Elia Lo Tauro was born in Sicily and has worked in the UK theatre for over 20 years – appearing in such shows as The Lion King (Lyceum), Hook in Neverland (International Tour), Cacambo in Candide (Ilford Arts Festival), Simon the Zealot in Jesus Christ Superstar (Ahoy Rotterdam & EU tour) and many more shows and films.
Currently appearing in On Your Feet! at the London Coliseum thanks to Raw PR we had a chance to speak to Elia Lo Tauro about the musical and being a EsteFAN!
How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
Since I was very little, I used to perform and sing in front of my family and friends for our gathering and parties. I was constantly running around without stopping, so my Mum, exhausted, decided I should start taking classes of dancing, acting, singing and solfeggio/piano. She also sent me to our local church to help with their theatre company assisting with backstage duties.
At that time I remember they were playing “The imaginary Invalid “ a Musical written by Moliere. I was captivated by the acting of the main character and It was then I knew I wanted to become like him one day.
What has been your favourite role you have played and why?
I fall in love with each and every role I play, as they all capture a big part of my sensitivity, it’s always so hard to say good bye at the end of a show. However, the role of “Cacambo” that I played in Bernstein’s Candide, last summer, had stolen a big piece of my heart. It had many similarities with my own character, the way of thinking and of approaching life. Always positive and empathic. Those who have read Voltaire’s Novel would understand better for me to put it into words.
Where did you train?
I started at a young age at the “Piccolo Theatre” in Sicily with the talented Gianni Salvo and in London I took courses at Rada and also at IDSA(Identity School of Acting). I like to keep studying, discovering and nurture my craft as often as I can, I believe as in life that an Actor never stops learning.
Can you tell us about your current, show On Your Feet what drew you to the role of José Fajardo?
Firstly, I have always been a big Gloria’s “EsteFAN”, her music and songs combined touched very important moments of my life, from childhood to now. I literally used to play her CD “Mi Tierra” every morning when it first came out. When the occasion of being seen for an Audition for OYF arose, I was electrified. At first they would see me for the part of Emilio Estefan, but only after my first singing and acting call the artistic team agreed that instead I would be more suitable for the role of Gloria’s father “José Fajardo”. At first, I was a bit disappointed as I didn’t know what role it was, however, after knowing his story and of the Fajardo Family, I was totally drawn into it. I was fascinated and, in a way, I thought of my beloved family back in Sicily. I also had the privilege to hear José Fajardo’s story, life and struggle with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) directly from Gloria Estefan voice and I still find it difficult to keep back my tears in certain moments of the show.
The show is about Gloria and Emilio Estefan – why do you think their music works so well for a musical?
Their music is so Rhythmic and contagious, those Congas, those percussions will resonate deep in anyone’s hearts. It is a very powerful and direct Music but also gentle and melodic .It is very accessible to anyone and can work very well in any venues, it also marries perfectly with Dramaturgy and Dance. It is an uplifting music, literally puts you “On Your Feet”!
Do you have a favourite number in the show?
Yes I do, It is “Wrapped” in the second act of the show. It is a touching and very moving scene; it comes right after Gloria’s accident. In that scene everything comes back to life: Memories, Family, Tradition, love. I also get to sing one of my favourite Estefan’s song in a duet together with Christie Prades and also Philippa Stefani , our two beautiful Gloria’s.
Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?
The London West End theatres. After spending nearly 20 years of my life in the UK, it feels like home. In Every show that I do here, there is a new family that I meet. This brings to my work much more significance and value.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
To share my laughter and tears with the audience. It is a Blessing for me as an Actor to have the possibility to let my emotions out and reach someone else’s Heart. When the audience understands what I feel and follows my emotional journey, it satisfies me.
What’s been a funny moment for you on stage? Any mishaps you want to share?
I was once singing a song on stage written by the Academy Award’s winner Nitin Sawhney, I was playing in “Mahabharata” at Sadler’s wells, I totally blanked and could not remember the rest of the lyrics of the song and so I finished off, I think, with mumbling some Italian words instead… how embarrassing!
Who are your influences and inspirations?
Firstly, My grandfather. He was a father, a mentor a teacher, an idol and a great man. He inspired me and taught me how to be a better person and to live my life with dignity and kindness. Also The amazing Carl Anderson (original Giudas from the Jesus Christ Super Star 70’s movie) who was such a generous artist and helped me to acquire the strength on stage I needed at the beginning of my career. Mrs. Thea Nerissa Barnes (The Lion King, West End) who took me under her wings and trained me how to fly high and with pride. My Mother, who has always been by my side, even when she was far, encouraged me to follow my dreams, protected me, supported me and made me the man and artist I am today.
What’s your go to song for auditions or just singing in the shower?
It varies really, depending on which show or role I am going for, however , I like to take “ I ll be here” from Lippa’s “ Wild Party”, also Mack &Mabel “ I won’t send roses” , if suitable for the casting.
The song I usually sing in the shower is “ O Sole Mio” or any other Italian standard, the Sicilian in me usually comes out then.
Is there a role (regardless of gender) you would love to play in a show?
Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
What’s next for Elia Lo Tauro after a summer at the London Coliseum?
After the great West End run at the ENO, the show will take us on a UK and Ireland tour. It will be great to revisit places in UK where I have not been in a while.
Where can people follow your work on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube etc?
My Instagram account @elia_lotauro, that I recently created, is always updated, feel free to follow, also on the Elia Lo Tauro Official Facebook page, and on my agent’s website www.islesmanagement.com.