Calamity Jane comes to Oxford
Following numerous highly acclaimed productions that include Sweeney Todd and Sunset Boulevard, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury presents a new production of the classic musical Calamity Jane.
Featuring a cast of multi-talented actor/musicians to create an unforgettable experience, this brand new production gets to the heart and soul of the musical, which comes to the New Theatre on June 9-13 (7:30pm with 2:30pm matinees on Wednesday and Saturday).
Calamity Jane has an Oscar nominated score that includes ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’, ‘The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away)’, ‘Just Blew in from the Windy City’ and the award-winning song ‘Secret Love’.
The cast currently stars Jodie Prenger in the title role of Calamity Jane.
It also stars Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickok; OX had the pleasure of interviewing him...
People will recognise you from your television roles. What is it like being back in the theatre – did you do much before TV?
I did quite a bit of theatre before, so it’s great to be back on stage.
You’ve had great reviews for Calamity Jane – do they mean more as it’s something that is relatively new to you?
I did my first musical last year, which was Water Babies at the Leicester Curve. It was something that I’d always wanted to do and it happened at the right time for me. It has been a ball. It’s been wonderful, I never thought it would be as great as it is.
We have been touring since November and people have come out in their droves. People just love the show. They have even been dressing it. It is a lot of fun and the audiences have been great across the country.
What aspects came naturally to you during rehearsals and what was a challenge?
Singing has been a passion of mine for a while now, so it is great to do that. Plus, I get to play a cowboy – it’s a childhood dream!
The show is full of actor-musicians. I’m not particularly proficient as a musician – I taught myself to play the guitar but that’s about it. At the first band call some of the cast had eight or nine instruments with them. Jodie (Prenger – who plays the title role) and I were just in awe.
I was charged with percussion and Jodie was given the task of learning the spoons. For the first two weeks I felt like the idiot in the corner, but it was hilarious. It was a challenge but we did it.
How important is fitness in a show like Calamity Jane?
When we first started the show in Newbury last year, it was the height of summer and we were all running around in woollen suits sweating buckets. So fitness is important from a stamina point of view.
I’m quite into keeping fit though and have just completed a charity bike ride with the company in aid of Hope For Justice. We cycled from Wimbledon to Manchester and raised £40,000.
What is next for you once the tour comes to an end?
I’m having lots of exciting meetings at the minute. Whether it’s going to be more of the same or go back on the screen I’m not sure yet. Maybe a little holiday too.
Why should people come to see Calamity Jane when it comes to Oxford?
It is fast-paced, funny and full of energy. It’s a wonderful night’s entertainment for the whole family. People have laughed, cried and been singing along from the get-go. You can’t find a better evening out.
Tickets can be purchased from the New Theatre box office on George Street, by ringing 0844 871 3020 or by visiting our website at www.atgtickets.com/oxford (phone and internet bookings subject to booking/transaction fee).
For bookings of 10 or more, or for Equal Access bookings, please call our dedicated in-house team on 0844 871 3040.
Images - Tom Lister as Wild Bill Hickok (Credit: Manuel Harlan)
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