We chatted to the actor about the upcoming filmed production of BKLYN the musical.
Hi Newtion, for those who aren’t familiar with BKLYN the musical what is it about?
It’s a magical, modern fairytale set in Brooklyn about family we inherit and family we make, healing, feelings of isolation and redemption. Things we are all going through: looking inwards to go onwards… to understand better, especially at this time.
How does it feel to get to perform in this musical?
Epic! ‘Tis rather juicy, I’ve gotta say. After we’d had our rapid Covid tests, the first day in the rehearsal room with other bodies was a serious rush. I had to count myself back down from hyper at being able to get in a room, rehearse,
and learn meaty hearty material round a piano. And with this cast! The fire is a lot.The musical is truly beautiful and I had a true ‘well no wait just a minute’ moment, when I read the script. The process was and is a great example of what can be done working with cross mediums in order to bring theatre and the arts to everyone, whilst progressing back to live performance. None of us were surviving this lockdown without the arts…be it in music, film, TV or creation. It’s so important we stay actively creative as much as possible. Fatima will NOT be retraining.
How familiar with the musical were you before being involved with this production?
To be honest I knew ‘Brooklyn in the blood’ as a song; but I didn’t know the show. The back story on how the piece came to be is really touching; and adds a beautiful layer to the fine line we dance between life and art.
Have you a favourite song from the show?
I will say this: the rep folder is looking hella cute with my new additions. To pick is kind of impossible. Of course I adore my songs. But listening to everyone singing what are pound for pound, really well written and composed pieces I couldn’t say. You’ve got Emma [Kingston] wowing the place down with those princess with bite vocals. Magic. Sejal [Keshwala] who honestly harmonises with the air. Exquisite. Jamie [Muscato] serving blue eyed soul, being a smooth operator; stunning. And of course Queen Marisha [Wallace] who creates a spotlight moment, makes you laugh and takes you to church within and of a song. So to pick is kind of impossible. I’m just in love with the show. And my cast mates and I really put our stamp on these classics. You’re in for such a treat. Did someone say cast recording?
What was it that made you want to be part of BKLYN?
So, Dean Johnson our director found me through a performance I did at The Jazz Cafe, on YouTube; next thing I’m in a musical and I’m the ‘Magic Man’. 2020 had us all in a madness so I’ve been wanting to perform, of course – blessing one. And to be in a leading role with such heart, blessing two. So when the team got in contact, it was a very written in the ethers moment – blessing three. Then I read what it was about and how they were going about it, I was all in. Plus! My character of ‘Street Singer’ is a beautiful part. I love to enjoy parts that converse with me as a Black actor, and he did that. I know this ‘uncle’ or older brother albeit from ends, but it’s the heart of him and the quiet strength that it takes to be a gentleman in this world (with all it’s projections) as a dark skin Black man that truly resonated with me – blessing four. He is not without his demons nor his faults but it’s that magic that I love to, and always see shining from the pain and joy of healing throughout my elders that I felt in him. I wanted to bring that through his journey. Plus I got to sing out y’all. Which was much received therapy for the soul.
What would you say is the main reason why people should watch this production? It’s a heart warming moment for all the family. It gives you two hours of beauty. The production has an electricity to it. They (Lambert Jackson) have been incredible in how they’ve used a space and turned it into a piece that feels like live theatre. It also works as a film in and of itself; but it’s the blend of those two things that truly makes this a beautiful and multi dimensional experience. The songs are banging. The story is immense. The vocals slay, and the cast are sexy. It’s a great night out with a truly touching piece of art. Visually, it’s a feast. I was blown when I first saw the set and the details they’d put into this world of “Brooklyn”. It’s a special thing. I’m so excited for everyone to receive what we’ve created. Grab a ticket, tell a friend, and if you love it/when you love it, buy another ticket and do it all again.
By Emma Clarendon
BKLYN – The Musical will be streamed via Stream.Theatre from the 22nd March until the 4th April.