All Star Productions originally presented the UK premiere of It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman in March 2014 at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre on the London Fringe, and its success has meant the production will take up residence from 10-21 February 2015 at the Leicester Square Theatre for a limited run of just ten performances.
CRAIG BERRY plays Superman/Clark Kent in the musical which has a score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams and a book by David Newman and Robert Benton.
The actor’s other theatre credits include: Miracle On 34th Street (UK tour); A Tale of Two Cities (Charing Cross Theatre) and he was a featured soloist in Words and Music (Sadler’s Wells’ Lost Musicals). His television credits include being a finalist in Musicality (Channel 4, 2004).
Musical Theatre Review caught up with Craig during rehearsals.
How are rehearsals going?
Rehearsals are going brilliantly, it’s so good to get back to work on this show. Everyone is loving it!
It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman was a big success at Ye Olde Rose and Crown. What do you think it was about the show that made it a success?
It’s a great fun show, with lots of laughs and lots of heart, it’s also an iconic brand that everyone is familiar with. Every single person left the theatre thoroughly entertained and ready to spread the word.
What has it been like having a chance to revisit the show for the transfer and reuniting with many of the same cast members, including your Lois, Michelle LaFortune.
It’s so good to get the old gang back together! We only have four new cast members – who are all brilliant, and the same fantastic creative team. So everyone has so much love for the show, and for each other. None of us were done with Superman when the run finished last time, so it’s just incredible we’ve gotten this transfer!
I imagine you have had to make changes to the production with it moving to a bigger space?
Not so much the additional space, though that is a blessing, it’s more the chance to do the stuff we wanted to first time around, and the bigger audience to reach, viewing from a different angle…
Is it fun playing an out of this world, comic strip super hero, does it give you a certain freedom as a performer? Do you ever get kids coming along who are still in awe of the character?
It’s incredible, every boy’s dream. It certainly was mine! It’s so cool bringing this character to life, this is some kids’ first ‘real’ introduction to Superman, and that’s a real honour.
The style is very different from anything else I’ve ever done. Some of my friends’ children still call me Superman instead of Craig.
Have you a favourite scene or song in the show?
That’s a tough one, but I’d have to say the climactic battle song ‘Pow! Bam! Zonk!’ floods me with joy every single time I do it.
According to the web, 16 actors have played Superman, have you got a favourite?
Definitely Christopher Reeve, he’s one of my heroes as both himself and as Superman. He’s the Superman of my youth, and an incredible human being and role model.
Were you a fan of Superman when you were growing up?
I was, and am, a massive Superman fan. So I feel a big responsibility to do the character justice.
Where are you from originally? Did you go to drama school?
I’m a North London boy, born and bred. No, I never went to drama school, I wanted to, but personal circumstances made that impossible.
Tell us how about your first big break in the industry, your biog mentions the TV series Musicality and a particular production of The Producers at the Wyllyotts Theatre in Potters Bar (where you have done several productions).
Musicality was an incredible learning experience for me. It was a TV talent search which I was in through to the finals in 2004, and it gave me the chance to spend around a month working full time with some really big names in the industry. But it wasn’t until 2012 that I turned pro. I was lucky enough that a fantastic agent was in the audience when I got to play Max Bialystock in an incredible regional production of The Producers, and more fortunate that when I contacted her regarding representation, she remembered me.
What has been your favourite performing experience so far?
I am incredibly grateful for every chance I get to perform, I feel very lucky and have loved everything I’ve done professionally. But being such a huge Superman fan, last year’s production at the Rose & Crown was a massive highlight for me.
What’s next on the agenda?
I have a few things I’m working on, but nothing immediately following this. I’ll be concentrating on hitting the audition trail again.
Your Linked In profile suggests you are a successful businessman as well as performer, is that the case?
My background is corporate sales, and yes I was successful as an account manager, but it got to the point that my heart wasn’t truly it. Performing is what I feel I was meant to do.