Mack and Mabel is a classic, yet seldom-staged show which has been around since its Broadway debut back in 1974. Jerry Herman’s musical is currently travelling around the country on a UK tour though, following a successful run at the Chichester Festival Theatre earlier this year. The production has a top-of-the-line cast which is led by Michael Ball as Mack Sennett, but also includes the featured ensemble member for this edition of In Profile: Joseph Prouse.
Joseph Prouse is a graduate of the Performers College, an independent performing arts institution based in Essex. It has produced many talented musical theatre performers who have graced the stages of the West End, and the training he received there has also served him well as Prouse has built up an impressive, and extensive, list of theatre credits in his career to date.
One of his earliest achievements was the role of Tom Gregory in the musical, The Biz, at Thameside Theatre, which he followed with his first touring production in the UK tour of Footloose, This in turn was followed by his second touring production – a UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie – in which he performed in the ensemble and also covered the role of Jimmy Smith.
He made his West End debut in the smash hit ABBA musical Mamma Mia! in March 2006. The award-winning musical was playing at the Prince of Wales Theatre then, and he appeared on its stage in multiple roles as a swing in the show.
He spent a year in Mamma Mia! before moving on to his next West End role, this time in the ensemble of Evita at the Adelphi Theatre. He was there for just over a year, and as 2nd Cover Magaldi, was also given the opportunity to perform in the principal line-up on occasion.
He left London for a time after that and headed up to Sussex for the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Babes in Arms there. He played the role of Nat McCabe and also covered the role of Gus Fielding.
Then it was back to familiar ground for Prouse, on two fronts as he returned to the West End in a show he’d previously performed in: Footloose. The musical came back to London at the close of its third UK tour for a run at the Playhouse Theatre from 17th August to 1st December 2007. He was playing Travis/Cowboy Bob this time around however, in addition to covering the roles of Willard and Ren McCormack.
He was back in the West End at the start of 2008, achieving yet another first as a member of an original London cast. He originated the role of Norm Waxman when Broadway musical Jersey Boys premiered at the Prince Edward Theatre on 28th February 2008, as well as covering the principal roles of Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. His final performance in Jersey Boys was on 13th March 2011.
He then returned to Chichester for the CFT production of She Loves Me, playing Keller and covering the roles of Georg Nowack/Stephen Kodaly, before heading back into London’s West End for Shrek The Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. He was part of the show’s ensemble team, appearing as King Harold/Guard/Pied Piper/Knight, and also 1st Cover for the role of Pinocchio.
His time in Shrek came to an end on 24th February 2013, which is when the West End production played its final performance ahead of a UK tour. He next appeared in Singin’ in the Rain at the Palace Theatre, playing the ensemble role of Sid Phillips from February to June that same year. Then, it was onto popular musical Dirty Dancing when it made its return to London at the Piccadilly Theatre on 13th July 2013. He played Moe Pressman and understudied the role of Billy, remaining in the company for the duration of the run which ended on 22nd February 2014.
He added the world premiere of a new West End musical to his list of theatre credits after that, joining the original London company of I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical as a member of the ensemble. He also covered the roles of Barlow and Gerrard Smalls.
He next appeared at the Menier Chocolate Factory for the productions Forbidden Broadway and Forbidden Broadway in the West End. Most recently, he was seen at the English National Opera (ENO) as part of the ensemble team for Sweeney Todd. The production starred Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson in the lead roles of Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett and ran there from 30th March to 12th April 2015.
His other theatre credits include originating the role of Sammy in the world premiere of Jolson (Theatre Royal, Plymouth), playing the Artful Dodger in Oliver! (London Palladium), and ensemble roles in Beauty and the Beast (Woodville Halls), Aladdin (Hackney Empire) and Jack and the Beanstalk. He has also gotten involved in workshops of such new shows as The Monster Bride, Angus, Thongs and Even More Snogging, and Kelly in Admirable Crichton. He also played Tony in Supernova and features in this latter role on the show’s cast recording.
He is also the drummer for Bloomfield Avenue, the band he formed with Ben Wheeler in 2009 which only features members from West End performance backgrounds.
He is currently on his travels with the touring production of Mack and Mabel, which embarked on a UK tour at the start of October 2015 following a summer season at the Chichester Festival Theatre. He plays Eddie in the cast led by Michael Ball, and the show is currently entertaining audiences at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin before it moves on to the Edinburgh Playhouse, then Nottingham Theatre Royal, and then the Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre where the tour comes to a close.
Joseph Prouse has wanted to perform on the stage from a very young age. He has followed that dream all the way to the West End, but every role he has played has made him the accomplished stage performer that he is today. He has kept busy in the years since graduating from the Performer’s College and accrued a varied list of theatre credits, with many more surely still to come.
You can follow Joseph on twitter: @josephprouse
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 31st October 2015