Most musical theatre performers spend years training at drama schools, but they can only learn so much there; the real education is the on-the-job training they get when they enter the industry. The majority of performers will hone their craft in fringe/regional theatre and touring productions before stepping onto a West End stage, but each role makes the performer just that little bit better at what they do. Jay Webb has a varied list of theatre credits that have all served to make him a fantastic performer, and helped earn him a place in the ranks of In Profile.
Jay Webb trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and National Youth Ballet before attending The Arts Educational Schools, London, joining a list of notable alumni that includes Samantha Barks, Oliver Tompsett and the Strallen sisters upon graduation. He has added plenty of notches to his belt of theatre credits since then, having been involved in a variety of theatre-based projects both in and out of the West End.
One of his earliest roles was playing Bill Bailey in the UK Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. It was the first in a succession of touring productions for him, with his next two shows taking him outside of the UK: he played Phil Stollens III in a Japan Tour of On Your Toes, then performed with the ensemble team in an international production of Grease which toured Helsinki and Oslo. After a brief stop-off back in the UK for a panto turn as Tommy the Cat in Dick Whittington (Richmond Theatre), he hit the road again with a show that became one of his most notable stage credits. He joined the company of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers for both its UK Tour and West End run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, playing the role of youngest brother Gideon. It was a performance that earned him a Best Supporting Actor in the 2006 WhatsOnStage Awards.
He went on to play Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island at the Theatre Royal before being cast in the 2007 revised London production of Rent at the Duke of York’s Theatre, playing principal character Angel. He then went back out on tour with the UK tours of West Side Story and Cabaret, in the respective roles of Jets gang member A-Rab, and Kit Kat Klub cabaret boy Victor.
He returned to the West End as part of the original London company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz revival, which opened at the London Palladium on 1st March 2011 (following previews from 7th February). He had an ensemble role in the brand new production, which was led by Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Dorothy and also starred Michael Crawford as The Wizard/Professor Marvel, Emily Tierney as Glinda and Hannah Waddingham as The Wicked Witch of the West. There were a number of cast changes during the course of the run, but Webb remained with the show from start to finish and was there for the final performance on 2nd September 2012.
His next appearance was as an ensemble member in Boy Meets Boy at the Jermyn Theatre. The West End soon came a-calling for him again however, and he made his return there as part of yet another show’s original London company: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. The musical adaption of Roald Dahl’s beloved story opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 25th June 2013 (following previews from 22nd May), with Douglas Hodge originating the iconic role of Willy Wonka on stage. Webb was a Swing in the show.
He left as part of the May 2014 cast change after a year in the show and was next seen in Wind In The Willows at the Vaudeville Theatre, where he played Rabbit/Weasel and was understudy to the main role of Toad.
His other theatre credits include Dancer in Jack and the Beanstalk and Michael in Peter Pan (Orchard Theatre), Nipper and Spider in Oliver! (London Palladium), Firecracker in Cinderella (Her Majesty’s Theatre, The Cat in Dick Whittington (North Wales Theatre), the title role in Toad (Sadler’s Wells & Guild Hall), Baby John in West Side Story Concerts (Cyprus) and Silly Billy in Dick Whittington (Theatre Royal Wakefield). He has also appeared as a dancer in the Princess Diana Memorial at Her Majesty’s Theatre and Wayne Sleep Dance Power at the London Palladium
Most recently, he was travelling around the UK with the touring production of Mel Brook’s The Producers as a member of the ensemble. It was a major UK tour that opened at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley on 7th March 2015 and had a multitude of celebrity names performing throughout the run, including Phil Jupitus, Jason Manford, Ross Noble and Louie Spence. The tour came to a close in Dublin, Ireland on 11th July 2015.
A highly talented and versatile performer, Jay Webb is a wonderful addition to any show and the audience that gets to see him on-stage is a lucky one indeed.
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Last Updated: Saturday 12th September 2015