Interview: 'It's Wonderful To Do Every Night': Actor Cassidy Janson on JERRY'S GIRLS

'It's just beautiful melody after beautiful melody and I love singing the songs so much'

By: Jun. 17, 2024
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Interview: 'It's Wonderful To Do Every Night': Actor Cassidy Janson on JERRY'S GIRLS
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Jerry’s Girls, a musical revue featuring the music of the late, great Jerry Herman, is currently running at the Menier Chocolate Factory. The show, a three-hander, stars Cassidy Janson, Jessica Martin and Julie Yammanee singing songs from hit musicals like Hello Dolly!, La Cage Aux Folles and Mame

Recently, we had the chance to speak with Cassidy Janson about taking on the three-hander show. We discussed how she first got into the world of theatre, what made her want to be a part of this production and her love for the Menier Chocolate Factory!


How did you first get involved in the world of theatre?

It was through college! As students we did an off-West End production of Snoopy the Musical at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Highbury & Islington. We did this tiny little pub theatre version and I got my first agent from that and everything took off from there!

And what made you want to be a part of Jerry's Girls?

I love Jerry Herman’s music! I love the Menier Chocolate Factory - this will be my third play now, so it feels like home. It's just beautiful melody after beautiful melody and I love singing the songs so much. I love working with Jessica Martin and Julie Yammanee, the director, Hannah Chissick, Matt Cole [Choreographer] and his assistant, Myles Brown. It's just the most lovely, gorgeous team! Sarah Travis has got all these new orchestrations and they're just gorgeous, so it's wonderful to do every night. It really is. 

For those unfamiliar with the Jerry’s Girls, can you tell us a bit about it and the role that you play?

It's actually a revue show so there's no real plot! It was originally done in the 1980s with Carol Channing and Chita Rivera and a plethora of amazing talents in the show. But what it normally is is a revue show of all of Jerry Herman's greater hits. And what Hannah Chissick has done brilliantly is she’s given a subtle, little story. We don't have character names - we're just Woman One, Woman Two, Woman Three. She put a tiny little story into why we might be singing these songs. There's a gentle little storyline that gives us a reason to sing the songs. And there's an element of the Vaudevillian types of theatres, being backstage in a dressing room and then going on stage. It's gorgeous, as well, the set! Amazing. And I just like saying “Vaudevillian” [Laughs]. 

What is it like to be part of a revue show compared to a typical West End musical?

There's no dialogue, so it's much more compact, but it's not like a sung-through show where you're singing dialogue because there's an emotion that needs to be conveyed. You're just going through a bunch of absolutely brilliant songs! It’s really good for the vocal stamina. There's quite a bit of dancing as well, so it's good to for the body stamina! That's a difference - there's no dialogue at all.

Had you known much about Jerry Herman before joining the production?

I knew him from La Cage aux Folles, Hello, Dolly!, and Mame! I didn't know that he passed away just before the end of 2019 so he was around until very recently. 

Jerry's Girls
Julie Yammanee, Cassidy Janson, Jessica Martin in Jerry's Girls.
Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

How have the performances been?

Intense! There's only three of us in the show, but really fun. We've all got on really well. We came in and it was a very focused four weeks rehearsal, one week tech, so it's been intense but really fun - I've really enjoyed it. It’s been like the musical theatre boot camp, everything you need to do in four weeks of theatre to do to tick every box.

What is it like to be in a three-hander like this?

It's fun! Not a lot of noise in the rehearsal room because only three of us and we’re always on stage. We all get on great which is a relief! And I've done a few two, three-handers before and I really enjoyed those. It's a nice little tight team.

What has it been like coming back to the Menier Chocolate Factory for your third show? 

It’s always nice to work at the Chocolate Factory! You've got a real unique atmosphere in the building. Even the smell of it - it's like time travel for me every time I go there!

Do you have any favourite songs to perform in the show?

I really love singing “I Won’t Send Roses” and “If He Walked Into My Life.” Oh! And “Song On the Sand,” our mini version of it. It's so gorgeous because the three of us are singing the whole thing in three-part harmony. I love it!

What do you hope audiences take away from Jerry’s Girls?

For people to come and go, “I've had a charming night of theatre!” You're going to have a smile on your face. It's just really nice! There's no dark bits, no twisty horror plots or anything like that. It's just, “Oh my god what amazing songs! What beautiful melodies! My heart is full.”

And finally, how would you describe Jerry’s Girls in one word?

Charming!

Jerry’s Girls runs until 29 June at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Photo credit: Tristram Kenton

Read our review of Jerry's Girls here.




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