Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol is a classic work of literature which has permeated into our society – how many of you have called someone a ‘scrooge’ or shouted out ‘bah humbug!’ at some point in your life? The book has never been out of publication and has been adapted numerous times into such media forms as film, ballet, opera, and of course, the stage musical. Leslie Bricusse wrote and composed Scrooge The Musical, which first appeared in Birmingham in 1992, with a West End production being staged in 2005. Now, with the Christmas season fast approaching, Scrooge is back in the West End. The musical has again taken up residence at the London Palladium and Tommy Steele has returned with it to star as the miserly ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ once more, bringing a whole host of talented performers with him. We are featuring one such individual in this week’s In Profile: Roisin Sullivan.
Roisin Sullivan, who originally hailed from Ireland, divides her time between London and Dublin in pursuit of life on the stage. Her first performances came at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in 2004, where she played ‘Eliza Doolittle’ in My Fair Lady, ‘Phoebe Meryll’ in The Yeoman of the Guard and the title role in Gigi. The following year, she hopped on-board the Irish Ferries ship ‘The MV Normandy’ as the lead singer, dancer and MC in the Normandy Nights Cabaret Show, then toured Germany, Canada and America as a vocalist in John McColgan’s Riverdance. Sullivan returned to London to train at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, graduating from the Post Graduate Musical Theatre course in 2007. She performed in several productions during her year at the school, including ‘Procne’ in The Love of The Nightingale, ‘Shallow/Nym’ in The Merry Wives of Windsor and ‘Golde’ in Fiddler on The Roof. She also played the role of ‘Peggy’ in a production of Godspell at the Chelsea Theatre, in which she also double-dutied as the dance captain. That same year, she also featured in the ensemble for a rehearsed reading of a work in development by Mercury Musicals Developments (MMD) at Her Majesty’s Theatre, titled Alvaro’s Balcony.
Since leaving Mountview, Sullivan has been involved in a number of projects in both England and Ireland. She appeared as a vocalist in the Four’s Company live performance at RADA, played a ‘Beggar Woman’ in the Union Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd, ‘Woman 3’ in Listen To My Heart – The Songs of David Friedman (Smock Alley, Dublin) and ‘Daisy/Various’ in a rehearsed reading of 1916 The Musical (London). In 2009, she joined the cast of A Man of No Importance as ‘Adele Rice’ at the Union Theatre, continuing in the role when the musical transferred the following year to the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. She then went on to play the ‘Chestnut Seller’ and understudy the roles of ‘Isabel’/’Helen’/’Ghost of Christmas Past’/’Bess’ in Bill Kenwright’s touring production of Scrooge The Musical, joining another Kenwright production after that one when she appeared in the ensemble of the internationally touring Evita, in which she also understudied the principal role of ‘Eva Peron’. Most recently, she was seen playing the role of ‘Caoimhe’ in new Irish musical The Promise at the Helix, Dublin.
There are many performers out there who would love Santa to bring them a role in a West End musical this Christmas, and Sullivan is one of those lucky few as she is now back playing the ‘Chestnut Seller’ in Scrooge, this time in the grand setting of the London Palladium. It isn’t luck or even jolly old Saint Nick who got her there though, it was her own unique talent. Sullivan possesses a powerful, yet beautiful voice, one which is sure to continue leading her places once Scrooge finishes its run.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
You can follow Roisin on Twitter: @roisinbsullivan
Content updated 1st May 2014