Chichester Festival Theatre has done it again, with yet another of its critically acclaimed revivals having made it into the West End. The classic Broadway musical, Gypsy, is back in London following its 5* run in Chichester last year, led by the incomparable Imelda Staunton as Momma Rose. She reprised her role for the West End production, as did Lara Pulver, Gemma Sutton and several other members of the original cast, but there are also some new faces to be seen here in London, one of which is that of Lucinda Shaw. A rising star in the industry, this talented stage actress is a valuable addition to the company and has more than earned her place in the ranks of In Profile.
Lucinda Shaw’s path to the West End stage started a long way away from London, all the way in Australia, in fact. She is a graduate of Brent Street Studios, the leading performing arts school in Sydney, Australia which has been providing high quality performing arts training since it was established in 1986.
She went on to perform in a variety of productions ‘Down Under’ after completing her training. She was part of the company of Sweet Charity at the State Theatre in Melbourne and Pippin at Sydney Theatre, as well as playing the Yitzhak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Cremorne Theatre, Queensland. She was also involved in several touring productions, including a National Tour of Dusty The Musical in which she was the understudy for the title role.
At only 23 years of age, Shaw secured her first leading role in a production of Monty Python’s Spamalot at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, Australia. She played the show’s only principal female character, The Lady of The Lake, drawing inspiration for the role from a range of the world’s current day divas, such as Sarah Brightman, Celine Dion, Liza Minnelli and Whitney Houston. Her performance earned her a nomination for ‘Best Female Actor in a Musical’ in the 2009 Helpmann Awards.
As Shaw’s career started to move along, so did she; relocating here to take on the challenge of the UK theatre industry. She launched her UK invasion in the role of Violet in It’s A Wonderful Life at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, going on to play The Enchantress in Sleeping Beauty at the Birmingham Hippodrome and also becoming involved in Mercury Musical Development’s X. She then gained her first major theatre role here when she was cast in the original London production of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, making her West End début at the Palace Theatre as a Diva in the show. Her other theatre credits include appearing in Bohemian Rhapsody on the National Tour and in Monte Carlo, and two touring productions of Queen musical We Will Rock You, first covering the roles of Scaramouche, Meat and Killer Queen on the Japan Tour and then playing Alternate Killer Queen on the Hong Kong and Thailand tour. She was also involved in the National Theatre workshop of Wonderland, directed by Rufus Norris, and features in the film adaption of the NT’s London Road, also directed by Rufus Norris.
She next appeared as Mazeppa in a production of the iconic Broadway musical, Gypsy, at the Leicester Curve, in which she also understudied the principal role of Momma Rose. After that, it was back to the West End for a second time to join yet another original London cast. She was cast in the musical adaption of the classic film, The Bodyguard, which made its world première at the Adelphi Theatre on 5th December 2012. She was a member of the ensemble in the hit musical, spending nearly a year there before departing for her next adventure in Tim Rice’s From Here to Eternity. The brand new musical opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 30th September 2013 and marked her third West End appearance as part of an original London cast, playing the ensemble role of Sandra/New Congress Club Trio.
From Here to Eternity closed for good on 29th March 2014, after which she spent some time in Australia before returning to the UK, and the London stage.
She is currently appearing in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Gypsy, which transferred to the West End following its sold out run in Chichester between 6th October and 8th November 2014. She joined the show when it came to the West End, opening at the Savoy Theatre on 15th April 2015 (previews from 28th March 2015) and marking it as the first production of the popular Sondheim musical to be seen in London for 40 years. Imelda Staunton reprised her role as Momma Rose alongside Lara Pulver (Louise) and Gemma Sutton (June) in Jonathan Kent’s critically acclaimed revival, joined by Peter Davison as Herbie. Shaw’s role in the production is in an ensemble capacity, appearing on-stage as Mother/Stripper/Showgirl. Gypsy originally transferred to the West End for a limited 12-week engagement, but has since been given an extended run that now keeps it at the Savoy Theatre until 28th November 2015.
Life in the UK is good for Lucinda Shaw right now as her career continues to take her to new and exciting places. She’s already accrued an impressive list of theatre credits and is currently appearing in one of the biggest and best musicals in the West End. The future is looking bright for this talented young actress, who will hopefully be sticking around in the West End for many more years to come.
You can follow Lucinda on Twitter: @lucindashaw
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 25th July 2015