LLOYD DANIELS is making his musical theatre debut playing the title role in the current UK tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The youngest contestant in 2009’s X Factor, Lloyd got to the final five out of 250,000 entrants and performed in front of ten million TV viewers. He then went on to perform as part of a 56-date X Factor tour.
Musical Theatre Review’s Tal Fox catches up with Lloyd as he reprises his role on the second part of the Joseph tour.
When you began the Joseph tour last year, you were making your musical theatre debut. What was that like and do you feel you have settled into the role now?
Really well, actually, although it’s interesting that when I returned to Joseph after a break I just thought I would get back into my stride, but because we have a new cast, it’s been a bit of a different show. Everyone is so fresh to it, and a lot of the new cast members are graduates, so they’re all very excited about having their first jobs. It’s really energetic and that’s what this kind of show needs.
How did playing Joseph again differ from the last time?
When I went to rehearsals I thought, I’ve got this, it’s totally fine, and then it felt like I had pretty much forgotten everything. It took me a couple of minutes to recognise what I was doing, but it was just getting used to it again. Doing it for the second time, I think because I was so lucky to even get the option of doing it again, I just love the fact that I can put my all into it and have a good time with the tour.
Has it made a difference having Matt Lapinskas (as Pharaoh) on board, as he was also making his musical theatre debut? Plus both he and Danielle Hope (the previous Narrator in the production) knew what it was like taking part in a reality TV show (BBC’s Over the Rainbow and ITV’s Dancing On Ice).
Of course, I think it was a bit less stressful in a sense. Obviously, I could pick up points from both of them. Matt is an incredible actor and he brings that to the stage and Danielle helped me with technique and acting. I think they were the perfect pair to have alongside me on my first experience doing musical theatre. It’s quite nice because they both helped prepare me, I suppose. It’s great to have Matt back with me and I’m really getting on with our new narrator, Amelia [Lily, also a precious X Factor contestant] so it’s good to have her on board as well.
Why do you think Joseph is still such a popular musical?
I think because it’s aimed toward children as well as having all the innuendos for the adults. It’s so bright and colourful. There aren’t many musicals like that, apart from successes like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda the Musical. It’s great that audiences outside London are getting to see it as well. The ticket sales have been brilliant, our first show was completely sold out. That the show has remained so vibrant after more than 40 years seems crazy, but I love that about it.
How have you found the touring schedule, has it been fun taking the show to so many different locations, does it make you closer as a cast?
Yes, it’s a different show every night in every theatre. Different venues have such different sounds and spaces. For each theatre we try to put on the best show that we can and so far so great! It has been amazing. I quite like that on this tour everyone has got together on Facebook and they’re all booking tickets together. The cast has been really enjoying themselves.
There has been some publicity about the change of narrator recently (Marcus Collins pulling out), how did the cast cope with that?
Based on the fact that he wasn’t at rehearsal, it kind of worked in our favour in a sense because we didn’t get used to working with him and then he left. Henry Metcalfe has been staging the show for 35 years now and he just filled in as narrator while he was directing everybody. Personally, I do think it’s better for the storyteller to be a woman in this show, audiences just seem to connect better with a female actor in the role.
How is working with Amelia Lily?
She’s really been settling in. It’s been her first week doing the part and we’ve been discussing the different singing techniques required in a musical and how to look after your voice. In my first few weeks I remember everything was different to the kind of live singing I had been used to.
You probably get asked a lot about X Factor, but you must be grateful for the opportunities it has given you and the fans that now come to the show as a result?
Yes, definitely, a lot of people come down to support me and see the show when we’re in their town. I think I was probably too young when I did X Factor, not physically but mentally. I wasn’t completely ready for it. I didn’t know what I was doing yet. I saw the show on TV and thought that could be me so I went for it. I think if I was to do it now, it would be a totally different situation, and I would be able to learn to control my voice in better ways and just show off a little bit more.
Obviously, I am very grateful, it brought five years worth of work and I got to play Joseph on tour. When you’re that age you think everything is just fun, I was on the biggest TV show at that point in the UK, it was amazing. Obviously people just see you do the show on the Saturday and Sunday and then forget about the rest of the week and think you’re doing nothing, just singing the songs. There’s so much more to it than that and it’s quite stressful, but I learnt that is what this industry is like.
Did you find your experience helpful for the tour?
Definitely, I could go out to audiences of 200 people or 10,000 and give the same performance. It’s been a learning curve.
What are the things you like most about live theatre?
I love the fact that my family can see the show. The reviews have been incredible. Based on the ‘X Factor Lloyd’, I was used to getting bad press in terms of my vocals, but now I feel ready to take on this kind of role. I have learnt how to control my voice and I’ve managed to get nice feedback. In the theatres, they put the reviews up at the stage door so we can choose to read them if we want to and it’s nice to see positive feedback.
Would you do more musicals after Joseph?
I’m not sure. It’s a very different style of singing. I do enjoy it and it would be something I would like to do again, but I’m not sure I’ll go straight back into it after Joseph. When I finish, I will have been doing the show for a year, and the touring does get quite tiring. I am glad that Joseph has been my musical theatre debut though, based on the fact that it is ten to 12 shows a week, and no other musical is like that, so at least I have prepared myself. I would like to do Les Misérables, playing Marius. Maybe that’s a jump too far, but I think if I had a bit more training I could possibly do something like that.
How did you find working with producer Bill Kenwright?
It’s incredible, every time he walks in the room it’s like a breath of fresh air. He’s a really nice man and all he wants is the best for his show. He’s very family based and he wants his shows to be a family show, not just going out, do your thing and get off stage. I do feel like I’m enjoying my job and not just going in and working and I think that’s a lot down to Bill.
Readers may also be interested in:
News – Amelia Lily cast as the Narrator in Joseph tour
In rehearsal – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Behind-the-scenes videos from the Joseph rehearsals can be seen on the Musical Theatre Review YouTube channel.
NB. The article and videos immediately above feature Danielle Hope as the Narrator. Hope is playing the iconic role of Maria von Trapp in a new touring production of The Sound of Music.