This week on Throwback Thursday we speak to Jason Manford whose was most recently seen on tour in Kander and Ebb’s Curtains around the UK.
1) What was your first ever show that you did as a kid, and what was it that got you into the theatre world?
I guess it would have been at school. I was in the school plays of Annie & Oliver. I seemed to play a scruffy orphan quite a lot.
My first professional show was Pirelli in Sweeney Todd at The Adelphi Theatre. I was only covering for another actor over the summer but it was a wonderful role in an Olivier Award sinning production so couldn’t have asked for a better start really.
2) What is your process each night when you get into character for a show?
I guess it depends on the role. Oddly quite a few of parts I’ve had haven’t needed to be ready for beginners (Leo Bloom: Producers , Frank Cioffi: Curtains) so I spend most of my time listening to the show, maybe practising a few lines and singing my first song.
On ‘Curtains’ I used to do a little pre-scene in my dressing room where I’d imagine my Detective character getting the phone call to go to the theatre to investigate the murder. But it was more out of boredom than preparation haha
3) When you were on tour in Curtains, what was your favourite tour venue to perform in and why?
That’s a tough question, I have so many favourites for different reasons. I love playing my home town of Manchester naturally, Liverpool has a special place in my heart as does Glasgow. I think it’s the people as well as their just fun cities to hang out in all week.
On Curtains though, it would have to be our West End run. It was so much fun to be in London for Christmas at a packed theatre full of love and laughs.
4) Tell us about one of your best/funniest memories on stage?
I have a lot of funny moments on stage but I don’t want to drop anyone else in it!
I think the ones that stick out for me are those times where you get yourself into a mess and then back out of it. Like the time I forgot to propose to Carrie Hope Fletcher’ Truly in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and just got in the car and flew off!
Or when I had forgotten Leo Bloom’s “Blue Blanket” in The Producers & had to dash off stage mid-scene to get it otherwise the next scene wouldn’t make any sense! Thankfully I was with the greatest Max Bialystok of them all, Cory English who ad-libbed his way through it and the audience didn’t have a clue.
5) How are you keeping creative in lockdown?
I do a weekly stand up comedy show called ‘The Weekly Stand Up’ Which means I’m writing every week to a schedule and the show goes out live on a Thursday night. That’s been great fun.
6) What three things can we always find in your dressing room? I.e Lucky charms…things that help you on stage…blue m&ms..
I’m pretty boring really although I did tour a tv and PlayStation on the last tour I did. I never get a chance to play games at home and so that felt like a real treat.
7) What is your favourite Cast Album to listen to right now?
In the car my kids have Grease, The Greatest Showman and Mamma Mia on loop. I love anything with Mandy Patinkin.
8) If your life were a musical what would it be called, and why?
At the moment it would be Groundhog Day for obvious reasons!