We’ve all got one. The headliner you would happily cross oceans for. The one you are almost too nervous to stage door because they mean so much and should you finally meet them, well, what would you say?! The unmatched star of your ipod on shuffle, the one to whom certain songs belong. The musical theatre performer who sets the standard in this world we love.
We’ve all got one, and mine is Ruthie Henshall.
For 25 years this pint-sized triple threat has been one of the brightest lights of musical theatre, playing some of the great female leads of our time, from Grizabella in CATS to Nancy in OLIVER, through Ellen in MISS SAIGON.
She originated the role of Polly on the West End in CRAZY FOR YOU, and has shared a Broadway stage with Carol Burnett in Sondheim’s PUTTING IT TOGETHER.
She played both Roxie and Velma on Broadway after originating the role of Roxie in the acclaimed West End revival of CHICAGO, and her appearance as Fantine in the 10th Anniversary “Dream Cast” concert of LES MISERABLES includes what many consider to be the definitive performance of “I Dreamed a Dream”.
Henshall won an Olivier in 1995 for SHE LOVES ME, and had acclaimed (but short-lived) leading roles in the original musicals PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED and MARGUERITE. With acting roles on the small screen in both the US and the UK, she also appeared as a judge on the UK TV show Dancing on Ice.
Celebrating 25 years in the business this year, Ruthie Henshall appears to be only at her beginning. She recently made her first appearance on an Australian stage in a charity performance of SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM, and will be debuting a solo show at the Hippodrome Casino in London in September, with further UK concerts to round out 2012.
Her first book “So You Want To Be In Musicals” is released in September, and there is a new CD in the works; for this fourth solo album fans around the world have been given the unique opportunity to nominate the songs they’d most like to hear on the album.
Once voted “The Most Popular Musical Actress of the Past 21 Years” in the UK, Ruthie Henshall really is the one who set the standard for me, and as such I am thrilled to offer you a little insight into her brain on musical theatre!
This is Your Brain on Musical Theatre – Ruthie Henshall
Is there a particular show and/or person that first made you feel like ‘this is what I want to do’?
Gene Kelly! What a brilliant dancer! I wanted to be in a film with him!
Can you remember the moment when you first understood that you could sing the way most others can’t?
When I was in the school choir and the teacher kept stopping in front of me to listen.
Is there one night in your career that you would love to go back to and experience over again?
The opening night of Crazy For You; the best night of my career.
What book/TV show/movie is a musical just waiting to happen?
Fifty Shades Of Grey. Kidding!!!
Do you still sing in the shower when you sing for a living?!
No, I never find myself singing in the shower. I sing when I'm walking the dog, because that's when I learn music.
And finally, borrowing from James Lipton via Bernard Pivot:
What sound or noise do you love?
I know it's corny, but it's true: the sound of my children laughing. It instantly makes me happy on a level I can't describe.
Upcoming Appearances for Ruthie Henshall (and how to nominate songs for her CD!):
AN EVENING WITH RUTHIE HENSHALL