It’s been just over a month now since cast change day at the West End’s longest running musical. Les Miserables has had some very strong casts in recent years, and with the new batch of talent nicely settled in at the Queen’s Theatre now, I think audiences would agree that they are proudly carrying on this tradition. Liam Tamne and Craig Mather continue in their respective roles of Enjolras and Marius, joined by newcomers Geronimo Rauch, Tam Mutu, Sierra Boggess, Danielle Hope and Samantha Dorsey in other principal roles. There are also some new faces in amongst that wonderful ensemble, including the likes of Miss Sarah Lark.
Perhaps best known as one of the contestants on TV casting show I’d Do Anything, Sarah Lark joined the Les Miserables company on 18th June 2012 in the role of ensemble/whore. Whilst many of her fans will be pleased to see her performing in a West End show, she is certainly no stranger to the stage.
Welsh-born Lark graduated from a post-graduate course in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) in 2004, but found a love of performing many years before then. She first appeared on stage at the age of twelve, in the Starstruck Theatre production of Annie in Cardiff, where she played the title role alongside a young Charlotte Church as Molly. She also appeared as part of the ensemble in the 1995 original performance of Whistle Down the Wind at Sydmonton Festival, held at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s country home.
She went on to make her West End debut in 2000, originating the role of Little Girl in The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Following that, she performed alongside John Barrowman in Beautiful and Damned at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Surrey and as Lucy in a production of Snoopy! The Musical at the Jermyn Street Theatre, a role she reprised at the New Players Theatre after graduating from RAM. From there, she joined the company of hit West End musical Mamma Mia at the Prince of Wales Theatre, covering the roles of Lisa and Sophie, along with performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the title role of Cinderella and as Juliet’s Nurse in Shakespeare For Breakfast, which afterwards transferred to the Canal Café Theatre in Little Venice, London.
In 2008, Lark auditioned for the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s television casting programmes which was this time searching for an unknown talent to star as Nancy in his forthcoming West End revival of Oliver! She made it to the live finals, but unfortunately found herself eliminated in the sixth show. This wasn’t going to slow her down however. Lark travelled around the UK with some of the other contestants in the I’d Do Anything tours following Jodie Prenger’s success in winning the role, and followed that up with a string of theatrical work, including playing Collette in Mathilde (Edinburgh Comedy Festival), performing in the one-night-only charity show of Betwixt! (Ambassadors Theatre) and taking on the lead role of Roberta Jones for the cast recording of concept musical Bluebird, which also featured Ramin Karimloo. Having impressed ALW on I’d Do Anything, she was also chosen to be a part of the ensemble in Oliver!, understudying Prenger as Nancy and performing the role on stage on a number of occasions. Most recently, she was seen in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Union Theatre, which ran from 18th October-12th November 2011. She played the role of Miss Mona, the part made famous by country-singing sensation Dolly Parton.
In addition to her onstage work, Lark has also made numerous contributions to other theatrical outlets. She has hosted her own solo cabarets – An Afternoon With Sarah Lark (Lauderdale House) and The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents Sarah Lark (The Pheasantry) – as well as performing in others’ events, such as songwriter Michael Bruce’s concert (Apollo Theatre) and the 80th birthday tribute concert to Broadway’s Jerry Herman. She has appeared as a guest vocalist on the albums of several new musical theatre writers, including performing as Rebecca on the cast recording of Robert Gould and Christopher J. Orton’s Welsh musical My Land’s Shore and duetting with John Owen-Jones for Surrounded By The Sounds, the second album of Tim Prottey Jones who was most recently seen as one of the finalists on ITV’s Superstar. I interviewed Lark at the launch of his album, who was very enthusiastic about these opportunities to work with new musical theatre writers, commenting that: “It’s a great feeling to think I’ve been singing on the albums of the future of musical theatre.”
She can also be found regularly hosting the Friday night Show Off Piano Bar at Café Koha in the heart of the West End, sharing duties with Sweeney Todd’s Matthew Gent.
Sarah Lark has already proven that she can more than hold her own on a West End stage; this beautiful little lady with the big voice can be proud at having achieved so much already and you can be sure that a glittering future lies in wait for her. Be sure to catch her in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre while you can!
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Content updated 1st May 2014