I went to see the new cast of The Phantom of the Opera Wednesday night and gave a glowing review. The new principal members of the cast brought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s renowned musical to life in a magnificent way and made me fall in love with Phantom all over again but, as outstanding as they are, praise must go, not only to them, but to the show’s ensemble too. There is talent galore in the Phantom company, which is why it seemed only right to acknowledge one of its ensemble members in this week’s In Profile: this week, Antony Hansen is our featured performer.
Previously a college student studying A-Level Drama, Hansen first shot to fame in 2007 on the BBC show Any Dream Will Do, where he vied against 11 other contestants to secure the lead role in Lloyd Webber’s new West end production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. At just 17, he was the youngest finalist in the competition, which was of course won by Lee Mead. Following that, he and three of his fellow Joseph contestants came together in the boy band Dream On, put together by Bill Kenwright. The group released an album and staged the concert Dream On LIVE at the London Palladium that same year. His musical theatre journey was only just beginning however.
Hansen went on to hone his craft at the Mountview Theatre School and was then selected to be a part of Kenwright’s UK touring production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat where he played one of the brothers. From there, he moved onto the role of ‘Pharaoh’ before finally donning that coat of many colours to play the leading role of ‘Joseph’. The show is only one chapter in his career though as, in 2009, he joined the West End company of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre as understudy to the role of ‘Marius’. He was also involved in the 25th anniversary Les Mis concert at the O2 Arena in 2010. Then it was from 17th Century France to the ‘merry old land of Oz’ to appear in Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre where he covered the role of ‘Fiyero’. Early this year, he was the alternate ‘Charles Darnay’ in the brand new musical adaption of A Tale of Two Cities.
Hansen can be found onstage in all manner of theatre-related events. The man who created the role of ‘Fred’ in new musical Gutter Press (Riverside Studios, Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival) has also performed the title role of pantomime Aladdin (Ashcroft, Croydon), and been a special guest performer in the mini-tour of Direct From the West End alongside other West End names, including the event’s creators Scott Garnham and Martin Neely. He has also hosted his own concert An Evening with Antony Hansen at the Oxford New Theatre, with guest vocalists Zoe Tyler, Chris Crosby and Johndeep Moore. Even before his time on Any Dream Will Do, Hansen had had his taste of performing onstage – he was a soloist in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall when he was only fifteen, accompanied by a full choir to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and, ironically, ‘Any Dream Will Do’.
As far as Hansen has already come, there is much more on the road ahead for this remarkable young man. He is working on the release of a solo album named Saturday Night at the Movies at this moment and as for the future – who knows? He has previously spoken of his goal to be the youngest actor to play the iconic role of ‘The Phantom’ and, as a fully-fledged cast member of the show, he already has that one foot in the door of that particular dream. He plays a ‘Soldier’ (Hannibal) as part of his ensemble duties, but is also the understudy to the principal role of ‘Raoul, Vicomte de Changny’.
Antony Hansen is a wonderful talent who offers a great contribution to musical theatre. Five years on from Any Dream Will Do and he is still flying high, having worked steadily in the industry since he was eliminated in the third week. He can go higher still though. He just needs to stretch those wings to be able to really soar – ‘up, up and away!’
You can follow Antony on twitter: (@antonyhansen)
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 29th September 2012