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In Profile with Zoe Doano

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is one of Sondheim’s best-known works. The grisly musical has been staged all over the world since its award-winning début on Broadway in 1979, and was last seen in London when the Chichester Festival Theatre production starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton transferred to the Adelphi Theatre for a West End run. The CFT’s revival was one of the best versions of Sweeney Todd in recent years, but giving it a good run for its money is the 2014 Tooting Arts Club site-specific production, which won rave reviews when it premièred at Harrington’s Pie and Mash shop in Tooting. It has now arrived in the West End, having transferred to a pop-up pie shop next-door to the Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue while Harrington’s undergoes refurbishment. Jeremy Secomb and Siobhan McCarthy reprise their roles as Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett respectively in the critically-acclaimed production, alongside fellow original cast members Ian Mowat, Nadim Naaman, Duncan Smith, Joseph Taylor and Kiara Jay, but joining them in the West End line-up is first-time Sweeney star, Zoe Doano, who plays Johanna in the show. The talented young actress has been working professionally in the industry for over five years now and is a star on the rise, which is why she features in this edition of In Profile.

Doano first appeared in the public eye when she was a contestant on the 2006 BBC1 TV casting show, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, in which Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber searched to find a ‘Maria’ for his production of The Sound of Music. The show was won by Connie Fisher, but it didn’t spell the end of the road for Doano, who was awarded a Training in Musical Theatre grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund in 2007 and 2008. This afforded her the opportunity to attend Arts Educational Schools, London, where she spent three years honing her craft. During her time there, she appeared on stage in productions of Betwixt (Kings Head), Fly With The Stars (London Palladium) and Cinderella (Assembly Hall Royal, Tunbridge Wells), as well as playing Florence Nightingale in Nightingale (The Posk Theatre) and Janet Van De Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone (ArtsEd).

Doano graduated from ArtsEd with a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre in 2009 and made her professional début shortly thereafter in the UK tour of The Sound of Music, as a Swing in the show covering the role of Liesl. After a stint in panto playing the title role in Snow White at the Hawth Theatre, she made her West End début in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre as Frenchy and understudy Sandy.

She was then cast in the West End company of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre in June 2011. She joined the ensemble team and appeared in the role of Whore/Urchin in the long-running musical, and was also 1st Cover to the principal role of Cosette, playing the part on stage on a number of occasions. As part of the Les Mis team, Doano also performed with the cast in their regular Les Mis Gives… cabaret series at the Delfont Room and took part in the 2011 MADTrust concert A West End Christmas. Additionally, she had an ensemble role in the 2012 film adaption of Les Miserables. She spent a year in the show, sharing the stage with such names as Alfie Boe, Ramin Karimloo, David Shannon (Valjean), Hadley Fraser (Javert), Caroline Sheen (Fantine), Matt Lucas, Cameron Blakely (Thernadier), Katy Secombe (Madame Thernadier), Craig Mather (Marius), Alexia Khadime (Eponine), Lisa-Anne Wood (Cosette) and Liam Tamne (Enjolras) in that time.

She left Les Miserables on 16th June 2012 and was next seen at the Tabard Theatre in another Boublil and Schonberg musical, playing Annette in the première of the revised production of Marguerite which ran there throughout October 2012. She was then cast in the UK première of the 7-times Tony-nominated Broadway musical, The Sweet Smell of Success, which opened at the Arcola Theatre on 9th November 2012 and continued through to 22nd December 2012. She had an ensemble role in the show, which starred Olivier Award-winning actor David Bamber as JJ Hunsecker and also featured Caroline Keiff (Susan), Stuart Matthew Price (Dallas) and Celia Graham (Rita).

She then travelled the road in the 2013 UK and Ireland Tour of High Society, performing in the ensemble and covering the role of Tracy Lord in the new production of the Cole Porter musical, which also included Michael Praed (Dexter Haven), Marilyn Cutts (Margaret Lord), Teddy Kempner (Uncle Willie), Daniel Boys (Mike Connor) and Sophie Bould (Tracy Lord).

Doano was most recently seen in the European première of the Broadway musical, The Grand Tour, which ran at the Finborough Theatre from 1st January and 21st February 2015. She played the lead role of Marianne.

Her TV credits include Claudine in Hollyoaks, Zoe Thompson in Doctors and Virginia in Penny Dreadful.

She is currently appearing in the TAC production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the pop-up location on Shaftesbury Avenue, which recreates the interior of its original home in Harrington’s Pie and Mash Shop. She plays the role of Johanna, estranged daughter of Benjamin Barker/Sweeney Todd and ward of Judge Turpin, as well as the love interest of the young sailor, Anthony Hope.

Zoe Doano is a bright talent with a face to match the beauty of her voice. A polished performer with a voice like liquid gold, the talent of this young soprano is going to carry her past those high notes and on to stardom.

You can follow Zoe on Twitter: @zoedoano

By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25

Saturday 21st March 2015