There was exciting news for Wicked fans yesterday regarding the forthcoming UK tour of the musical, which opens at the Manchester Theatre Palace in September, as the principal cast were announced. Nikki Davis Jones, who was a former standby Elphaba in the West End production, is set to take on the role full time for the Wicked tour, while Emily Tierney will star opposite her as Glinda. Tierney previously appeared as Glinda in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revival of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. The rest of the principal cast includes Liam Doyle as Fiyero, Marilyn Cutts as Madame Morrible, Dale Rapley as The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond, Carina Gillespie as Nessarose and George Ure, who will be reprising his role as Boq, having played the part in the West End for three years.
While talk of the performers leading the UK tour is on everyone’s lips, the talented line-up currently performing on stage every night at the Apollo Victoria is not to be overlooked. The show, and indeed the audience too, are fortunate to have such a strong cast, with this praise encompassing the entire company, from principal performers to the members of the ensemble. Wicked is a very busy show for the ensemble team and so much of what they do adds to the overall visual effect of this popular musical. That is why, this week, Oliver Watton is the featured ensemble member for In Profile.
Oliver Watton is a well-rounded stage and TV actor who began his professional career at the tender age of twelve, playing Douglas in the UK tour of Shadowlands. He went on to work with the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) on a production of Bugsy Malone, directed by Russell Labey, and trained full time at The National Ballet School. After completing his time with the dance school, he was accepted into The London School of Musical Theatre (LSMT).
Watton’s early stage work involved a variety of regional theatre productions, which mainly consisted of musical theatre. He has appeared in such productions as Twin in Peter Pan The Musical at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre, The Prince in The Little Mermaid at the Adam Smith Theatre, Roy in Fabula at the Cochrane Theatre and was a featured ensemble member in 42nd Street at the Octagon Theatre. He was also part of the touring company on two major UK musical tours, playing a soldier as part of his ensemble role in the UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, directed by Adrian Noble and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, and performing as a vocalist in Hollywood & Broadway.
Following his graduation from LSMT, he has accrued a further selection of theatre credits to add to the collection. He has continued to travel the road, appearing as Toby Bergman in the UK tour of The Witches of Eastwick. He was also 1st cover for the role of Michael Spoffard in the Nikolai Foster-directed production, which starred Marti Pellow. He has also been involved in a number of other notable shows, performing under the direction of Nikolai Foster again in the recent production of KES at the Liverpool Playhouse and on the UK tour in the role of MacDowall. Another recent role saw him perform as Rolf Gruber in The Sound of Music at the 3000-seat venue of Plenary Hall in Kuala Lumpar and he was a featured soloist in the 40th anniversary concert of Godspell at the Palace Theatre Manchester. He has also played Tsar Turnitoff in Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds and The Prince in Sleeping Beauty at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
In addition to his stage work, Watton is also well-known for several television roles: He played Alex Macintosh in the popular BBC hospital-based soap Casualty and Olly Larkin in the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.
Watton is currently appearing at the Apollo Victoria in the musical Wicked; a show he described as, “exciting and moving and funny and all the things a musical should be” in an online interview with West End Frame last year. He performs in the ensemble and also covers the leading role of “dashing character” Fiyero.
He has already achieved much to be proud of in his acting career and is continuing to make a name for himself as a talented and capable performer. He has previously spoken of his love for both TV and theatre and hopes to do more of both in the future – I’m sure his fans will be more than happy to see more of him. Oliver Watton is certainly a name to put into the ‘one to watch’ list and I can see plenty of good things ahead for him.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
You can follow Oliver on twitter: (@oliverwatton).
Saturday 8th June 2013