At the time of the interview, Jonathan Dudley was appearing in the musical Scrooge, which is showing at the London Palladium for a limited run during the forthcoming festive season.
Scrooge is based on Charles Dickens’ famous novel A Christmas Carol, which tells the story of a miserable business man who finds redemption after being visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve.
Jonathan took time out from his busy schedule to answer some questions about himself and the show.
Who inspired you to head for a career in the performing arts?
I wouldn’t say it was one particular person but from a young age back at home I was involved in youth theatre and school productions as I loved to sing. But I remember going to see a production of Starlight Express when it was touring and being amazed at the scale of the show and thinking I would love to make this my job. From then on I think I took part in every show I possibly could to gain experience and this only fuelled me even more.
You trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts London. What were the highlights of your time there?
There are too many to list them all. Mountview gave me some of the happiest and funniest moments in my life. Even now the friendships you form are so strong, as you see everyone at their best and lowest due to the nature of the training. Highlights have got to be the productions you take part in and the amazing teachers that come through to teach. I look back on Mountview now and even though it was hard work, it was some of the best years of my life. The solid base it gives you for the industry is amazing, it really prepares you for almost everything.
You have recently completed filming in the Les Miserables film where you are playing one of the students. Can you tell us about the audition process and the filming?
Although I have auditioned for films before, this time to sing a piece from such a well known theatrical musical for a screen test felt slightly strange. During the first round we had to sing the People’s song into camera. On the recall day it was all about transferring the big musical piece onto film, making your choices smaller and more subtle for the camera lens. In the recall, the director Tom Hooper was there along with Cameron Mackintosh and Claude Schoenberg so it was quite daunting. The filming was amazing. I have never seen anything on the sheer scale of this before, the set, the crew and the cast were epic and when our first scenes with Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman were filmed it felt very surreal to be aiming a gun and indeed performing alongside them. The battles on the barricade felt very real so there was no real acting required, the explosions and real gunfire, made it feel like we were fighting in the revolution. I think fans of the show will love the film. The scenes that I was part of looked incredible and I think it will definitely go down well in the history of films.
You performed in the UK tours of the Original Cast of Glee: Don’t Stop Believing and Scrooge. Can you describe those experiences?
I really enjoy being on tour visiting places you would probably never visit and performing is really fun. Don’t Stop Believing was a really fast paced show and we had such a good time on tour with it. The reception we got was always a bit mad with lots of screaming fans especially in places like Bradford and Edinburgh where some cast members had to have a security escort. While touring Scrooge we were without the screaming fans although we had a great cast and some really good venues.
You are currently performing as Dick Wilkins in Scrooge The Musical at the London Palladium. What can you tell us about your character and how he fits into the storyline?
My character is described by Scrooge as “the best friend he ever had”. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts and my character appears during ‘The Ghost Of Christmas Past’ section. Scrooge is too shy to talk to the girl he fancies and then falls in love with; my character just helps him out a little bit, as a friend does.
Scrooge was written in 1843 by Charles Dickens and yet remains a favourite today. What do you think makes it such a successful storyline? Why should everyone come and see Scrooge?
I think it’s a story that will be around forever. It’s so heart-warming, which I think people can relate to. It’s a real journey that Scrooge goes upon and Charles Dickens is a genius in how he ties it all together.
The show has a feel good factor with brilliant magic tricks and an amazing score. I think Scrooge is one of the only classic book musicals left around today in musical theatre and you’re guaranteed to come away feeling all festive and singing along. It’s also a show that the children will love as it really gets them excited for Christmas. Tommy Steele is an absolute legend and his energy and talent in the show will leave you stunned. It really is a show not to be missed.
You can follow Jonathan Dudley on Twitter at @Jonnydavidduds
Interview questions by Neil Cheesman
Updated 27th November 2015