Rising Star Charlie Stemp on His Breakout Role in Half a Sixpence

first_img Newcomer Charlie Stemp looks set to be stamped for stardom when a revival of the 1965 British musical Half a Sixpence starts previews on October 29 at the Noel Coward Theatre, in advance of a November 17 opening. A sensation in Chichester, south of London, where director Rachel Kavanaugh’s production was seen over the summer, the young leading man spoke to Broadway.com about following in the footsteps of legendary British performer Tommy Steele and standing on the cusp of fame.How does it feel to be the unknown who is about to become a star?I feel very honored, I really do. It’s been exciting seeing my face all over town, on the tubes and buses and wherever else. That’s something I’m not used to!Were you nervous about signing on to a show produced by the legendary Cameron Mackintosh, who has launched many a musical theater performer over the years?Throughout this whole experience, I was ready to be petrified of Cameron because he is so well-known throughout the industry and is one of the biggest producers of the world. Going to his office for the first time was so daunting that I tried on three shirts because I was sweating so much.How was it when you got there?What’s amazing is that he gives you time—he listens and focuses on you and gives you his full undivided attention. It was all about making me feel relaxed—though I did have 11 auditions before I got the part!What was that like?When I did find out, I remember doing backflips! I couldn’t tell my mum for two weeks—it was the best-kept secret in the West End.Was it difficult being the new kid on the block?From the first set of rehearsals onwards, it’s been exhausting but also a brilliant experience. I had never had to sing on my own before and never had more than a couple of lines. I’d played Eddie in Mamma Mia! on tour but this whole experience was entirely new to me, and the cast was so helpful.What did you know about Half a Sixpence prior to this?I’d actually done the show at college [Laine Theatre Arts] in 2011 when I was 17. Andrew Wright, our choreographer, had seen me do it there and had said he enjoyed it, so when I saw him three or four years later for our auditions I was like, “I hope you remember me!”How do you see the appeal of a 1965 British musical to contemporary audiences?What we have going for us is that we’re the most British show in town. It’s always amazing to have your Wickeds and Lion Kings, but if you want to come to the West End and see a show that I think symbolizes the British side of musical theater, you need to catch [Half a Sixpence]. These songs are so famous throughout my nan’s and mum’s generation, and though it was of course made famous by Tommy Steele, we’ve put a completely new spin on it while trying to keep the same magic.What do you make of the character of Arthur Kipps, the drapery shop assistant who inherits a fortune? [The show is based on a satiric 1905 novel by HG Wells].The rags-to-riches story of this guy is still with us today. Arthur comes into quite a lot of money, which happens these days to people who win the lottery, and suddenly his life is changed and he has to realize that money can’t buy him happiness. He has to wrestle with his conscience and whether he stays with the friends and family he had before he came into money or whether he tries to move up to a different class where people treat him differently but don’t have the honesty that he has. For me to make that decision every night as an actor is something I find hard.So it’s about that time-honored British topic, class?Yes, and there is still a class system [in England]. I know a lot of people say it isn’t there but it still is, though slightly less heightened.Might those who liked Downton Abbey on TV respond well to this?The connection is there since we have Downton’s writer and creator, Julian Fellowes, working on this, along with some new songs from George Stiles and Anthony Drewe—so it’s not just the old musical dusted down and restaged.How are you coping with the banjo-playing required at each performance?I got given a banjo, which I named Babs the Banjo, which I look after—or maybe I should say it looks after me! I had to learn to play four weeks before we started on top of a 120-page script with Arthur on every page and then these wonderful, energetic dances, so there were many late nights—but I have loved every second!Are you pleased to have tested the piece out already in front of the Chichester audience?One of our new songs, “Pick Out a Simple Tune,” regularly got its own standing ovation, and we’re talking at the Chichester Festival Theatre, where the audience is the older generation. We were warned not to expect standing ovations there, but we got three on one particular evening, which was amazing. I am sure that won’t change now that we’re at the Noel Coward Theatre.Have you been in the West End before?My first job out of college was as “monkey number three” in Wicked here at the Apollo Victoria. I’ve always loved dancing, singing and acting, but dancing was always the thing I did for fun. It was great to be in a show where I was dancing through life 8 times a week! I was 19 when I went in so was the youngest in the cast and from there I went on to the international tour of Mamma Mia!Does the positive energy of Half a Sixpence have an impact on you as a performer?Absolutely. It just picks me up, as I hope it will also do for the audience. If you can sit through [showstopping number] “Flash Bang Wallop” without a smile on your face, then I owe you money. I owe you half a sixpence! Charlie Stemp in ‘Half a Sixpence'(Photo: Manuel Harlan) View Comments Star Files Charlie Stemplast_img read more

Vermont Chapter To Receive Continuing Publication Commendation From the Construction Specifications Institute

first_imgThe Vermont Chapter will receive a Continuing Publication Commendation from the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) for its monthly newsletter, Green Mountain Specifier. Christopher Eling, CSI, CDT, editor of the newsletter, will accept the award April 21, 2004 during the Opening General Session of The 48th Annual CSI Showä & Convention.CSI presents a Continuing Publication Commendation to individuals, chapters, firms, or organizations for outstanding publications in areas related to the Institute. The Vermont Chapter nominated Eling and the Green Mountain Specifier for:- Consistently providing the construction community with news from the chapter, region, and Institute- Publishing technical and educational articles by members and industry experts- Reviewing past, present and future chapter programs- Recognizing new members- Promoting and recognizing certification and member accomplishmentsThe Green Mountain Specifier is published 10 times each year.Eling has been a member of CSI for three years, and works for Peter Morris Architect in Vergennes, VT.The Opening General Session will take place on Wednesday, April 21, in Chicago, and will be open to the public. For more information about the Show & Convention, visit www.thecsishow.com(link is external).The Vermont Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute will receive both of this year’s Chapter Cup awards during the Institute’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 24th in Chicago. CSI awards two Chapter Cups each year to recognize the chapters that grew the most during the previous calendar year. Because one cup is awarded based on percentage growth in membership, and the other based on net growth, it is unprecedented that a single chapter wins both cups in one year.The Vermont Chapter grew from 57 to 126 members last year, a 122 percent increase. The Vermont Chapter was chartered in May 1968 with 30 members. The chapter has been active and growing in recent years, and was able to take home Chapter Cup awards for highest percentage growth in 2000 and 2001.Vermont leaders credit their success to a strong continuing education program for construction practitioners and efforts to reach students in construction-related programs at Norwich University and Vermont Technical College.About CSICSI is a national association of specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, building materials suppliers and others involved in nonresidential building design and construction.last_img read more

Guys and Dolls a Hit at The New Argyle Theatre

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The Argyle Theatre at Babylon Village made its Long Island theatre debut May 10 with the 1950 classic musical Guys and Dolls.Father-and-son owners Mark and Dylan Perlman and artistic director Evan Pappas, along with their fantastic creative production team and cast, mounted an extraordinary production that put ear-to-ear smiles on a full house of excited theatregoers on opening night.“It’s a very sweet show with great characters that you fall in love with,” Pappas says.Guys and Dolls features brilliant choreography, lighting and a set that puts the audience right in the heart of New York City to experience gambling shenanigans, tall tales, broken promises and finally, unequivocal love.Argyle’s beautifully renovated theatre boasts lots of legroom, new concession area, balcony and orchestra pit. The seats are quite nostalgic, too, as they’re right from New York City’s own Beacon Theatre.The cast stars Elizabeth Broadhurst and Todd Buonopane as Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit, Spencer Plachy as Sky Masterson, Melissa Maricich as Miss Sarah Brown, and Robert Anthony Jones as Nicely-Nicely Johnson.In addition to comedic flair, each actor portrays their character with so much heart and “honesty,” that “the audience is sure to go on their journey with them,” says Pappas.With all-time favorites such as “A Bushel and a Peck,” “Luck, Be a Lady,” “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” and “Adelaide’s Lament,” Argyle’s Guys and Dolls is a toe tapping, hand-clapping, laugh-out-loud show, not to be missed.Rounding out the cast are Piera Calabro, Connor Cook, Nancy Evans, David A. Ferguson, Tom Giron, Whitney Renne Hickman, Danielle Sue Jordan, Gerard Lanzerotti, Kyra Leeds, Cody Marcukaitis, Datus Puryear, Stephen Valenti, and Shelley Valfer.“This production, while staying true to the story, music and lyrics, is so fresh and innovative,” Dylan Pearlman says. “The proof is in the pudding.”Argyle Theatre, 34 West Main St., Babylon. argyletheater.com, 844-631-5483. Guys and Dolls tickets $74-$79. Through June 17.last_img read more