There are many, many highly talented musical theatre performers working in the West End, shining stars lighting up the stage . When the audience are gazing at the brightness of the principal cast however, those who are singing and dancing their way through the show in the ensemble can be harder to spot. That’s what In Profile is for: highlighting the talent of those rising stars who sometimes go unnoticed. One who is certainly on the rise is Sophie Carmen-Jones, brought into the spotlight of In Profile as the featured performer for this week’s edition of the running series.
Sophie Carmen-Jones is a notable talent who is well on her way to making quite the name for herself on the West End stage. Originating from Swansea, Wales, she came to London at the tender age of 14 to pursue her dream and began training for a career on the stage at the well-known performing arts institution, Arts Educational School, London. She was subsequently accepted into Laine Theatre Arts, the renowned training ground of such high-quality West End performers as Ruthie Henshall, Mark Evans, Summer Strallen, Charlotte Riby, Liam Tamne, Louise Dearman and Kerry Ellis, among many more. After 3 years there, she graduated from the school’s Musical Theatre course in 2010 and entered the theatre industry, ready to make her dream a reality.
One of her earliest professional roles was playing Gretel in Humpty Dumpty at the Theatre Royal, York, which was followed by a trip to Dubai for her first international performance in High School Musical – West End and Beyond as female lead Gabriella. Her career path continued to climb as London beckoned her home to make her West End début. She headed to the Dominion Theatre to join the West End company of the smash-hit Queen musical, We Will Rock You, shining in the ranks of the ensemble and standing front and centre under the spotlight when opportunity afforded it as understudy Meat.
Jones’ next role led her to the land of Oz, where she became a part of the award-winning musical Wicked at the Apollo Victoria as a member of the ensemble. She spent a year in the show before moving across town to the Piccadilly Theatre for another first: being part of an original London company. She was cast in the original British musical Viva Forever!, written by Jennifer Saunders and based on the music of The Spice Girls. In addition to her ensemble duties, she was awarded the position of being 1st Cover Viva, the lead female role in the production.
The jukebox musical failed to win over audiences however and closed after only 6 months in the West End. It may have been the end of the road for Viva Forever!, but for Jones, the next leg of her journey was just around the corner. Soon after, she appeared on the stage of St James Theatre in a production of Maxim Gorky’s play, Children of the Sun, starring in the lead role of Paloma.
Her path took her for somewhat of a trip down memory lane after that, as in 2014, she not only returned to performing in a jukebox musical, but also the former home of Viva Forever!: the Piccadilly Theatre. She joined the West End company of Jersey Boys, but the difference this time was that she joined as a full-time member of the principal cast, playing the leading role of Frankie Valli’s daughter, Francine. She was forced to take time off from the show later that year after suffering a knee injury, but following her surgery in September 2014 and subsequent recovery, she made her triumphant return on 10th January 2015.
Jones’ final performance in Jersey Boys was on 8th March 2015. Since then, she has become involved in the developmental new musical, Guy Fawkes, which not only follows the events of the Gunpowder Plot, but a love triangle between the title character, Robin Catesby and Anne Vaux. Created by Michael Taylor Matus (Lyrics & Book) and Nick Butcher (Music), the show has had a full read-through and a cast demo recording was recently completed, ahead of a planned production at the St James Theatre in August 2015.
She was also part of the workshop of The Last Horseman and Children of the Sun, and has been a guest vocalist at a number of cabaret/concert events, such as Jest End. A well-rounded talent, she’s also performed at the Variety Club Ball (Dorchester Hotel), modelled for London Fashion Week, danced on The X Factor and acted on screen in several short films, including playing Wife in Pirouette and Holly in Suited. Additionally, she has worked as a Musical Theatre tutor, teaching workshops/classes for West End in Plymouth and the West End Academy, among others.
Sophie Carmen Jones is a name well worth paying attention to in the future. She has a voice and a look that is appealingly engaging, and as far as she’s come already, the road that still lies ahead surely promises many more adventures.
You can follow Sophie on Twitter: @SophCarmenJones
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 16th May 2015