The Book of Mormon was the biggest show to come to the West End in 2013, and for anyone who didn’t think so, its success at the Olivier Awards last Sunday proved them wrong. The smash hit Broadway musical opened to rave reviews, with Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s unique brand of satirical comedy winning over audiences and turning it the hottest ticket in town. The funny musical with a charming core was the big success story in the musical category at this year’s Olivier Awards, taking home four coveted statuettes in the most prestigious theatre awards ceremony in the UK. In nods to the show’s cast, Gavin Creel won the Best Actor in a Musical award for his performance as Elder Price while Stephen Ashfield chalked another one up for the team with Best Supporting Role in a Musical, demonstrating how vital a part the company have played in making The Book of Mormon the darling of the West End. UK musical theatre performers were queuing up for the chance to be involved in the West End production following the show’s acclaimed Broadway premiere, so it was a high-quality bunch who made it into the original London company: Tosh Wanogho-Maud was one of these. This talented performer has been there since the beginning and has helped to lead the show to the top of the theatrical food chain, which is why the spotlight has fallen on him as the featured ensemble member for this week’s edition of In Profile.
Tosh Wanogho-Maud is a true triple-threat performer who has made a valuable contribution to many shows both in and outside of the West End. Having worked professionally in the industry for five years now, he already has a rich variety of theatre credits already to his name with The Book of Mormon being the most recent addition.
He first trained at the Brit School of Performing Arts before being accepted into the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts, more commonly known as Bird College. He entered the London-based performing arts school already equipped with first-hand experience of performing on stage in the West End, having played Young Simba in The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre and Winston in Whistle Down The Wind at the Aldwych Theatre. He was involved in further productions while training there, including ensemble credits in Noitamina and Legends, Icons and Idols and playing the role of Tyrone in Fame.
He spent three years honing his craft at Bird College, which has produced such respected West End names as Gavin Lee, John Partridge, Lara Pulver, and even a Spice Girl, as Jesus Christ Superstar star Melanie Chisholm also trained there. Wanogho-Maud graduated in 2009 with a BA Honours in Dance and Theatre Performance.
Once out there in the world of professional theatre and equipped with all the skills needed to succeed, both those he was taught and those he was born with, it wasn’t long before he started adding to that list of theatre credits. One of the first shows to snap him up was the Olivier Award-winning musical Five Guys Named Moe. He appeared as Four Eyed Moe in a production of the ‘high energy, sexy, sassy, swinging jukebox musical’, themed on American songbook classics, which ran at the Theatre at the Mill in Newton Abbey in celebration of the show’s 20th anniversary.
Following that, he made his return to the West End as part of the company of Respect La Diva, the ‘uplifting’ musical revue which pays tribute to some of the most iconic female singers in the history of music. He had an ensemble role in the production, which ran at the Garrick Theatre in 2011, but also covered former X Factor contestant Andy Abrahams as the show’s host.
In 2012, he was cast in Bill Kenwright’s UK tour of Save The Last Dance and hit the road with his dance shoes for his first touring experience. The musical is a story of holiday romance between an interracial couple in 1963 and features a string of jukebox hits from that era such as ‘Why Must I Be A Teenager In Love’ and ‘Mr Postman’, as well as the title number. Wanogho-Maud played the role of Rufus in the production and was also the understudy for lead character Curtis, the black US airman who falls in love with Luton teenager Marie. He also appeared in the ensemble role of Cabaret Singer in Sweet Smell of Success that same year. The award-winning Broadway musical based on the novella and 1957 film of the same name made its UK premiere at the Arcola Theatre and also starred the likes of David Bamber, Caroline Keiff, Stuart Matthew Price and Celia Graham.
His other credits include A Tribute to the King: Elvis Presley, The Variety Show and Backing Dancer for Lil’Romeo.
His most recent adventure was to join the original London company of The Book of Mormon, which opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in March 2013. He performs as part of the ensemble team in the Olivier Award-winning musical, alongside Mark Anderson, Ashley Day and Michael Vinsen, who have all been featured in previous editions of In Profile. He started off as understudy to the role of the General and now also covers the additional principal role of Mufala. Tosh Wanogho-Maud is a wonderful talent who continues to grow as a performer with each and every year. It was that talent which led to him being cast in one of the most popular and successful musicals in the West End, and having been part of the show since it first opened here, he can and should proudly claim a chunk of its success at the Olivier Awards for himself.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
You can follow Tosh on Twitter: @T0SHEE
Saturday 19th April 2014