When people talk about ‘going green’ it’s usually in reference to doing their bit for the environment, but if they happen to be a theatre fan then it could well be about the hit musical Wicked. The Stephan Schwarz and Winnie Holzman musical about the Witches of Oz first premiered on Broadway in October 2003 and was an instant hit, winning 3 Tony Awards and celebrating its 10th Anniversary last year. The (yellow brick) road to success led it to the UK, where the West End production opened at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in September 2006. Now one of the most popular draws in town, Wicked embarked on its first UK and Ireland Tour in 2013 and can currently be found entertaining audiences at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The touring production has an incredible company of performers bringing the world of Oz to life on stage each night, from the principal line-up led by Nikki Davis-Jones as Elphaba and Emily Tierney as Glinda, through to the members of the ensemble team. This includes Will Knights, who also appears as the featured ensemble member for this week’s edition of In Profile.
Will Knights is an up-and-coming talent in the musical theatre industry, He has experience in performing both in the West End and on tour, and is steadily solidifying his name as a respected and sought-after actor. This advantageous performer learned his craft at the renowned Arts Educational School, London, which has been the training ground of many past and present stars of the stage such as Oliver Thompsett, Samantha Barks, Nigel Harman, Will Young, Bonnie Langford and the Strallen sisters. During his time there he was involved in several productions, playing roles in Jesus Christ Superstar (ensemble), Once on This Island (Armand) and A Chorus Line (Mark). He graduated from the Chiswick-based performing arts school in 2008 with a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre.
His first professional engagement post-graduation was in a touring capacity. He was cast in the UK tour of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the classic Broadway musical based on the 1954 film of the same name. The touring production starred Steven Houghton and Susan McFadden, and Knights visited over 30 cities with the show as part of the ensemble team.
He continued to travel the country after Seven Brides for Seven Brothers when he joined another touring show, this time appearing as a featured singer/dancer in the UK tour of In The Spotlight – Songs from the Musicals. Following that, he was a guest soloist at A Night of Queen which took place at the Liverpool Philharmonic 3rd July 2012. The event was produced in association with Ginger Boy Productions Limited, which is directed by West End performer Earl Carpenter. The Phantom and Les Miserables star featured alongside Knights as part of the line-up for the Queen tribute performance, which also included Mathew Craig, Christos Dante, Leanne Garretty, Ross Hunter, Nicola Poustie, Ashley J. Russell and Danielle York.
Knights continued performing the work of the legendary British rock band in the 2009 National tour of We Will Rock You, the Queen musical by Ben Elton. The first ever UK touring production of the hit show launched at the Palace Theatre in Manchester and starred Alex Gaumond as Galileo and Sarah French-Ellis as Scaramouche, alongside Brenda Edwards (Killer Queen), Jonathan Wilkes (Khashoggi), Georgina Hagen (Meat) and Kevin Kennedy Pop). He performed in the show’s ensemble and also covered the lead role of Galileo.
He was most recently seen in the long-running ABBA musical Mamma Mia. He appeared in an ensemble capacity but again covered a leading role in the show, this time understudying groom-to-be Sky; first at the Prince of Wales Theatre and then at the Novello Theatre following the production’s transfer there.
His other theatre credits include: A Spoonful of Stiles and Drewe (Her Majesty’s Theatre), T A Centenary Gala (Whitehall Theatre), Barbara Cook and Friends (the Coliseum), Dick Whittington (Rhyl Pavilion), Aladdin (The Broadway Theatre, Peterborough).
Will Knights is currently appearing in the UK and Ireland tour of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. He can be seen as a member of the ensemble but also doubles as 1st cover for the principal role of Fiyero, love interest of both Elphaba and Glinda. This talented young performer makes a desirable addition to any show and is sure to be a familiar face in the world of musical theatre for many years to come.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
You can follow Will on Twitter: @willknights
Page updated 18th October 2014