The UK theatre industry is filled with talented stage performers, both in and out of London. The industry is about more than West End roles, and those who work around the country and/or internationally display not only their versatility, but their love for the business. Many musical theatre actors/actresses have showcased their talents all over the UK, impressing West End and regional audiences alike. One such star is Chloe Hart, who has an assortment of theatre credits to her name, which is a name to remember as she is a major talent. As such, she has fallen under the spotlight of In Profile and is the featured performer for this edition of the running series.
A graduate of The Guildford School of Acting (GSA), Hart has been singing since the age of six when she would take over the karaoke mike at her parent’s Cornwall pub to belt out Celine Dion tracks. Her love of performing was given direction after watching Elaine Paige in the DVD of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats and realising that was what she wanted to do. She developed her natural talent at the Playrite Theatre School, performing in productions of Les Miserables, Summer Holiday and West Side Story, and at the age of 15, she worked with Sir Alan Ayckbourn on Orvin – Champion of Champions, an original musical he co-created with Denis King, during her time with the National Youth Music Theatre. She was later accepted into Guildford School of Acting (GSA), the Surrey-based drama school which has produced such stage stars as Michael Ball, Willemijn Verkaik and Daniel Boys. She spent 3 years training at GSA, and it was during her time there that she was invited to be part of the West End Chorus for Chess In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, performing onstage with her self-confessed idol, Idina Menzel. Speaking of that night in her 2011 interview with lastminutetheatretickets.com, Hart said “I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with Idina Menzel so I couldn’t believe my luck. I think I actually cried a bit! Everything about the experience was incredible.”
For a musical theatre student to perform with one of Broadway’s biggest stars is a great bragging moment, but landing a leading West End role as your first job out of school is an even-more impressive feat of accomplishment. Hart graduated from GSA with a BA Hons in Musical Theatre in 2009, having already won the principal role of Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre where she starred opposite Brian Conley (Edna Turnblad), Liam Tamne (Link Larkin), Sharon D. Clarke (Motormouth Maybelle), Verity Rushworth (Penny Pingleton), Rachel Wooding (Amber Von Tussle), and more. She joined the West End production of the Shaiman and Wittman musical in July 2009 and remained in the show until its closure on 28th March 2010, at which point, she moved down Shaftesbury Avenue to the Queen’s Theatre after being cast in her second West End musical: Les Miserables. She appeared in the show’s ensemble as Factory Girl, and was also 2nd Cover Madame Thenardier. It was during her stint there that I first came across Hart. She was performing with fellow cast members at the Les Mis Gives…Again cabaret at the Delfont Room in May 2011, where she sang ‘Somebody To Love’ and immediately impressed.
She spent a year in Les Miserables, also taking part in the show’s 25th anniversary concert at the 02 Arena while part of the West End company. She left the long-running classic in June 2011, but wasn’t gone from the West End for long however. In December 2011, she returned to join the company of the smash hit musical Wicked, which was a dream job for her. A proud Wicked ‘geek’, she has seen the musical over 12 times, and even had an Emerald City-themed party for her 21st birthday while training at GSA. Speaking to lastminutetheatretickets.com just before she made her Wicked début at the Apollo Victoria, she said, “Anyone who knows me, knows that it is my favourite show of all time. The music and the orchestrations are just phenomenal. It never fails to move me.” I saw Wicked for the first time while she was appearing in the show as a member of the ensemble, with Gina Beck (Glinda), Rachel Tucker (Elphaba) and Matt Willis (Fiyero) also part of the cast at that time.
She was with the show from 12th December 2011 to 16th November 2013, with her follow-up job being a panto stint at King Lynn’s Corn Exchange for the 2013/14 Christmas season, playing Fairy Formidable in their production of Beauty and The Beast alongside Darren Day.
Her talents have been sought after by a number of big names in the theatre world during her career, including SimG Productions and American composer Scott Alan who brought her in as a guest vocalist for Alan’s Divas Sing Scott Alan London concert in 2011, where she blew the roof off the Arts Theatre with her rendition of ‘Easy’. That same year, she also sang on one of the tracks for songwriter Chris Passey’s début album, Self Taught; Still Learning (The Music of Chris Passey), and was involved in the A Night For Jennifer gala concert on 31st October 2011, performing alongside a stellar line-up of West End stars, such as Ross Hunter, Steven Oliver-Webb and Gina Beck. She also hosted her début solo cabaret, Chloe Hart and Co in Cabaret, in 2012 at Freedom Bar Soho, with performances from herself and special guest stars Michelle Pentecost, Thomas Sutcliffe, Lauren Samuels, Charlotte Scott and Jacqueline Hughes, as well as the première of the Chris and Amy Passey song ‘Stagey and Proud’, which was written especially for Hart and subsequently gained wider recognition after Sheridan Smith performed it at the 2013 WhatsOnStage Awards.
Other concert/cabaret credits include Anthems with Kerry Ellis and Brian May (RAH), Little Princess Trust Charity Concert (Café de Paris), A Spotlight On Being Tracy Turnblad (Landor Theatre), Colleen and Friends (Freedom Bar), A Night in Wonderland (Hotel Du Vin), Chloe Hart in Cabaret (Madame JoJo’s), Concrete Jungle Album Launch (St James’ Theatre), Night of 1000 Voices (RAH), Scott Alan Live at The O2 (O2 Indigo), Live, The Music of Kerrigan and Lowdermilk (St James’ Studio), West End Switched Off Album Launch (St James’ Studio) and The Songs of Daniel and Laura Curtis (RAH). She also performed in Out of Our Heads: The Music of Kooman and Dimond, and remains a big advocate of the American composing-duo. She also has international theatre credits to her name, having performed as a soloist in Broadway Sessions (Laurie Beecham Theatre) and at Birdland Jazz Club while in New York in 2013.
Further credits include playing Wendy Darling in the workshop of Lost Boys – Neverland Grows Up (Union Theatre), Guiseppina in the workshop of United We Stand, featuring on the studio recordings of West End Switched Off, West End Secret Project, The Inbetween and The West End Goes MAD For Christmas.
Health issues and subsequent surgeries/recovery time have kept her out of the big West End shows for now, but not out of the industry altogether. She co-produced the highly successful UK solo cabaret début of American stage actress, Natalie Weiss, at the St James’ Theatre on 2nd November 2014. She also co-owns and runs Voicebox Productions, providing singing lessons, and musical theatre masterclasses and workshops. The London-based company was founded by Hart and sound engineer/producer and touring musician Simon Small, who also have a studio in London where they run recording sessions for West End performers, bands and other artists. They have recently been working with the cast/creatives of Cool Rider on the show’s studio cast recording, featuring the vocal talents of Niall Sheehy, Ashleigh Gray, Aaron Sidwell, Reece Shearsmith and more. The pair also formed the popular acoustic duo and party band, Calling London, together.
She most recently appeared as part of the West End line-up for Playing Our Part, a charity concert benefiting Comic Relief which was held at Cadogan Hall on 1st March 2015. In addition to Hart, the event featured performances from such musical theatre stars as Simon Bailey, Gina Beck, Killian Donnelly, Louise Dearman, Adam Linstead, Wendy Ferguson, Nadim Naaman, Laura Pitt-Pulford and Jeremy Secomb.
She will next be seen on stage at Chichester Festival Theatre, having joined their new stage version of Damsel in Distress. Rehearsals have just started for the CFT production, which opens on 30th May 2015 and runs until 27th June 2015. The musical comedy is based on the P.G. Wodehouse novel and the 1937 film version, and features songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Hart will play the role of Dorcas alongside Richard Fleeshman, Summer Strallen, Nicholas Farrell, Isla Blair, Desmond Barrit and Sally Ann Triplett.
Chloe Hart has a lot of achievements to her name at such a young age and has already realised several dreams of hers in the course of her career to date. She will no doubt live out a few more dreams in the future as this powerhouse singer and talented actress is most definitely a star with a long, glittering career ahead of her.
Chloe Hart will be performing in Kinky Boots from August 2015, playing the role of Pat.
You can follow Chloe on Twitter: @ChloeSJHart
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 2nd May 2015