Brit girls are rocking the boat

//Brit girls are rocking the boat

chicago.jpgPerhaps they were expecting Mary Sunshine, the ace reporter from the musical Chicago. But as the character is often played on stage by a large transvestite with an operatic voice, they were going to be disappointed when I turned up. I can’t sing and I don’t wear dresses
How was I going to razzle dazzle the stars of the feature show on board the biggest cruise ship in the world? Which though it is performed at sea, is pretty near the full Broadway production, in the 1,400-seat Amber Theatre with facilities – back stage and front of house – better than almost anything in the West End.
Turns out I didn’t have to. Even after a hectic rehearsal, they were happy to talk to a limey journalist. Because they’re from Britain too.
Genevieve Nicole, who plays Velma Kelly, arrived in the UK as a child after being brought up in Australia. Helen Turner, the doe-eyed dizzy blonde Roxie Hart, is fresh out of stage school in Yorkshire. Linda John-Pierre, the devious Matron “Mama” Morton, was born in Stratford, East London, and now calls Twickenham her home.
Auditions for the show were held in the city of Chicago – naturally – Los Angeles, New York and London. As it turned out, the talent-pickers need have looked no further than Pineapple Studios in Covent Garden, where they found their three stars.
For all of them, the chance to spend an initial nine months performing on Allure of the Seas is the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I still don’t believe it, ” Helen told me. “I keep thinking it’s all a dream, and I’ll wake up any minute.”
Helen, 22, is from Tadcaster in Yorkshire and went to SLP College in Leeds. She was working as an usherette at the London production of Mamma Mia in the Prince of Wales Theatre when she auditioned.
“I’d been waiting for a phone call for about three weeks when one day a woman in the theatre told me I looked just like Renee Zellwegger in Chicago. I didn’t dare tell her I had auditioned for the part, and that evening I got the call to say I had been chosen.”
For Genevieve it’s even more of a dream come true. She watched her mother play the role of Velma on stage in Australia, and vowed that one day she would follow in her footsteps. She has, to the extent that she has performed in Chicago on tour in the UK and in Kuala Lumpur before landing the role in the debut production at sea.
Not only does she perform the part that Catherine Zeta Jones made famous in the film version, she is also Mother Nature, the lead in the ship’s other big production show, Blue Planet.
Genevieve, 26, has left her chef husband behind in Epsom, Surrey to follow her dream. Linda’s husband is still at home in Twickenham, and working as a designer for the Financial Times.
As well as her role as the matron of Cook County Jail, Linda, 43, will be singing in the Summer Breeze show at Allure’s Aqua Theatre, and cool jazz at the Captain’s cocktail parties. She’s certainly got the experience, having played Billie Holliday’s mother and Ella Fitzgerald on stage, and performed in the Blues Brothers and in Sweet Soul Music, which features the songs of Aretha Franklin.
The Allure of the Seas production of Chicago is not a cut-down version for the benefit of cruise passengers with a short attention span, itching to get back to the buffet queue or the blackjack table.
Like Hairspray on sister ship Oasis of the Seas, it’s pretty much the full Broadway production, and directors and designers flew from New York to supervise the operation.
Unlike the Broadway show, the tickets are free – admission is included in the cruise fare.
And you can even watch a sneak preview here . . .

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:15+00:00 28 November 2010|Cruise Entertainment|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Prince Of Wales Theatre 15 November 2011 at 10:24 am - Reply

    I went to see the Musical Mamma Mia At the Prince of Wales Theatre last month and it was pretty amazing, I gotta admit that Im a fan of ABBA so I was almost crying sometimes during the show, they have some great talented singers.

Leave A Comment