Lyricist Tim Rice is one of the most well-known names in musical theatre, especially in association with his former writing partner, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. He has been noticeably absent from the West End for the last decade though, but has now returned with brand new musical From Here To Eternity. The musical, based on James Jones’ original 1951 novel of the same name, began previews at the Shaftesbury Theatre just last week (30th September 2013) and stars Darius Campbell (Warden), Robert Lonsdale (Private Prewitt), Ryan Sampson (Maggio), Siubhan Harrison (Lorene) and Rebecca Thornhill (Karen). It’s not only the principal cast which warrant mention here though. The entire company, through to the hard-working ensemble, deserve to be praised for their efforts in the world premiere of this production, but In Profile was created to shine the spotlight on just one individual each week. In welcoming Rice’s new show to the West End, this week’s In Profile features From Here To Eternity ensemble member, Shimi Goodman.
Shimi Goodman has been part of the UK theatre scene for over ten years now, but originally started his stage career in his homeland of Tel Aviv, Israel, where he was born and raised. It was at the young age of 15 that he began working with Israel’s popular theatre company Chich’s Neighbours, during which time he played his first lead role as Don Jose in the musical Carmen – a Rock Opera, which was subsequently televised also. He also attended the University of Tel Aviv where he trained as a classical singer.
‘What if?’ peppers nearly every moment of our lives and the choices we make, and no-one ever knows what direction their life would have taken if they’d trodden a different path. If Goodman had remained in Israel, who knows where he would be now, both personally and professionally. He didn’t though. He created one of those ‘What if?’ moments when he made the decision to leave Israel and move to the UK. He was accepted at the Guildhall School of Acting and spent 3 years there, graduating with distinction and a BA in Musical Theatre Studies in 2002. He earned further accolades during the course of those 3 years, winning the school’s Musical Theatre Award in 2001 and emerging as a prize winner at the Surrey Male Singer Competition. He also appeared on stage in several productions whilst training, including playing Giuseppe in The Most Happy Fella, Preacher/Carl in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Arthur/Lancelot in Camelot and as Man 1 in Songs For A New World.
Following his graduation from the GSA, Goodman soon started work on his theatre CV. Some of his earliest jobs saw him perform in the ensemble of a pantomime production of Snow White, a soloist singer in 16 Gobs at the King’s Head and play the Emcee in a regional production of the musical Cabaret at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Surrey. He also appeared at London’s Bridewell Theatre in their production of Anyone Can Whistle, playing the role of Rodney Chaplin.
It was in 2003 that he made his first real notable appearance in what was to mark his West End debut. He joined the company of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Bombay Dreams, performing at the Apollo Victoria as part of the ensemble and also covering/playing the leading roles of Akaash and Anupam. More West End roles soon followed from there. After Bombay Dreams, he moved on to the Adelphi Theatre as a swing in the musical Chicago, which afforded him the opportunity to perform opposite Brooke Shields in all the male ensemble roles as well as the more prominent role of Mary Sunshine, for which he was the understudy. He also added further ensemble credits to his CV by joining the cast of Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre, covering/playing Robbie Gould in addition to his ensemble role as Spanish Singer.
Following his time with the show, he joined the Impulse Theatre Company and trained in the Meisner acting technique, titled after its namesake Sanford Meisner. In 2008, Goodman left the UK and travelled to Jerusalem to perform in the world premiere of Salt & Honey at the Mount Scopus Amphitheatre, in which he originated the role of Samuel. He then came back to take on the respective roles of Douglas and Hooded Man in Party Time and Mountain Language at the Harold Pinter Theatre as part of Scott Williams’ Impulse Theatre Company, as well as Rapunzel’s Prince, Wolf and Florinda in the musical production of Into The Woods, staged Upstairs at The Gatehouse. The following year, he embarked on his first National Tour as the Alternate Che in Bill Kenwright’s acclaimed production of Evita.
Upon his return, he re-entered the London theatre scene with a leading role in Singin’ in the Rain at the Broadway Theatre, starring as beloved silent film actor Don Lockwood (the role made famous by Gene Kelly in the 1952 film) and receiving rave reviews for his on stage performance. He then re-joined the West End production of Chicago – this time playing at the Cambridge Theatre – to see in its final months in the West End, this time playing the role of Mary Sunshine full-time in place of his former understudy stint with the show. A trip to Germany followed, with Goodman playing the Minister/Specialist in The Who’s Tommy at the English Theatre in Frankfurt.
In 2012, Goodman tried his hand at a selection of non-musical projects, including two productions at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – he played Cobweb and covered the roles of Oberon and Princess Flute in Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as understudying Tateh and Harry Houdini in Ragtime. He also appeared as a featured ensemble member in the world premiere of Paper Dolls at The Tricycle, playing Orthodox Man/ Soldier.
In addition to these theatre credits, he has played the leading role of Dean in The Young Ones Go On Summer Holiday and was a soloist/dancer for the Rock & Roll Ball. Beyond the stage though, he has made a number of television appearances and is perhaps most recognisable for his role as Roi in the popular E4 series Skins. He has featured on the music recordings of Standing Ovation, Hey Producer!, Dirty Dancing (OLC) and Attic, and has even released his own recording. Goodman’s debut album, titled When You Hear My Voice, features 13 tracks which include several songs by the award-winning writer Christopher Hamilton and a rather lovely duet with West End star Dianne Pilkington (‘Trusting You).
He is currently appearing in the ensemble of the brand new musical, From Here To Eternity, which is currently in previews at the Shaftesbury Theatre. In the show, he plays the ensemble roles of Drag Queen/Private.
Shimi Goodman is an actor who has performed a wide variety of roles in a wide variety of shows and only seems to get better with each and every one. For those who have or soon will find themselves in the audience for From Here To Eternity, keep those eyes peeled for this talented stage performer.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
You can follow Shimi on twitter: (@Shimi_Goodman).
Saturday 5th October 2013