Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Words From the Wings: Gaby French on Her Weird Pre-Show Rituals, Backstage British Chocolates, and More!

Gaby French plays Shirley in Hangmen, now playing on Broadway!

BroadwayWorld is bringing you Words From the Wings, a new series of interviews that take fans behind the scenes of some of their favorite Broadway stars' backstage routines!

Today, we're talking with Gaby French, who plays Shirley in Hangmen, now playing on Broadway! She told us all about her pre-show ritual that consists of a Welsh rugby song, her stash of British chocolates, and more. Check out her answers below!

Hangmen


What's the first thing you do when you arrive to the theatre?

I check the snack table!! Sometimes people bring in cakes, chocolates etc so I'll pocket them and head up to my dressing room. Then I warm up and relax a bit before the show.

What's the last thing you do before you go on stage?

I listen to the first scene in my dressing room whilst I'm doing my hair then I head backstage to listen to scene 2 before I go on. I love to listen to the play and gauge how it's being received.

HangmenWhat's your must-have backstage snack?

I have a little glass of chocolates in the dressing room so I'll have some when I come offstage in act 1! They're lush British chocolates called Roses so I've got a little stash of them that I dip into (strawberry dream is first choice). Or I do love a cookie.

Pre-show ritual that others may think is weird?

There's a Welsh rugby song that I always hum called 'Bread of Heaven' which started off as a warm up but has definitely become a bit of a ritual. I love it!

What are five must-haves in your dressing room?

A pillow, playlists, calendar, phone charger and a jumper.

What's your favorite moment from the show to watch from the wings?

There's actually nowhere in the wings where we can watch the show as most entrances are doors or stairs. So I sometimes head down to the monitor in the stage management office to watch the end of scene 1 and listen to audience reactions.

What has been your favorite backstage moment in your time with this show so far?

We made pina coladas backstage after opening night to have whilst we were getting ready. I think I was relieved that the show had gone well, my mum and dad were in to watch and we were all about to head out to celebrate something that we weren't sure would ever happen! And pina colada is my favourite drink so it was a very happy moment.


About Gaby French

During her second year at drama school, Gaby won the coveted Laurence Olivier Bursary Award. She left her third year early to play the lead in Hampstead Theatre's Scarlett. Shortly after, she was cast in Hangmen Off-Broadway, and she returned to the role for the show's Broadway run. Additional theater credits include If We Were Older (National Theatre). TV: "I May Destroy You" (HBO), "Inside No. 9," "The Ipcress File," "Gaynor & Ray," "Temple," "A Discovery of Witches," "Victoria." Film: Military Wives, Enola Holmes.

About Hangmen

From the mind of Martin McDonagh comes Hangmen, a killer comedy. What's Britain's second-most famous executioner to do now that hanging has been abolished? Drink, of course. But when a cub reporter and a mysterious stranger turn up at his pub, everything hangs in the balance.

In his small pub in the North of England in the mid-1960s, Harry is something of a local celebrity. But what's the second best hangman in England to do on the day they've abolished hanging? Amongst the cub reporters and pub regulars, people are dying to hear Harry's reaction to the news when an intriguing stranger, Mooney, from London -with a very different wardrobe and motive - enters their world.

The show is now playing at Broadway's Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street) through June 18.

Photo Credit: Avery Brunkus


BroadwayWorld Shop
Shop BroadwayWorld

Shop this season's new musicals! Get dressed up for a night at the theatre, or just a night at home, with merch from some of Broadway's biggest hits including SOME LIKE IT HOT, KIMBERLY AKIMBO, and more!

Start Shopping



Related Stories
Photos: Alfie Allen Receives Portrait at Sardis Photo
Alfie Allen recently received his portrait at Sardi's! Check out the photos here!

HANGMEN Enters Final Weeks of Performances Photo
Martin McDonagh’s new comedy, Hangmen, is about to enter its final three weeks of performances at Broadway’s Golden Theatre.

VIDEO: Alfie Allen Talks HANGMEN, McDonagh & More on Backstage with Richard Ridge Photo
Hangmen got a second chance at Broadway after it was forced to shutter while still in previews back in 2020. Now it's back, and this time around, Alfie Allen joins the company as the mysterious Mooney in Martin McDonagh's new comedy.

VIDEO: HANGMEN Cast Celebrates Opening Night on Broadway Photo
Martin McDonagh's Olivier Award-winning and New York Drama Critics' Circle Award-winning comedy Hangmen opened just last night at Broadway's Golden Theatre (252 West 45th Street). 


From This Author - Stephi Wild

Stephi serves as Managing Editor for BroadwayWorld, and has been a member of the team for over five years. Among many hats, she curates the daily "Wake Up With BWW" briefing,... (read more about this author)


Interview: K-Pop Powerhouse Performers ONEUS Talk Music, Reflect On Their Career, and MoreInterview: K-Pop Powerhouse Performers ONEUS Talk Music, Reflect On Their Career, and More
January 12, 2023

K-pop powerhouse performers ONEUS launch their first world tour on January 12, in New York City. Ahead of the tour's first stop, I had the pleasure to sit down with the group's five members - Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong, and Xion, to discuss everything from the tour, their impressive four-year career, and what they still would like to accomplish!

K-Pop Spotlight: ATEEZ Closes Out 2022 With 'SPIN OFF : FROM THE WITNESS' and Catchy Title Track 'HALAZIA'K-Pop Spotlight: ATEEZ Closes Out 2022 With 'SPIN OFF : FROM THE WITNESS' and Catchy Title Track 'HALAZIA'
January 7, 2023

K-pop's pirate kings ATEEZ, have recently released a new EP ‘SPIN OFF : FROM THE WITNESS’ to close out 2022. 

Interview: Scott Garnham and Simon Schofield Talk Bringing The Barricade Boys to 54 BelowInterview: Scott Garnham and Simon Schofield Talk Bringing The Barricade Boys to 54 Below
January 5, 2023

The UK’s No. 1 West End musical theatre supergroup, The Barricade Boys, are heading to 54 Below for the first time on January 16! We chatted with Scott and Simon about the upcoming show, what they're most excited for, and what fans can expect to see!

How to Audition For the Radio City RockettesHow to Audition For the Radio City Rockettes
January 4, 2023

Do you dream of joining the Radio City Rockettes? BroadwayWorld has all of the information you need to know about how to audition, requirements, and more!

Words From the Wings: Betsy Aidem of LEOPOLDSTADT on Talking to the Dead Backstage, and More!Words From the Wings: Betsy Aidem of LEOPOLDSTADT on Talking to the Dead Backstage, and More!
January 4, 2023

BroadwayWorld is bringing you Words From the Wings, a new series of interviews that take fans behind the scenes of some of their favorite Broadway stars' backstage routines! We're chatting with Betsy Aidem of Leopoldstadt, who told us all about how she talks to the dead before hitting the stage, and more!