When you look at the West End as a whole, it generally appears to be in pretty good health. Yes, there are certain shows which don’t necessarily measure up to the level of high quality you’d expect to find there, but as a majority, there are an overwhelming number of very good shows. Being good is no bad thing, but sometimes a show reaches for something more, and then you have something very special indeed. The musical Once is a perfect example of this: a show which is extraordinary because of its very simplicity – as well as its fantastic score. As the West End’s two longest running musicals, Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera have both certainly proven to be stand-out shows whose special qualities have lent itself to assuring their longevity. All these shows are unique in their own way and have the originality needed to capture an audience’s imagination on a whole new level. When it comes to uniqueness and originality though, there is another show which should be mentioned: The Book of Mormon. After conquering Broadway, it exploded into the West End in a most sensational way and is one of, if not the, most sought after ticket in town. There is definitely no other show like it in the West End, and it’s one which had musical theatre professionals clambering to be a part of it. The lucky few who became the original London company are surely counting their blessings to be involved in such a massively successful show, but of course, the theatre fans who go to see it must also be counting their blessings; not just because of the show itself, but the wonderful company who bring it to life as well. In addition to the BOM cast members who have featured in previous editions of In Profile, another joins the ranks today as ensemble member Mark Anderson becomes this week’s In Profile featured performer.
Mark Anderson is a talented stage actor who certainly warrants having the spotlight shine his way. Originally hailing from Stoke-On-Trent, he’s got his professional stage career off to a good start by spending three years training at the Guildford School of Acting, a prestigious drama college which has produced such stage stars as Caroline Sheen, Daniel Boys, Dianne Pilkington and Michael Ball. Since graduating from the school’s Musical Theatre course in 2007, he has been continuously notching up the theatre credits and has now amassed a collection to be proud of, culminating in his current role.
Anderson has embraced a variety of theatrical-based projects in the course of his career so far, including shows in and out of the West End, touring productions and the stage actor’s rite of passage; panto. In fact, his professional debut was in a pantomime production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, as part of the ensemble team. Soon after that, he was cast as the Thomas Driver in an Australian and New Zealand tour production of Thomas and Friends.
He embarked upon many other experiences following that, a role in a regional production of popular musical Honk! being one such experience. The musical was adapted from the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Ugly Duckling, and in it, he played the role of Ugly – the main character – at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, under the direction of Steven Dexter. A return to the road came soon after that when Anderson joined the company of Mary Poppins on Cameron Mackintosh’s original UK tour. Fresh from the West End, the show also starred Anderson’s fellow GSA alumni Caroline Sheen opposite Anderson who played the role of Robertson Aye between June 2008 and April 2009.
He also went on to perform as Ambrose Kemper in the New Shakespeare Company’s production of Hello Dolly at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 2009, before going back on tour. He played the role of Aaron in the UK tour of the smash-hit musical Legally Blonde, following the show’s closure in the West End. He performed in Once Upon a Mattress at the Union Theatre too.
Other theatre credits include panto turns as Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk and Wishee Washee in Aladdin (both at the Salisbury Playhouse), as well as You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Tabard theatre). He has also been involved in a number of workshops, such as playing Johnny/Vinnie in Blockbuster and John Darling in The Lost Boys – Neverland Grows Up!
Anderson can now currently be found on stage at the Prince of Wales Theatre in The Book of Mormon, performing an ensemble role in the show.
Mark Anderson has done well for himself so far as he works to make a name for himself in this business. He is a young man who, if he continues to build upon the strong foundations already lain, has a very bright future ahead of him indeed.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Saturday 27th July 2013