Starring in a West End show is a lifelong ambition for thousands of actors. For many, originating a role is an additional bonus. So when you get the chance to create a role in an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and make your musical debut, it's pretty special.
“I had an audition on Monday, the second audition on Wednesday, got the job on the Wednesday, and started rehearsals on the next Tuesday, so it was a whirlwind," said Caleb Roberts, who makes his musical debut as Prince Charming in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella. Previously, he's starred in King Lear with Ian McKellen, but he threw himself into the musical theatre deep end with Cinderella.
Roberts was one of the last actors to join Cinderella in the West End, as some of the cast participated in early workshops in 2019. Carrie Hope Fletcher played Cinderella, Victoria Hamilton-Barritt played the Stepmother, and Rebecca Trehearn played stepsister Marie. (Trehearn now plays the Queen.)
But some cast members were brought into the show for its London opening, and in addition to Roberts, Ivano Turco, who plays Prince Sebastian, joined the cast for the premiere and makes his West End debut in Cinderella.
For Turco, the fast-paced audition process took him by surprise. “I came in and sang a couple of songs for the creative team and then upon that, we had a couple of dance calls and material calls for Sebastian...Andrew [Lloyd Webber] caught wind of how my singing audition went, then he came back, so I sang for him and two days later I was given the part," said Turco. "The next week we were in the recording studio recording the songs. It happened so quick but so much happened in such a short space of time.”
Even though Cinderella marks Turco’s West End debut, he’s already making moves in the industry. The Urdang graduate won the Best Male Actor in a Musical category at the Black British Theatre Awards in 2021, and Roberts also won an award at the same time in the Best Supporting Male Actor in a Musical category.
“I did musical theatre when I was 16 at BRIT School and then I just did a straight acting course. All my jobs so far since then have been plays," said Roberts. "I’ve loved musicals though and I’ve seen loads. I guess learning from all these veteran actors in this world has been a wonderful thing.”
See Caleb Roberts, Ivano Turco, and the cast of Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London.