THERE have been many firsts in Louise Dearman’s career.
She was the first actress to play both Elphaba and Glinda in the smash hit show Wicked, and now she will be the first person to portray Mrs D in the brand-new musical, Water Babies.
The show will premiere at Leicester’s Curve theatre on Thursday, April 24, and will feature a no expense-spared set design with some of the most sophisticated special effects ever seen on stage.
Inspired by Charles Kingsley’s much-loved novel, the story follows teenage hero Tom, who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit.
Mrs D is a character which is Louise is honoured to be playing.
“It’s a pretty big role,” said the 35-year-old.
“I have always followed another actress into roles and it’s really exciting for me to be able to create a role from scratch is fantastic.
“Mrs D is a fairy to start with but she has been written with a witty and dry sense of humour. She’s very blunt with Tom and is there to gently lead him to open his eyes and make wise choices and balance everything properly. She shows him how his actions will affect not just him, but others too.”
With the book and lyrics by Ed Curtis and Guy Jones, and music by Chris Egan, this latest adaptation of Kingsley’s tale has been inspired by the original story and the 1978 film, and Louise is joined by a stellar cast including Tom Lister (Carl King, Emmerdale) and Thomas Milner (Paul Langley, Waterloo Road).
The West End star was approached by Ed Curtis and Chris Egan to play the part of Mrs D and invited to the Abbey Road studios, in London, to talk about the story.
“Ed and Chris played me the music and I was really impressed, and then I was invited to meet the producers.
“Usually there are lots of auditions, but this time I have been really lucky. They had seen me in Wicked and after a lot of deliberation I popped into their heads to play the part of Mrs D. They thought I could do the role justice which I hope I am doing.”
The musical features some big tunes which suits Louise down to the ground.
“I have the best of both worlds,” she said.
“The soundtrack is a wonderful fusion of musical theatre with a contemporary feel.
“Chris has a lovely musical style and there have been some songs especially written for me and I am honoured to be showcasing this new music.”
It has taken five years to bring the musical to the stage and the dazzling set really has the ‘wow’ factor.
“There is a real waterfall, holograms, projector screens, the full works,” said Louise.
Born in Linslade, Louise first began dance lessons at the age of three, and started to consider a stage career after appearing as part of a children’s choir in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London Palladium when she was 13. She then went on to train at Laine Theatre Arts for three years from leaving school, where she won their Musical Theatre Award and Opera Award.
After graduating from Laine, Louise joined the touring cast of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as the lynchpin role of The Narrator where she toured the UK with the production. Since then Louise has had a glittering career including being cast to play Jan in Grease.
Throughout the noughties, Louise’s career blossomed into a plethora of theatrical success with performances such as Sarah Brown in the national tour of Guys and Dolls, Mimi in the Piccadilly Theatre’s production of Guys and Dolls, Lucy Harris in the national tour of Jekyll and Hyde, and she also performed abroad in Cyprus when she played Grizabella in Cats.
After playing Eva Peron in the production of Evita, in March 2010 Louise replaced Dianne Pilkington in the London production of Wicked. After agreeing to extend her contract at Wicked until December 2011, Louise also joined composer Scott Alan in his concert, ‘Simply The Music Of Scott Alan’ in the West End and in New York.
Her career as a recording artist began in 2005 when she released her first solo album titled You And I which featured 12 tracks from well-known musicals, including Funny Honey from Chicago and On My Own from Les Miserables.
Many may also recognise Louise as the voice behind Cara, the Confused.com animation and has belting out fine renditions of Somebody to Love, Chain Reaction and YMCA.
In December she released her brand-new album It’s Time, a collection of Louise’s favourite musical numbers and includes a duet with X Factor winner turned West End name, Shayne Ward.
“Silver Screen approached me and asked how I felt about recording the musical theatre classics, and to be honest I was a bit reluctant,” said Louise.
“So many people have done them before, so when I decided to record the album I chose some of my favourites but wanted to put something different on the album.
“I wanted a male voice who had a blend of pop and musical theatre and it was then that Shayne was invited to join me on the track Falling Slowly from the musical Once.”
So what is the ‘girl with the golden voice’ bound for after Water Babies?
“I am going to feature in several concerts during the year, including Bond and Beyond,” said Louise.
“This will be a celebration of the world’s most famous secret service agent, with all the iconic music and songs from more than 50 years.
“There has also been talk about taking Water Babies to London so who knows what the future holds!”
Water Babies will perform at Curve Theatre, Leicester, from April 24 until May 17. Tickets are available by calling 0116 242 3595 or by logging on to the website at www.curveonline.co.uk