Beautiful – The Carole King Musical was one of the best new shows to enter the West End last year and it has a cast that more than matches that status. There’s been a few changes to the London company since the musical opened at the Aldwych Theatre in February 2015, most notably with Cassidy Janson taking over the title role from the Olivier Award-winning Katie Brayben. Gavin Alex is another cast member who has proven himself a great addition to the company, and he is also the featured ensemble member for this edition of In Profile.
Gavin Alex (full name: Gavin Alexander Wood) is a highly talented performer whose impressive list of theatre credits includes not only an involvement in many West End productions, but several original London casts too.
Originally hailing from Colchester, he began dreaming of life on the stage as a child and had some early success with such roles as playing Mini Jason Orange in the Take That UK & European Concert Tour at just 12 years of age. He went on to attend the Essex-based Tiffany Stage Academy and Performers College, where he emerged fully prepared to take on the professional world of theatre. The training he received there set him in good stead for a career on the stage as he has since appeared in some of the biggest and best musicals in the West End.
His official West End debut was playing Dipper in Sam Mendes’ production of Oliver! at the London Palladium, but his first professional role post-graduation saw him enter the West End as a Swing in the highly successful ABBA jukebox musical Mamma Mia! (then at the Prince Edward Theatre), covering such roles as Pepper. He remained with the show for nearly three years, and from there, he embarked on a UK Tour of Saturday Night Fever playing the role of Joey. He returned to the West End following his time on the tour, and this time appeared on the stage of the Aldwych Theatre in a production of the classic musical Fame. He played Goody in the show alongside the likes of Victoria Hamilton-Barritt (Carmen) and Hugh Harold Harrison (Nick).
His next challenge was to be part of a brand new musical production. He joined his first original London cast when the West End production of Footloose premiered at the Novello Theatre in April 2006, originating the roles of Travis/Cowboy Bob. He was also alternate to the principal role of city teenage Ren McCormack. He was cast in another original London company following the musical’s closure, this time appearing in the West End production of Hairspray. He originally played the role of Sketch when the musical opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in October 2007, starring Michael Ball (Edna) Mel Smith (Wilbur), Leanne Jones (Tracy Turnblad) and Ben James-Ellis (Link), but later went on to play the principal role of TV show host Corny Collins.
His final performance in Hairspray was on 28th March 2010, after which he then took to the road again to travel around the UK with the touring production of Sister Act. The musical embarked on a UK Tour in 2011 following its closure in the West End, starring Cynthia Erivo as Delores Van Cartier. He played the role of bodyguard Pablo in the touring company, which also featured the likes of Laurie Scarth, Hannah Levane and Julie Atherton.
He was next seen in London in Wag! The Musical, playing the role of Charlie Chillcott in the new musical which premiered at the Charing Cross Theatre in July 2013.
He headed to Manchester in 2014 for the UK premiere of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which had a pre-West End run at the Manchester Opera House (12th – 22nd Feb) and then the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre (26th Feb – 1st March) before transferring to the Savoy Theatre in March (opening officially on 1st April). He had an ensemble role in what was his third original London cast, and was also 2nd Cover Freddy Benson.
His other theatre credits include two 12 Tenors tours of China and Germany, Painted Lady: The Scandal of Princess Caraboo (produced by Bristol Old Vic Trust) and Of Thee I Sing (Royal Festival Hall). He also featured in the Blue Peter Pantomime for the BBC and backed Elton John at the Stonewall Equality show at the Royal Albert Hall.
He remained with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels until 7th March 2015. He can now currently be found at the Aldwych Theatre where he performs the ensemble role of Lou Adler in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.
Gavin Alex has proven himself a great asset through his contributions to the industry, and London audiences can be thankful that this talented performer is back on the West End stage where he undoubtedly belongs.
You can follow Gavin on Twitter: gavinalex_
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 2nd January 2016