Tag Archives: Dan Burton

Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre – 11th July 2015

28 Jul

Have you ever sat in an auditorium watching a show realising you are witnessing a performance that will go down in theatre history? It’s very rare but when it happens it makes for a truly sensational experience full of wonder, astonishment and joy.

If you want to know what the above feels like all you have to do is go and watch Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre. The show opened in Chichester to rave reviews and continues to wow audiences night after night ever since it transferred to London.

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Leading the cast is Imelda Stanton as Rose. This may sound very cliché but there really are not enough superlatives to describe her performance. Imelda Stanton does not play Rose, she becomes Rose. And she does so with an amazing intensity. The moment she appears in the auditorium making her way to the stage Imelda Stanton is THERE. She truly acts and sings her heart out – with Imelda Stanton you don’t get 99%, it’s 100% from start to finish. Her Rose is feisty and calm, loud and quiet, sad and happy, angry and funny – it’s a full on rollercoaster of emotions mixed with great singing and the most tremendous stage presence you can think of.

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Lara Pulver shines as Louise and makes this production all the more memorable. Louise’s transition throughout the show is stunning to watch and Lara Pulver’s portrayal is charming and truthful.

Peter Davidson is a convincing Herbie even though he sometimes struggles to keep up with the acting force that is Imelda Stanton. A special mention for Dan Burton’s wonderful Tulsa. His „All I need is the girl“ is yet another highlight in this show. Not only is he a brilliant dancer, he also shows off great acting skills and a marvellous singing voice. A true triple threat.

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The rest of the cast are without exception outstanding. There is no weak link and it is a joy to watch such a talented group of people perform together.

Combine a fantastic cast with a great score, well done choreography and a beautiful set and you have a remarkable show that will stay in your head for weeks to come.

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If there ever was a must see musical in the West End – this is it! Or in other words: It really is Rose’s turn.

Gypsy is playing at the Savoy Theatre until 28th November. For more info and to book tickets visit: http://www.gypsythemusical.uk/

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10 Questions with Dan Burton

20 Sep

Dan Burton studied at Laine Theatre Arts. His theatre credits include Nikos/Padamadan in Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre), Bernardo in West Side Story (National Tour), Chicago (Cambridge Theatre) in which he understudied and played the role of Amos Hart, Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), Miss Saigon (National Tour) and Barraclough and understudy Lockwood and Gilbert in Betty Blue Eyes (Novello Theatre).

At the moment Dan is playing the part of Joey Pesci in the West End hit musical Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre. He is first understudy for the lead part of Frankie Valli and has played the part to rave reviews on numerous occasions.

What was the first role you ever played (school, drama class…) and how old were you?
The first role I ever played when I was training was the Cat in Honk, lovely piece. I was 16.

What was the first show (play or musical) you saw on stage? And what show have you seen recently?
The first show I ever saw was Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria. That’s what inspired me to want to perform. I recently watched Sweeney Todd, a classy lovely production. Theatre at its best.

If you had not become a performer what profession would you have chosen?
My career adviser in my G.C.S.E year laughed at me when I told her what I wanted to do as a career and I was told to get a proper job,  as no one can earn a living in theatre… interesting how that turned out …! So I’ve never had any aspirations to do any other profession.

Out of all parts you’ve played so far which one has been your favourite and why?
I’ve been very lucky to have played so many different parts so far in my career. I would have to say playing Bernardo in West Side Story. To dance Jerome Robbins original choreography at least once in my career was a real high – amazing piece, and different. (followed by a close second by Frankie Valli but I’m biased as it’s current )

What’s your dream role?
My Dream Role… well, I had two. I wanted to play Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever and Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. So one down one to go!

Who would you love to work with?
I have and would love to work with Steven Mear again. He is, apart from being a lovely man, a great choreographer and dancer and everyone in their career should work with this man at some point if they are serious about wanting to dance a quality and skillful level!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Wow, in 10 years… I have always said I would love to play the Phantom when I’m older. But who knows, I love seeing what new adventures pop up from year to year . Who knows…

What music do you listen to?
I love all sorts of music. I listen to classical usually before going on for Frankie Valli. It chills me out. But I love 80’s music, bands like Bon Jovi, Whitesnake , Foreigner , Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, Motown, Soul… I appreciate all music as long as it’s crafted well.

What are your pet peeves?
I don’t like rude people in general. If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone say nothing. I have no time for fools. It actually takes more time and effort to be unpleasant about someone than to be or nice or even neutral. I always let people treat me how they want. If they are rude I’ve given them a chance to be how they want with me. And I don’t need negative people in my life. Life’s too short !

If there was a movie about your life, who should play you? And it can’t be yourself!
It would have to be Al Pacino!! He’s a legend!!

Thank you Dan for taking the time to answer the questions!

To find out more about Jersey Boys and to book tickets go to http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/. You can find the current Frankie Valli schedule in the cast section. Dan’s scheduled dates as Frankie are posted there.

Follow Dan on Twitter @danburton22

Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre – 18th August 2012 (matinee)

21 Aug

A lot of you are aware that Jersey Boys is one of my favourite shows of all time. I have been watching the London production pretty much from the start and a trip to Jersey is usually on the agenda when I fly over to London.

After reviewing the new cast just a week after they had started in the show I thought it was time to look at the show again and give my views on the Jersey Boys and Girls after they have been performing on stage together for about 5 months.

On this occasion the cast was led by Jon Lee as Frankie Valli. Now, I admit I have always been a Ryan girl when it comes to Frankie Valli in this show. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy seeing a different Frankie now and then. I adored Jye Frasca’s Frankie and loved both Michael Conway and Dan Burton in the role when I saw them earlier this year.
The problem with Frankie Valli is that the part itself is very one-dimensional for a lead role. The character hardly develops throughout the show. So to make the part interesting the actor playing Frankie needs to have a great stage presence, a brilliant voice and a ton of charisma. I think Jon Lee does fine in the acting department but just doesn’t have the voice for this part. He struggles with the high singing parts and often cuts notes short (the last one can be interpreted as a personal take on the songs but to me it sounds as if he simply can’t hold the notes long enough). And Frankie is a vocally demanding part so it’s no crime to have a problem with those incredibly hard vocals – only if you are alternate Frankie Valli you should be able to deliver the falsetto bits or – if your voice just isn’t suited to that – just adapt the singing accordingly. Jye Frasca did just that by singing parts of the songs just that tiny bit lower and it worked perfectly.
I know a lot of people really rate Jon Lee’s Frankie but I have to say personally his take on the role bores me. He doesn’t manage to interest me in anything Frankie says or does. So I have to say his Frankie just isn’t for me.

Ben Wheeler was on for Tommy at this show. What can I say? He was my very first Tommy back in 2008 and I completely adore his take on the role. Ben’s Tommy is the perfect mix of flirty and dangerous and with him no show is ever exactly like the other. Ben keeps changing little bits of his performance which is wonderful for a returning visitor to the show. You can see that he does everything to keep the part fresh and interesting. I love Jon Boydon’s and Mark Isherwood’s Tommy and also loved Glenn Carter in the part but if I had to choose my number one Tommy of all time Ben would definitely win the gold medal. His take on the part is diverse and I just need to look at him to know what Tommy is thinking at that exact moment.

Bob Gaudio is played by Matt Wycliffe who has taken over from Stephen Ashfield in 2011. I admit Stephen’s Bob will always be impossible to top for me but Matt has definitely made the part his own. He has a brilliant voice and I love how his Bob goes from that slightly insecure boy to the confident man who stands up against Tommy. He manages to portray the change in Bob Gaudio’s behaviour and personality perfectly. Plus he comes across as the nice boy next door which makes the audience fall in love with him straight away.

Eugene McCoy’s Nick Massi is funny, there’s no doubt about that. And his take on the part has grown on me by now. I still prefer Nick to be more reserved but then I am definitely biased because I adored Philip Bulcock’s Nick and no one will ever manage to convince me that there is a better way to play that part. The audience clearly loves Eugene which is wonderful. He has his own unique way of playing the part and I do enjoy seeing him on stage. When I want to be reminded of how Nick should be played in my opinion I can always watch the show when Mark Isherwood is on for the part as his Nick is almost similar to Philip’s Nick.

Nicola Brazil does a wonderful job as Mary Delgado. Her Mary is feisty yet vulnerable at the same time. Trina Hill has really grown into her role. Her Francine is less tough now and I really enjoy her take on “My boyfriend’s back”. I’m still not happy with Howard Jones as Bob Crewe. In my eyes he is just wrong for the part and doesn’t look comfortable on stage. His Bob Crewe is played for the jokes and nothing else and lacks the authority and dignity the character needs (and deserves) to have.  Dan Burton has to be the most confident performer in history (I’m exaggerating here but that’s what it looks like). His Joey Pesci was brilliant right from the start and he’s managed to become even better over the past months. And he never shows the slightest hint of nerves.
I still love having Tee Jaye back in the show. His Barry is wonderfully entertaining and his facial expressions are priceless. Special mention for Mark Isherwood who was on for Donnie at this show. No matter what part he plays he always manages to draw my attention to him. The man oozes charisma on stage no matter if he’s playing Tommy, Nick or the third guy on the left in the ensemble.
The rest of the cast did a great job. It’s especially nice to see how much Chris Gardner has developed as Hank in the last 1,5 years. Mark Carroll was on for Gyp de Carlo and while I do prefer to see Stuart in that part Mark did a great job.

What’s left to say? I love the Jersey Boys! I have seen casts come and go over the years and I will always have my favourites in all the different parts. But the show itself remains one of the slickest productions I have seen in my 15+ years of theatre going.

Go and see Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com/.

Jersey Boys new cast as of March 2012

13 Apr

Now in its fifth year Jersey Boys is still pulling in the crowds at the Prince Edwards Theatre. Having been a regular at this show since 2008 I have seen casts come and go. And while it is often sad to see cast members leave it’s also exciting to have new performers find their own take on a role.  It keeps a show fresh and interesting for both the people involved and the audience (especially the returning visitors).

Not too long ago I was asked which cast I have liked best at Jersey Boys so far. After thinking about this for a while I came to the conclusion that it was a tie between the second and third cast. I honestly can’t decide between those two with people like Philip Bulcock and Ashley Hale leaving after year 2 and Michael Conway and Jon Boydon joining when the show went into its third year. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like cast number 1 and 4 though. Each cast has been special in their own way.

And now there’s cast number 5 with a few new faces (and the return of an oh so familiar face).

The cast is still led by Ryan Molloy as Frankie Valli (or Jon Lee at certain performances) and although he has been in the show since day one Ryan still delivers a flawless performance. His Frankie connects perfectly with the other 3 main Jersey Boys and his vocals are nothing but amazing. He makes singing those high notes look completely effortless.
Jon Boydon, Matthew Wycliffe and Eugene McCoy also remain with the show. Jon and Eugene are now in their third year in the show while Matthew has just started his second year as Bob Gaudio. All three give strong performances and while Eugene’s portrayal of Nick will never be completely to my liking he definitely has made the part his own and I can understand why he is a favourite of the fans. Matthew has grown a lot in his role throughout the first year. His Bob Gaudio is determined and sincere with a hint of cheekiness. His voice is strong and clear and both Cry for me and Oh what a night have the audience captivated.
Jon Boydon’s Tommy is a bully. You don’t want to get into the way of that guy. And while I’ve always loved his dangerous Tommy I still miss the flirty and engaging side of Tommy in his portrayal. In my eyes Tommy is one of the most difficult characters in the show acting wise – it’s hard to find a balance between being dangerous and flirty.

A new member of the Jersey family is Dan Burton who plays Joey Pesci. I have seen Dan in a few other shows and he always comes across as being totally in control of the character he plays. And he makes no exception with Joey Pesci. I had the feeling he had been playing the part for years when I first saw him (which was in the first week of the new cast). His Joey is lively and a bit geeky and he catches the humor of the role perfectly.

Nicola Brazil joins the cast as Frankie’s wife Mary Delgado. The problem with Mary is she has to show off a certain ammount of  arrogance but at the same time she has to be likable. Nicola does a great job in juggling those two characteristics. And I don’t remember the last time I have seen Ryan so engaged in the argument between Mary and Frankie just before My eyes adored you. Him and Nicola had me on the edge of my seat in that scene.

Howard Jones is playing Bob Crewe, the producer of the Four Seasons. I admit it must be hard to capture that character on stage. You have to find the right balance between the humor and the sincere and highly important figure Bob Crewe was in the history of the Four Season. As much as you may think “That guy is weird!” while watching the show you also have to understand how influential he was and what a big part he has played in the success of the band. Both Simon Adkins and Wayne Smith have managed to portray Bob Crewe perfecly – each in his own way and each without turning the character into a walking joke. Sadly Howard hasn’t achieved that yet. His Bob Crewe is in my opinion rather one dimensional and he is lacking a connection with the four main guys. He doesn’t manage to deliver the lines properly resulting in a lot of the witty punch lines being lost. He might just need time to settle into the part but the fact that both Simon and Wayne had the part down to a tee right from the start makes me rather pessimistic in this case.

Trina Hill has taken over as Francine after being a swing in the show for the past year. She has played the part on several occasions already so she technically isn’t new to it. She sings the only female song in the show (My boyfriend’s back) with a strong voice and her portray of Francine is solid. Compared to her antecessors she is lacking a bit in vulnerability. I prefer Francine to be a bit more fragile and Trina’s Francine seems rather tough throughout the show.

Returning to the show after a one year break is Tee Jaye as Barry Belson. I’ve never really warmed to Jo Servi’s Barry so to say I’m happy about Tee Jaye’s return would be an understatement. He manages to make me laugh while giving his character the needed amount of dignity and seriousness. Jersey Boys has regained so much with this new/old addition to the cast.

Staying with the show are Charlie Bull as Lorraine, Mark Carroll as Donnie/Knuckles, Chris Gardner as Hank, Stuart Milligan as Gyp DeCarlo, Jake Samuels as Norman Waxman and Swings Ben Wheeler, Michael Conway, Mark Isherwood and Lucinda Gill.
Joining as Swings are Edd Post, Ben Jennings and Gemma Whitelam.
Whilst I haven’t seen any of the new swings yet I was lucky enough to catch Mark Isherwood as Donnie lately (a part he only started covering a short while ago) and I can honestly say I have never been captivated by that part in such a way. It was almost impossible to look away from Mark whenever he was on stage. The tiny details he adds to his characters are simply amazing.

Jersey Boys remains one of my favourite shows in the West End. And although I miss several past cast members dearly I enjoy seeing new takes on the different parts in the show. After all that’s one of the things that make live theatre so interesting.

Jersey Boys is showing at the Prince Edward Theatre. For more info and to book tickets please visit http://www.jerseyboyslondon.com.