BWW Interview: Louise Dearman On Gershwin And GUYS AND DOLLS Tour!
When we ring Louise Dearman, she answers in a whisper. We're worried that she might have lost her voice - but we quickly learn that her tour flatmate, Anna O'Byrne, who plays Sgt Sarah Brown, is still asleep and she doesn't want to wake her...
Let's start by talking about the new album 'Gershwin in Hollywood' on which you feature - it must have been so much fun to sing!
It was thrilling. I first worked with the John Wilson Orchestra when I did Kiss Me Kate at the BBC Proms, and he's called me back quite a few times now, for his Bernstein Prom and his tours and now this album. It was amazing - the tour was fantastic, it's wonderful to explore this different music. I feel very challenged when I work with John, he's got the most wonderful energy about him, he's very charismatic and witty, but you're very aware that the second he picks the baton up, you need to be on your game, there's no messing about. I've learnt so many new songs, songs I didn't even know existed, but I've loved exploring the different genres. It's about bringing together vocalists to deliver the authentic style required, and that's challenging for me - that's why I love it. Performing this Gershwin music, some of which I didn't know, was just wonderful. I've really enjoyed singing in that style. Going from Wicked, for example, that very contemporary belty sound to a completely different side of my voice - it's been brilliant.
You say you didn't know some of the music - what was the nicest surprise?
Do you know what I really loved? 'Clap Your Hands'. I didn't know it, I have to say, and when I first heard it I remember thinking, 'This one's going to be so hard to learn - I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy this one.' By the time it came to performing it, it was such good fun, and you can feel the energy from the orchestra, and John picked up the pace a little bit as well, I could just see him grinning at me from the corner of my eye. Also 'The Man I Love', it's a classic and a standard in its own right, but I've never sung it, so to perform it in the Royal Albert Hall for this recording was brilliant. Another one that people have commented on is 'Someone To Watch Over Me' - that starts acapella, so maybe a third of the song with no orchestra. That was really special for me - just stood on that stage singing, and then for this sensational orchestra to bleed into the song. I think that even brought a tear to my agent's eye. But there's not one on there I didn't enjoy singing. [Fellow singer] Matthew Ford is a pleasure to perform with. He's got that sound and that style, it's just in him. It's always a lot of fun performing with them all.
You're so busy, though - obviously you're touring at the moment.
It's wonderful! I find touring hard because I'm such a homebod. The last couple of years I've done a lot of concert work and very often it's in very short stints, so the thought of going off around the country was a bit daunting, but I'm loving it because I love the show. It's enuinely one of my all-time favourite musicals. I said that when I was in the ensemble in the Donmar Warehouse production and then went off on the tour to play Sarah Brown, and I remember saying then I wanted to play Adelaide one day. It's been about biding my time and waiting until I'm the right age - I'm still a bit young now to play it, but I make her slightly older, and I have a kooky little wig. This is a great production, and the cast is great. People say all the time it's like a family, but everyone does get on brilliantly, there's a fantastic ensemble, and it's whizzing by - it'll be done before I know it. It's got everything - it's funny, it's sexy, it's got such heart. People really feel for this show and leave the theatre with a grin on their faces.
Yes, and one of the great things about Adelaide is she's funny, but not a figure of fun.
That's the danger sometimes. I discussed it with our director and said I didn't want to do a silly voice and make her a comedy character. She's funny because of her naivete and she wears her heart on her sleeve and she comes out with things that are ditzy, but it's said with truth behind it - she's not trying to be funny, she's a genuine person with a huge heart, and all she wants in life is to be loved by this man, to be made an honest woman, to move to the country, and live a simple life. She's a very sweet character to play. The audience really do come on board with me and embrace her.
You mention being too young for the role - I like it when Adelaide's played slightly younger! It's something that I think is quite relevant to a modern audience too - a woman in her mid-thirties, her contemporaries have settled down, she wants to have a family, and she feels she's been left behind.
Exactly. When I'm her, I feel a little bit older - but not years and years. My partner and I have been together for seven years, and we talk about getting married and having a baby, and it keeps getting put off and put off - I can kind of relate to her, but I hope it doesn't take that long! (laughs)
That would be too ironic! You're in Dunstable at the Grove Theatre soon for something else...
I forgot about that! My charity concert this year (on Sunday April 24) is for Diabetes UK, and I have the most wonderful line-up of people - Killian Donnelly, Jon Robyns, Lauren Samuels. Joe Pasquale is compering it for me. It's going to be a lot of fun - and there's a lot to pack in as well! People are definitely going to get their money's worth.
Louise Dearman is touring with Josh Groban in May before returning to the role of Miss Adelaide in the UK tour of Guys and Dolls. She is performing with the John Wilson Orchestra this summer and singing with Ramin Karimloo at the London Palladium on July 16.