Steph Parry is to take on the role of Dorothy Brock in the West End production of 42nd Street, the part currently being played by Lulu. Parry, who understudies for Brock, recently stepped in last minute to take on the lead role in Mamma Mia! down the road, making headlines in the process.
42nd Street is the revival production of the show which follows the lives of performers as they struggle to make their names on Broadway. The piece has a book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, music from Harry Warren and lyrics from Al Dubin and is an adaptation of the 1932 novel and the 1933 film. Tickets are available online.
We managed to get Steph to answer some questions for our Ask the Star feature.
How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
I remember taking a trip to London when I was about 10 years old to see Joseph and being absolutely bowled over by Linzi Hately. I knew there and then that that was what I wanted to do with my life.
Having just announced you will be taking over the lead in the smash hit musical 42nd Street how does it feel to be taking on the role full time after understudying the role?
It feels amazing. I’m so excited to get a proper run at it. Since I started in the show I’ve only been on sporadically so only feel like I’m finding my feet with her now. I just can’t wait to put my own stamp on it.
Do you have a favourite number in 42nd Street?
Hmm?! That’s a hard one! Probably “42nd Street”, it’s EPIC!! When the ensemble come up those stairs like the fiercest, most glamourous army, it gives me goosebumps every time. My favourite number to sing is “I only have eyes for you”, I feel like it’s the first time that we get to see a softer side of Dorothy.
People may have heard about your recent life saving dash over to fellow show Mamma Mia – how did it come about and did you have any time to prepare?!
Haha! NO! I was just sat in my dressing room chilling out when my Company Manager rang me, so I instantly thought someone was going off in 42nd Street…..little did I know that someone WAS going off but it was in a theatre down the road! I just ran round there, got put into a mic and costume and 18 minutes after I got the phone call, I was onstage!
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with Britain’s got talent?
There’s not much to tell, I auditioned, I got 4 yes’s but then none of my auditions ever got aired. I don’t think my story was good enough if I’m honest, and that’s ok. I’m pretty happy with the way everything has worked out.
What has been your favourite role you have played and why?
Probably Mrs Wilkinson in Billy Elliot. I was second cover in London in 2012/13. That is such a special show and I really hope it comes back, I’d love to play her again one day, it’s such a gritty role.
Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?
Probably Drury Lane as it’s one of the most iconic theatres in the UK and the stage is HUGE!
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
The people you meet. I don’t think there’s any other business in the world where you can create the bonds that you do with your cast mates.
What’s been a funny moment for you on stage? Any mishaps you want to share?
I had quite a bad fall in Mamma Mia! when I was there in 2013, an actual face plant in Under Attack. They say that when you fall on stage in a particular theatre that you’ll work there again….they definitely weren’t wrong there then!!
Are there any shows you recommend we should see on the West End/Broadway/Touring?
42nd Street obviously!! If I’m honest, I haven’t been to the theatre myself in a while and there’s so much stuff I want to see myself particularly Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and Kinky Boots but they’re on the same show schedule as us. They need to bring back midnight matinees for us all! Gosh! Now I’m showing my age! Ha ha!
Has the industry changed since you started, do you think it would be harder to start acting now?
I think everything’s a little more immediate these days. You don’t even need to leave your house to audition sometimes with the introduction of self tapes. Reality TV has shaped the business a little too, it’s a lot easier to appear on TV in some way or another which makes is harder to work your way up the ranks. Though I hope my story has proved that it can still happen that way!
What’s your go to song for auditions or just singing in the shower?!
I love singing “A Way Back To Then” from Title Of Show, the lyrics resonate so much with me. It’s about a girl who’s searching for that same feeling she had as a child when she wouldn’t have a care in the world and she realises that that’s why she performs. I love it.
Is there a role (regardless of gender) you would love to play in a musical?
Fantine in Les Mis is a dream role…..I’d love to sing “I dreamed a dream” every night.