I’m all for new writing in musical theatre, as you may well know by now, but that’s not to say I don’t have a soft spot for the old classics either. The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables are two of my favourite musicals and most likely top the list for many other people too, but there are countless other shows which, although haven’t achieved the same milestone as these two long-runners, have certainly been around long enough to become a classic in the minds of theatre-goers. There are shows such as Chicago which is heading out of the West End, but spent 15 years giving its audiences a little ‘razzle dazzle’. There are shows which have found their way home to the West End, such as Singin’ In The Rain,which is still a ‘splash’ with the fans. Then of course, there are shows which are travelling on the road to entertain the entire country, such as one of musical theatre’s most popular shows: Oliver!
After several West End productions over the years, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2009 production, Oliver! is now touring the UK with an all-star cast which includes Brian Conley, Iain Fletcher and Samantha Barks. There are a number of little stars in the Oliver! ensemble too, the bright talent of Matt Harrop being one of those shining through.
Born and raised in Southport, Merseyside, Matt Harrop is a graduate of the renowned Guildford School of Acting (GSA). One of the biggest theatre credits to his name comes from numerous roles in ‘the show of shows’ Les Miserables, having played Grantaire, U/S Thernadier and served as dance captain at both the Palace and Queens Theatres , as well as performing as Grantaire in a concert version and as Bamatabois in a touring production in Scandinavia. He was in the ensemble and covered the roles of Harry/Zoltan Karpothy in My Fair Lady (UK Tour), played 1st Finance Man/Cover Manfred in Sunset Boulevard (UK Tour) and Prince John in Blondel (Pleasance Theatre), before appearing on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Voice of the Musical’ in 2006, where he made it through to the semi-finals.
Following that, Harrop went on to play Riff-Raff in The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), Old Berger in Hair (English Theatre, Frankfurt, Germany) and Owen O’Maliey in On The Twentieth Century (Union Theatre). Other credits include King Rat in Dick Whittington (Cochrane Theatre), the title role in the workshop of Moonshadow, Fernando on the studio recording of The Postman and the Poet (Abbey Road Studios), Uncle Karl in an adaption of The Trial, Anyone Can Whistle in Concert (Savoy Theatre), A Handful of Keys (Prince Edward Theatre), Cora’s Boy and a cabaret with Nathan Taylor (Pheasantry).
Harrop is currently part of the ensemble in the Oliver! UK tour, also understudying the principal role of Fagin. He is certainly someone to keep your eye on; with his wide range of stage experience and an overflow of talent that’ll turn envious faces as green as Elphaba’s, Matt Harrop is one performer who will leave you wanting more…
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
You can follow Matt on Twitter: (@mattharrop).
Saturday 4th August 2012