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In Profile with Joanna Goodwin

In October 2011, I paid a visit to the Novello Theatre to review Crazy For You. Harking back to a golden age, the Gershwin musical is a feel-good show of big dance routines, classic music numbers and tongue-in-cheek farcical humour, and proved that it’s just as popular as ever when it transferred to the West End after an acclaimed run at the Open Air Theatre. In the cast at the time was ‘triple threat’ performer Joanna Goodwin, who is now travelling around the country as part of the touring company of Barnum. Singer, dancer and actress, she has a wealth of experience on the stage and shown herself to be a valued member of any show, which is why she deserves a place among the ranks of In Profile.

Originating from the northern town of Clayton, Goodwin trained at the renowned performing arts school, Laine Theatre Arts in Epsom, Surrey, which can also claim credit for the likes of Kerry Ellis, Liam Tamne, Louise Dearman, Mark Evans and Summer Strallen. She was made Head Girl during her time there and also awarded the Eileen Rose Cup for Musical Theatre; early indications that she would go on to find success in the industry.

Her career as a professional performer got off to a good start, as not long after graduating from Laine, she found her way straight into the West End. She joined the final cast of The Producers at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, making her West End début as a Swing in the show. Following its closure there, The Producers embarked on a UK Tour and she continued her Swing duties on the road, achieving another first in her career with the touring production.

More stage roles quickly came her way after that. Her next appearance was at the Chichester Minerva Theatre in their production of Funny Girl, where she played Mrs O’Malley and also understudied Mrs Strakosh, before she headed off to France with the company of ENO’s On The Town. She played Flossie in the show, which ran at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris, and also covered the role of Lucy Schmeeler.

Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre then beckoned her for the first time when she was cast in the Olivier Award-winning Hello Dolly, performing as a member of the show’s ensemble team. Subsequent roles included playing Rhoda in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Theatre Royal Plymouth & The Lowry, Salford) and Lily in Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi (Union Theatre). She then joined the cast of Sweet Charity as understudy to Charity Hope Valentine and The Frug Girl, playing both roles on-stage during the show’s run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

She returned to the Open Air Theatre two years after her first appearance there for a follow-up performance, this time in their revival of the 1993 Broadway musical Crazy For You. Led by Sean Palmer and Clare Foster, the show also starred Kim Medcalf, Harriet Thorpe, Michael McKell and David Burt. The 28-strong cast boasted a wonderful set of ensemble members, from the dancing cowboys to Bela Zangler’s ‘Follies Girls’ – one of which was our very own Joanna Goodwin. She played the role of Margie and also understudied the more prominent role of Tess, staying with the Olivier Award-winning show when it transferred into the West End following its critically-acclaimed summer run at Regent’s Park.

Her other theatre credits include Snow White at the Milton Keynes Theatre, as Dance Captain and understudy to the Wicked Queen, and ensemble in Street of Dreams at the Manchester Arena, in which she was also understudy Rita Fairclough. She has also taken part in the workshop of Rehab – The Musical as Jane/Groupie (Arts Theatre) and was involved in pre-production for the Les Miserables film (Working Title).

Goodwin’s credits list her choreography work in addition to her on-stage roles. She choreographed the pantomime production of Jack & the Beanstalk at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, and was Assistant Choreographer to Andrew Wright on both By Jeeves (Landor Theatre) and Dick Whittington (Bristol Hippodrome). She has also worked as Assistant Choreographer for PORN – The Musical (Theatre 503), 42nd Street Gala (London Palladium), and most recently, for the UK Tour of the Happy Days musical. She is also choreographing the White Rock Theatre’s pantomime production, Aladdin, in Hastings for this coming Christmas season.

She can also add television to the CV, with several television appearances on the likes of:  The Al Murray Show; Another Audience with Al Murray; Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway; Got To Dance; the Olympic Torch Concert and the Laurence Olivier Awards.

Her other achievements include teaching dance workshops as part of the Tap Team, touring the country with fellow performers Paul Robinson, Dougie Mills and Jenny Thomas, and teaching Musical Technical Jazz at D&B School of Performing Arts School, based in Bromley, South East London.

She is currently on tour again with Chichester Festival Theatre’s Barnum, starring Brian Conley and Linzi Hately. She is Dance Captain on the touring production and also performs as a Swing, covering a variety of the show’s female roles. Joanna Goodwin is an impressive stage talent who has displayed her skills in a range of areas in the theatre industry to the highest standard. Whether as a choreographer, dancer or musical theatre actress/singer, her presence in a show is always beneficial to all involved and may audiences be fortunate enough to see her in many more yet.

You can follow Joanna on Twitter: @JoGoodwin87

By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25

Saturday 15th November 2014

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