The whole reason ‘In Profile’ began was that I believed there were a wealth of ensemble members working in the West End who were being sorely underrated. The likes of Ramin Karimloo, Louise Dearman and John Owen Jones are adored by fans from all over the country – and with good reason. They are hugely talented at what they do and fully deserve the recognition they receive for that, but with such brightly shining stars on the West End stages however, the lesser-known names can find themselves overlooked. There are some hidden gems in their midst however; let’s not forget that those big stars were once exactly where they are. So I determined to shine the spotlight on these talented individuals that make up the ensembles of our West End shows and give them the recognition they also deserve – one person who certainly fits the bill is Laura Selwood.
Laura Selwood was most recently seen performing in Ghost The Musical, one of the most successful shows to hit London in 2011. It has won awards and was recently nominated in several categories for the 2012 Olivier Awards. This week has also seen its Broadway debut and in 2013, Melbourne will also get to share in the phenomenon of Ghost The Musical. In our original UK production, Selwood performed alongside the rest of its ensemble and understudied Caissie Levy in the lead role of Molly, playing the part on a number of occasions for which she was widely acclaimed. Ghost was hardly her first taste of the stage however.
After a two year Musical Theatre course at Bridgend College, Welsh-born Selwood went on to study Acting at the University of Glamorgan for a further two years before being accepted at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts where, after three years, she graduated in 2005 with a 1st class BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre. During her training years, Selwood was involved in a number of productions, including Showboat (New Theatre Cardiff) and Carousel (Bridewell Theatre, as well as being a principal singer in a rehearsed reading of Laurence Mark Wythe’s Jack Dagger. 2005 saw her join the ensemble cast of Hair at The Gate Theatre, where she covered the roles of Sheila and Chrissy. Other theatre credits include Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens (Swing, Leicester Square Theatre), Maid of the Mountains (Gianetta, Finborough Theatre), Beyond The Barricades (Principal Singer, smart move productions) and A Model Girl (Mandy Rice Davies, Greenwich Theatre). In 2007, Selwood embarked on her first UK tour with the production of Take That musical Never Forget as Bubbles. She also covered the role of Chloe.
Selwood’s first major move into London’s West End was with the film-to-musical Mamma Mia! at the Prince of Wales Theatre. She stayed with the show for two years, playing best friend/bridesmaid Lisa and understudying the lead role of bride-to-be Sophie and from there, she went on to Ghost, another successful film adaption.
I most recently saw Selwood at the winter showcase of Giggin4Good, a regular concert extravaganza that raises funds for Great Ormond Street. She stepped in to take the place of Rhiannon Porter (who was away on tour) for the first live performance of new Welsh musical My Land’s Shore, which has been accruing a massive following since the release of its cast recording. Those who own a copy will have heard Porter’s stunning vocals on the album and know what a demanding sing her character is. Selwood has quite the powerful set of lungs on her though and her impressive belt was more than up to the challenge. Performing alongside other MLS cast members Jonathan Williams, Kelly-Anne Gower, Sarah Lark, Alexis James, Gareth Richards and Kit Orton, Selwood was just sensational as she showed off the pipes which are going to see her on her way to becoming a West End star in her own right.
Laura Selwood is definitely one to watch in my opinion and now that her adventure at Ghost The Musical has come to an end, I’m sure it will be worth the while following her onto the next one.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 17th March 2012
You can follow Laura Selwood on Twitter (@LauraSelwood).