A national tour of Puttin’ On The Ritz is set to make its away around the country throughout 2015, visiting venues in Glasgow, Sheffield, Belfast, Cornwall, Norwich, Blackpool, Southend-On-Sea, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Dublin, London, and more. Many may think the main attraction of the show is the Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers, but also performing is a cast of highly skilled West End actors and actresses. Amongst them is the talented Lucy van Gasse, who appears as the featured ensemble member in this edition of In Profile.
Lucy van Gasse is a classically trained soprano who achieved a Post-Graduate Diploma in Vocal and Opera Studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Prior to that she attended Cardiff University, graduating from there with her Bachelor of Music and the Sir Geraint Evans Award for ‘Outstanding Performance’. She performed in an array of operatic productions whilst in training, playing Cinderella in Massenet’s Cendrillon and Second Women in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (Sherman, Cardiff), Belleza in Cavalli’s L’Egisto and Clarinda in Rossini’s Cenerentola (Bute, Cardiff). At St George’s in Bristol, she also performed with the Bristol Opera Company as Dido in Dido and Aeneas and Hebe in Rameau’s Les Indes; she received a mention in The Guardian’s review of the latter, which praised her vocals as “particularly pleasing listening”
In the course of her career, she has been awarded the BBC National Chorus of Wales Scholarship, the Mabel Linwood Christopher Award and the Dolan Evans Memorial Award. She has also regularly performed with the acclaimed classical crossover group, Amici Forever, both in the UK and internationally. Her other credits include: Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze Di Figaro, Adina in L’elisir d’amore, and performances as a soloist in Brahm’s Requiem, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (St Donat’s Art Centre) and From Wales to Broadway (Bridgend Arts Festival).
Her professional West End début came in 2010, as part of the original company of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom sequel, Love Never Dies, at the Adelphi Theatre. She joined the musical as a member of the ensemble and also acted as 2nd Cover Christine, performing the lead role onstage on numerous occasions. In the cast change which saw understudy Celia Graham take over the role from Sierra Boggess, Van Gasse was then promoted to 1st Cover Christine. I was in the audience on one of the nights she played Christine and thoroughly enjoyed the performance by this supremely talented actress, whose stunning voice couldn’t have been more suited to the role. During her time with the show, she also took part in MADTrust’s West End Eurovision 2010 with a number of her fellow cast mates, delivering their rendition of Andrea Demirovic’s 2009 entry for Montenegro: ‘Get Out of My Life’.
After the closure of Love Never Dies, she joined Impact Opera’s production of Carmen at the Yvonne Arnaud theatre in Guildford, playing the role of Frasquita. From there, she went on to star as Eileen opposite Connie Fisher in the acclaimed national tour of Wonderful Town, with the Hallé orchestra, and received a Best Actress nomination in the Manchester Theatre Awards 2012 for her performance.
She returned to the West End following the tour to join the 2012/13 company of the smash hit musical Wicked, spending a year at the Apollo Victoria as the show’s Standby Glinda.
A variety of projects followed in 2014, including performances as a soprano singer at the event Forever at the O2 Arena, and Amici Forever, a summer concert held at Rochester Castle as part of the Castle Concerts series. She also joined Musical Theatre Voices that year and has led numerous musical theatre workshops as one of their West End Masters. She recently performed in a cabaret staged by them at Lauderdale House on 8th February 2015. Which Witch is Which? featured a line-up of actresses who had understudied Glinda or Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked, and also included Gemma Atkins and Michelle Pentecost, in addition to an ensemble of Musical Theatre Voices students.
Other projects in 2015 include soprano vocalist in the concert Sirens Encore in Cairo and performing as a member of The 7 Deadly Divas for the group’s début gig in Barcelona on 3rd March 2015, which also featured such other talented ladies as Caroline Sheen, Jo Gibb and Kara Hayworth. She also led a Wicked workshop in Nailsea, Somerset for Tillie’s School of Performing Arts on 28th March 2015.
Lucy van Gasse can currently be seen in the UK Tour of Puttin’ On The Ritz, which launched at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 27th May 2015. She is part of a West End line-up of singers and dancers that take the audience on a journey through the music of legendary composers Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, performing such classic songs as ‘Cheek to Cheek’, ‘Birth of the Blues’, ‘Swanee’, ‘Night and Day’ and ‘I Got Rhythm’, as well as the show’s title number. The production stars Strictly Come Dancing dance professionals Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor, who additionally choreographed the routines, and for the first 2 weeks, features Pixie Lott with her Strictly dance partner, Trent Whiddon. Other Strictly names announced to appear are Gordana Grandosek, Katya Virshilas and Jared Murillo.
Lucy van Gasse is a beautiful, talented performer with a striking and distinctive voice. The classical crossover singer and actress has been a valuable and noticeable presence in each of her West End shows so far, and audiences here can only hope to see her back in the not-so distant future.
You can follow Lucy on Twitter: @lucyvangasse
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 6th June 2015