Beautiful: The Carole King Musical has proven itself a welcome presence in the West End since it opened at the Aldwych Theatre earlier this year. The original Broadway production won multiple theatre awards, including two Tony Awards, and the West End production has followed suit with eight nominations in the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards and two wins for Best Actress in a Musical and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Every show’s success is a joint effort from both cast and creative though. The entire London company are stars, and that includes cast member Jason Denton who features in this edition of In Profile.
Jason Denton is a talented performer who has worked hard to get to where he is today, which is under the spotlight of the West End. His training at Italia Conti Academy clearly prepared him well for a career on the stage. One of the oldest and most prestigious theatre arts training schools in the country, Italia Conti has given the industry such stage stars as Bonnie Langford, Tracie Bennett and Peter Duncan, as well as renowned playwright and actor Noel Coward. He performed in several productions during his time there, including an ensemble role in Heroes and Villains and playing Bert Barry in 42nd Street. He also appeared as a choral singer in The Royal Masonic Variety Show.
He graduated from Italia Conti Academy’s 3-year Musical Theatre course in 2008. He was involved in a variety of projects in that same year, playing the role of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing for The Complete Works Theatre and also travelling abroad to perform with The Showteam in Majorca, where he was a vocalist in the shows The Legends of Las Vegas, Fiesta Fiesta and Pure Classics.
He built on that touring experience the following year when he was cast in Bill Kenwright’s UK Tour of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, playing Isaccher/Calypso Singer. He then joined the company of the new Barbican/TRSE production of John Adams’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. In a cast of ‘rising stars’ which additionally featured Natasha Barnes and Cynthia Erivo, he played the role of David.
Later that year, he landed one of his most notable roles when he joined the new and redesigned production of Hot Stuff at the Leicester Curve. Just 24 years old at the time, he played Joe Soap in the acclaimed musical, the anti-hero who sells his soul to the devil to make his wildest dreams come true. The leading role came with a number of challenges, such as learning to perform in high heels and appearing on stage in just his underwear.
He was back on the road in the New Year as he joined the 2011 UK Tour of Britain’s Got Bhangra in the supporting lead role of Jason. Another Bill Kenwright tour followed straight after when he was cast in the lead role of Curtis in Save The Last Dance For Me.
He returned to the Leicester Curve between 2012 and 2013 for roles in two further productions which rank high on his list of theatre credits, starting with the musical Hello Dolly! in which he played Barnaby Tucker. He then appeared in Pan Gem’s Piaf, a musical scrapbook of moments from the life of iconic French singer Edith Piaf. Led by Frances Ruffelle in the title role, the production was well-received and further dates were added due to demand. He played the role of Yves Montand, the 18-year old who was discovered by Piaf and incorporated into her act.
He received an early Christmas present in December 2013 when he made his West End debut in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Stephen Ward, at the Aldwych Theatre. His role in the original London cast was an ensemble one, which included on-stage appearances as President Ayub Khan. He starred alongside Alexander Hanson in the title role, and such other principal performers as Charlotte Spencer, Charlotte Blackledge, Anthony Calf, Joanna Riding, Daniel Flynn and Wayne Robinson, during the show’s run, which ended on 29th March 2014.
Denton’s other theatre credits include Backing Singer in De La Divas (Tivoli Theatre), Guest Vocalist in Seasons and Cycles (Battersea Barge) and West End Voices at Christmas (The Actor’s Church), Pedro in the Free World workshop (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and Prince Michael in Sleeping Beauty (Keneth More Theatre, Ilford).
Jason Denton is currently appearing in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre. He joined the original London cast as a Swing in the show, which premiered in the West End in February 2015 and stars Katie Brayben as Carole King (Cassidy Janson takes over in the role from 30th November 2015).
Beautiful marks the second West End show for this talented young actor, and now that he has arrived, the West End would be foolish to let him go again.
You can follow Jason on twitter: @JasonDentonact
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 28th November 2015