Many current stage stars have passed through the West End production of Les Miserables on their journey to the top, and the iconic musical is sure to be a springboard to many more in the future. There are some promising performers out there right now who really started building a name from themselves during their time in Les Miserables, and one such performer is the popular Shaun Dalton, who is featured in this edition of In Profile.
Shaun Dalton is a wonderful talent who has appeared in many theatre productions, both in and out of the West End, and has gained quite a fan following over the years through these roles. The Coventry actor attended the Birmingham School of Acting, gaining such training credits as Nikita in The Power of Darkness, Manolo in The Odd Couple, Strongman in Pinocchio, Orlando in As You Like It, Mr Tewson in Fen and Joe Burton in Matchgirls while there. He graduated from the school in 1999, and since then, has established himself as a star-in-the-making with some phenomenal performances on the stage.
He took on the age-old British tradition of the Christmas pantomime in his first professional role, playing Prince Charming in a regional production of Cinderella in Barnstaple. Following that, he appeared in the role of Max Kirkov in Alan Ayckbourn’s play, Ten Times Table, at The Mill at Sonning. The next rung on the career ladder saw him step up to life on the road for his first UK tour. He joined Bill Kenwright’s touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, playing the ensemble roles of Reuben/Issachar, and when the show transferred to the New London Theatre for a West End run, Dalton went with it as part of the original London company; this marked his official West End début.
He returned to pantomime royalty following his time in the West End, first playing Prince Robin in The Sleeping Beauty (2004/05) and then Prince Charming in Snow White (2005/06). The latter was presented by the musical theatre/pantomime production company UK Productions, and was just one show of theirs which Dalton has appeared in. He’s worked with UK Productions on a number of other stage shows/pantomimes, such as the UK Tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in 2005 in which he played Mr Perkins. He continued his travels, and his association with UK Productions, when he left to join the UK Tour of Beauty and the Beast, covering and playing the lead roles of Gaston and The Beast. He later returned to the touring musical in the ensemble role of the Baker, once again covering Gaston/The Beast, and was subsequently invited to take on the principal role of The Beast full-time.
In 2011, he found a permanent base in London after being offered a place in the West End company of Les Miserables. His second West End appearance saw him playing the ensemble roles of Brujon/Factory Foreman on the stage of the Queen’s Theatre, but as 1st Cover Javert, it was these understudy performances that have really solidified his potential as a future West End leading man. He appeared on-stage as Javert opposite such Valjean’s as Alfie Boe (June ’11 – Nov ’11), Ramin Karimloo (Nov ’11 – March ’12), David Shannon (April ’12 – June ’12) and Geronmio Rauch (June ’12 – July ’13) during his two years in Les Miserables, and received many praising reviews from fans for his numerous performances in the principal role in that time: one example to be found online sees an audience member describe him as “note-perfect, incredibly commanding on stage, and a real force to be reckoned with.” That’s just one of many. Although plenty of fans called for him to take on the role full-time, he left the show on 15th June 2013, but left with a new-found fan base that have continued to follow his career in the years since.
Other theatre credits include Falk in Linnaeus, Dancer/Singer in Dick Whittington, Prince Charming in Cinderella, Prince in Sleeping Beauty and Javert at the 2012 BBC Olivier Awards. Television credits include Peak Practice, Blue Peter, Heartburn Hotel and the film Omega’s Children.
His post-Les Mis credits include performing with such other stage names as James Winter, Andy Coxon and James Charlton in the Ball of Sound Tour, and travelling to Berlin with other former Les Mis-ers. He also appeared at Milton Keynes Theatre for their 2013/14 Christmas pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, playing the Prince in the production which was directed by Warwick Davis and also starred Kate Stewart as Snow White and Jennifer Ellison as the Wicked Queen. The next season, he turned up at the Richmond Theatre for their pantomime production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, once again playing the Prince but this time starring alongside Jerry Hall as the Wicked Queen, Chris Jarvis as Muddles and Almie Atkinson as Snow White. He’s also taught Les Miserables workshops at such venues as the Milton Keynes Theatre’s Creative Learning Department and Read College, and worked with 3rd year students at the London Studio Centre on their showcase.
Most recently, he spent two weeks performing in a workshop of a new musical. Eugenius! was created by Chris Nelson, Ben Adams and Suzanne Shaw, who enlisted such other performers as Michael Jibson, Amy Lennox, James Gillan and Alex Bourne in addition to Dalton for the workshop in April 2015.
His latest venture sees him join forces with an assortment of his fellow Les Mis alumni as part of the new all-male supergroup, Boys of the Barricade. Made up of twenty former Les Mis stars, they perform as a 4/5 piece vocal group and have just released tickets for their launch gig in London’s Charing Cross Theatre on 26th July 2015. Dalton performed with other members Simon Schofield, Gavin James and John Addison for the group’s TV début on The Paul O’Grady Show on 15th May 2015
Shaun Dalton is a very talented individual with a striking voice, who is a powerful presence on any stage. He has many fans who desire to see him back on the West End stage, in a permanent principal role this time, and that wish will hopefully be granted in the near future as this superb star-of-tomorrow certainly has what it takes to be a leading West End man.
You can follow Shaun on Twitter: @shaunypd
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Saturday 13th June 2015