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BWW Interview: Dominic Andersen Talks WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

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On playing Tom Jones in the new musical comedy

BWW Interview: Dominic Andersen Talks WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Dominic Andersen

Dominic Andersen has previously starred in Heathers The Musical, Rocky Horror Show and Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical.

Now he's heading back to the 1960s to originate the role of Tom Jones in What's New Pussycat?, a new musical based on a book by Henry Fielding, featuring the songs of Tom Jones.

We chat to Dominic about what audiences can expect, working with renowned choreographer Arlene Phillips, and what he's enjoying about originating the role of Tom Jones.

Tell us about What's New Pussycat?

It's based on a successful book called The History of Tom Jones, which was written in the 18th century by Henry Fielding. It's all about Tom Jones, who is a foundling, and his adventures growing up.

The show itself is set in the 1960s, and features the music of pop star Tom Jones. We've blended three things together to create this really nice synergy of a show, and it works brilliantly.

You play the role of Tom Jones in the show. How would you describe him?

He's discovering who he is. He starts the show as a bit of an outlier. He's full of energy, youth, curiosity, and is completely and utterly spontaneous and exciting.

Does your experience differ when you're originating a role, like you are with Tom Jones?

Yeah, I think it gives me a lot of artistic licence. Luke Sheppard [the director] has really given us the tools to chisel our own identities into this musical.

BWW Interview: Dominic Andersen Talks WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Bronté Barbé and Dominic Andersen

It's so fulfilling to create your own part, because you discover so much about yourself as you go along the process. You don't have to fit into a cookie-cutter mould, so it forces your imagination to explode every day. It's a real honour to create something and be the first person to do it

Arlene Phillips has choreographed the show. What have you enjoyed the most about learning her choreography?

Arlene knows the 1960s period very well, and was discovering London herself at that time, so it's all rooted in absolute truth. What she brings to the choreography is an integrity and an authenticity that transcends what you'd expect. I think she's absolutely brilliant and is a joy to work with.

How did rehearsals go?

Rehearsals went really well. The cast is amazing and the whole team have the passion and the vision to really bring this show to life. It's creating something that I couldn't have even imagined.

What drew you to appear in What's New Pussycat?

First of all, I love the music of Tom Jones, it's always been a secret pleasure of mine, I just love it so much. But also, the novel itself is a brilliant story.

The writer of the show, Joe DiPietro, has created a book that takes all the best pieces and weaves it through and creates something that's full of heart. I saw the script and thought, with all of that together, I'm in!

BWW Interview: Dominic Andersen Talks WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? at Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Bronté Barbé and Dominic Andersen

You recently performed a few numbers from the show at West End LIVE. How did that feel?

It was absolutely terrifying, but also equally, it reminds you why you do theatre in the first place. The audience energy was just incredible, there's nothing like it.

Why should people come and see What's New Pussycat?

Because it's something they've never seen before. It's an incredibly well-written musical, and the songs are just incredible; everything merges so beautifully. You should let your curiosity get the better of you because it's truly brilliant.

What's New Pussycat? is at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 8 October-14 November. Tickets are available now.

Photo credit: Michael Wharle


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