There has been a recent flurry of West End stars heading to the US to tread the boards of Broadway, including Cynthia Erivo, Rachel Tucker and Alfie Boe, to name just a few. The latest of our UK talents following in their footsteps to make their Broadway debut is the incredibly talented Olivia Phillip, who is the featured performer in this edition of In Profile.
Growing up in northern England, Olivia Phillip realised her love of performing from a young age. She took dance lessons at the Victoria Stansfields School of Dance from the age of four and could often be found singing along to Disney’s The Little Mermaid in her bedroom. She went on to attend Phil Winston’s Theatreworks College in Blackpool, graduating from the performing arts school in 2009.
Since then, she has added a slew of professional stage credits to her name, including numerous musicals in London’s West End. She made her West End debut in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert at the Palace Theatre, joining the production on 7th March 2011 as a Diva Swing in the hit musical’s final London cast. She remained with the show until its closing performance on 31st December 2011.
Following her time in Priscilla, she became involved in what was to be her second West End musical: the stage adaption of the Academy Award-winning 1990 film, Ghost. She had previously been part of the musical’s launch Abbey Road Studios and the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester with the release of four original songs. Ghost The Musical went on to make its world premiere at the Manchester Opera House in March 2011 (the same time Phillip was making her West End debut in Priscilla) and subsequently transferred to London’s Piccadilly Theatre later that summer. She joined the West End production of Ghost The Musical in the January 2012 cast change as a member of the ensemble, and also as 1st Cover Clara and 2nd Cover Louise. Her last performance in the show was the last performance of the show, as Ghost The Musical closed at the Piccadilly Theatre on 6th October 2012.
The West End wasn’t quite so ready to say goodbye to her however, and she was soon back with the original London company of The Book of Mormon, which made its West End premiere at the Prince of Wales Theatre on 21st March 2013 (previews from 25th Feb). She once again had an ensemble role within the show, and spent a year there before leaving in February 2014.
Her other UK stage credits include playing Diana in A Chorus Line (Lowry, Pele Productions), Tiger Lily in Peter Pan (Theatre Royal, Brighton) and Jenna in The Shade Ain’t Right (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), as well as being a regular performer at Kinky Kabaret (Freedom Bar, Soho) and taking part in West End Bares for The Make A Difference Trust. She also appeared on the Channel 5 television programme Don’t Stop Believing as part of the supergroup.
In 2014, she also starred as Velma Kelly in Chicago for Royal Caribbean Cruises.
She travelled to the US in 2015 and has been furthering her career there. Her US credits include singing at Industry Bar, NY in Marty Thomas Presents DIVA!, and most recently, appearing in the Tony Award-winning musical revue Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Portland Center Stage from 24th October – 29th November 2015.
She is soon to make her Broadway debut in new musical comedy Disaster!, which is set to open at the Nederlander Theatre on 8th March 2016 (previews from 9th Feb) where it will run until 3rd July 2016.
Olivia Phillip is certainly a star on the rise. Growing up, she always had a supportive family behind her and drew inspiration from the performers she saw onstage, once saying in an interview that, “nothing compares to seeing a live show and just knowing that you have to up your game to get to where you want.” Now a successful stage performer herself, perhaps she will stand as an inspiration to other young hopefuls dreaming of being up on that stage themselves one day, just as she once did.
You can follow Olivia on Twitter: @OliviaPhillip
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 9th January 2016