When a show closes in the West End, it’s always a time that is tinged with a little sadness, no matter whether it was a smash hit or a flop. This week, it was the turn of jukebox musical Rock of Ages, which posted closing notices for 2nd November 2013. The Broadway transfer will close at the Garrick Theatre after a two year-run in the West End proved to be quite eventful. It opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre 27th September 2011 to less-than-positive reviews and moved to its current home at the Garrick at the beginning of this year, but soon the West End will rock ‘n’ roll no more. It’s not the end of the line for ROA however, as the show is set to embark on a UK tour following its closure in the West End.
It may not have received a great response from critic’s reviews, but theatre fans seemed to enjoy the musical and the one word which was most commonly used to describe it was, ‘fun’. Helping to make ROA a London success was the cast, who rocked out the classic 80’s numbers with their powerhouse vocals. With the end now in sight for the show, it seemed only right to acknowledge one of its cast members in In Profile, which is why Grant Anthony is this week’s featured ensemble member.
Grant Anthony is a talented stage performer, with a list of theatre credits that reads exceptionally well. He has had a varied career on the stage so far, having been involved in numerous productions on tour, and in the spotlight of the West End – the latest being the West End production of Rock of Ages of course. He’s also racked up experience points in the UK’s regional theatres, performing in such productions as Maid Marion and her Merry Men at the Bristol’s Old Vic. Originally a children’s TV sitcom on BBC One, show creator Tony Robinson adapted it for the stage with Mark Billingham and David Lloyd. The musical was well received and praised for its humour. He has also performed in several Chichester Festival Theatre productions over the years. The renowned theatre company has been responsible for such shows as the critically-acclaimed revivals of Sweeney Todd: The Musical and Singin’ in the Rain in recent years. Anthony played the role of Jenkins in the 2005 production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, which earned great reviews and won the accolade of Best New Musical in that year’s TMA Theatre Awards. He also played Constable Swistvnov in The Government Inspector and Jack Wright in 5/11 during the CFT’s same season.
Anthony has seen much of the UK through his involvement in various national tours. He travelled around the country as part of the tour production of Steve Brown and Justin Greene’s musical, Spend Spend Spend. The show was inspired by the rags-to-riches story of Viv Nicholson, who won £152,319 in the football pools in 1961. Anthony played the role of Keith, her first husband who later died in a car crash. He covered the role of Tony in Acorn Antiques and was the understudy for Action in a touring production of West Side Story. He also appeared in the tour of Big Deal.
Anthony’s West End theatre credits have also helped him to cement a reputation as a high-quality performer. He appeared in another jukebox musical prior to ROA; the popular, long-running Mamma Mia, which is based on the music of ABBA. He performed as part of the show’s ensemble and was also understudy to the leading role of Sky. In addition, he was once to be found on the stage of the Apollo Victoria with the company of Starlight Express. He played the role of Electra, the ‘Engine of the Future’, as he sang and danced on roller-skates in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s train-themed musical.
One his most notable theatre credits comes courtesy of another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical: Jesus Christ Superstar. Created in collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice, the 70’s rock opera has become a classic in the world of musical theatre and was recently revived for an acclaimed arena tour. Anthony was involved in the 1996 London revival, which ran at the Lyceum Theatre and starred Steve Balsamo in the title role. He played the ensemble role of Apostle and also understudied the role of Simon. He took to the road again when the show subsequently embarked on a UK tour, this time performing the role of Simon on a permanent basis opposite Glenn Carter as Jesus. He can also be seen in the JCS film adaption which was released in 2000.
His stage appearances also include appearing as a featured soloist and understudying the role of Freddie in the 25th Anniversary concert of Chess at the Royal Albert Hall in May 2008. He was a soloist in a Frank Loesser concert on BBC Radio 4 too, and can also be heard on the 1996 cast recording for Jesus Christ Superstar.
Grant Anthony is an up-and-coming performer who has already amassed an impressive amount of stage experience and can boast his participation in a number of well-received, professional theatre productions, including some pretty high-profile shows. Right now, he is still appearing at the Garrick Theatre in his ensemble role in Rock of Ages. He also covers several characters in the show, having played Hertz and the principal role of Stacee Jaxx on stage during his time with the show’s company. With the musical confirmed to close in November, it remains to be seen where he goes from there, but I’d say it’s a safe bet that as he moves onwards, he’ll continue moving upwards.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 10th August 2013