incredible show made me feel truly blessed. Aside from theatre, one of my proudest moments was going to the premiere of Michael Jackson – The Life Of An Icon in Leicester Square, which my boyfriend Andrew directed. It was an unforgettable night.
Gaumond: I’m afraid that’s a complete tie between playing Emmett in Legally Blonde and Galileo in We Will Rock You. With Legally Blonde I had the privilege of being part of the original London cast, so we worked in detail with the original creative team from Broadway and as an actor I was able to inject a lot of myself into the role. On the flipside, playing Galileo is pretty much the closest you get to being a rock god. At the end of the show, the energy you get coming from the audience in front of you and the rest of the cast behind you is second to none and feels incredible.
What inspired you to become a performer?
Evans: I just can’t imagine doing anything else. When I was a teenager I didn’t know it was possible to do it as your job; I assumed people did it for fun and had proper jobs to earn a living.
Dearman: I have danced since I was three so performing has always been in my blood. A turning point was performing at the London Palladium in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as part of the children’s choir. Being on that stage surrounded by the cream of the West End who became my idols of musical theatre was a dream and that little taster made up my mind that being a professional actor in the world of theatre was all I wanted to be.
Gaumond: I started with music from a very early age. I moved into singing when I was a teenager and gradually developed an affinity for musicals so I joined a few productions at my college. The real turn of fate came when I had an opportunity to move to the UK with my family, which enabled me to train at Guildford School of Acting. That’s where I really developed as a performer.
What is your favourite song on your album?
Evans: My personal favourite to sing is Coming Home, my favourite to listen to is Until Then as it chills me out. The most popular two tracks with the fans seem to be The Journey Home, which is the title track, and the duet I sing with Ashleigh Gray titled Alive, which was written by one of my favourite composers and a friend of mine, Michael Bruce.
Dearman: That’s tough as I honestly love each and every song. It depends what mood I’m in. Time After Time is beautiful and very moving, Little Bird is a great track to dance around to before a night out and Squander has become very special as so many people have commented on it when I’ve performed it live, but every song complements the next.
Gaumond: We are currently working very hard on plans for an album in the future but for now I am very excited about my first single being released called Here I Am. I think it has all the right ingredients: a great melody, a nice rock/pop groove, a positive and uplifting feel and I don’t think you could get a better title for a first single!
What else are you looking forward to this summer?
Evans: Running my summer school West End In Wales in August and being in London during such an exciting year. I’m still loving playing Sam Wheat in Ghost and will still be doing that over the summer as well as hopefully enjoying a bit of London sunshine – and I have a holiday planned for September, which will be great.
Dearman: A long holiday! I’m also really looking forward to Manchester and London Prides and, of course, West End LIVE!
Gaumond: Obviously the Olympics should be very exciting but apart from that I will be focusing most of my energy on developing my album.
Evans, Dearman and Gaumond will all be appearing at West End LIVE, London’s free entertainment festival held in Trafalgar Square on 23 and 24 June, where every single West End musical will also be performing during the fantastic weekend. For more information visit www.westendlive.co.uk