BWW Interview: Ricardo Afonso Talks ZORRO: THE MUSICAL IN CONCERT at Cadogan Hall
Since moving to the UK from Portugal in 2005, Ricardo Afonso has become an exciting addition to the West End scene. Last summer, he received rave reviews for his performance as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican.
Ricardo caught up with BroadwayWorld UK to discuss his next outing as Zorro/Diego in Zorro: The Musical in concert at Cadogan Hall on 23 February.
You're no stranger to the wonderful Cadogan Hall. Are you excited to be heading back with Zorro?
Of course - it's a great venue. The building itself is beautiful. I've performed many different genres of music there, like a classic rock show, a few musical theatre concerts. And the place has a very special vibe to it. If you've been there, you'll understand what I'm saying. I think Cadogan Hall and the piece will suit each other - it'll be a good marriage.
You're part of a fantastic cast and creative team for this concert. Are you excited to work with them?
I am. I saw Emma [Williams] and Lesli [Margherita] in the West End production back in 2009, and it was wonderful to see them on stage. What a great show. The girls were phenomenal. Truly deserved the nominations they got, and should have won an award - both of them.
And I'm a huge fan of the music. I grew up listening to The Gipsy Kings on family holidays. I think we must have worn out the TDK 90-minute tape we had in our car, playing it backwards and forwards. That's how old I am, by the way! So it was wonderful to see it.
Actually, Zorro was my first audition in this country. I think it was 2005, and I got quite far [in the audition process]. But obviously Matt Rawle got the gig, and rightly so. He was amazing, just fantastic. So, in a way it's a complete 360. Funny how life is sometimes, you know? Stuff you thought had escaped you at the time - you just never know.
I was very, very inexperienced at the time. It was my very first audition. So I didn't know what to expect from the audition process in the UK, and I was very nervous. But it was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot from it. I'm just happy I get to do the role now!
Zorro is such a legendary role. Are you excited to put your own stamp on it?
I'm not going to lie - I had the cape, the mask and the sword when I was a kid. I must have broken at least a couple of lamps in my mum's place! Come on, how can you not like Zorro? He rides the horse, he fights the bad guys - he kisses the girl. So of course I'm very, very much looking forward to it. Not kissing the girls, by the way - my wife is the only girl I kiss!
Your career has spanned so many different musical genres. How does it feel to be working on music with an Hispanic heritage?
Well, I'm Portuguese, so of course we do have an affinity with our neighbouring country. And the music is wonderful. As I say, I know some of The Gipsy Kings' original music, so I'm looking forward to singing the songs and putting some English lyrics with them. I'm very excited.
It's not the first time I've played an Hispanic role - I played Taxi Driver in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse, and that was a great experience. And in this new concert format, playing two different roles with two very different energies - it should be interesting.
Why should people come and see this new concert version of Zorro?
Well, the cast is amazing. You get to see Lesli and Emma again - and plus Robert Tripolino is going to join us, which is fantastic as I just did Jesus Christ Superstar with him at the Barbican. Zubin Varla is joining us as well - the cast will be amazing. Tremendous voices, great music - it's a winner. You have to come and see this!
And lastly, will we see any swords?
I don't think so - I wish! Unless they're keeping it as a surprise: "Guess what guys, here's the swords - go for it!" [laughs] But, we'll do the whole thing - all of the dialogue and songs. The full musical but in concert form. It's going to be great!