Break A Leg Review Interview: Rachel Dean

Interviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams
(Carole Newman (Karen Carpenter sound-a-like) and Rachel Dean)

There are two shows currently touring the UK at the moment that Break A Leg Review would like to bring to your attention: Voice of the Heart Karen Carpenter Show and Forever in Blue Jeans. Singing her heart out in both shows is the lovely Rachel Dean and we were fortunate enough to catch up with her in her home town of Stafford where Voice of the Heart Show were performing at the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.

So, Rachel – you’re back in your home town, are you excited to be performing here at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre?
Oh, its brilliant to be back, the Theatre has changed a lot since I was last here. As this is my home town I have a lot of people in tonight including my mum and dad!

Do you come back home quite regularly?
I have two homes, really, Southsea is also my home and where I currently live – but I do return to Stafford as often as I can and I have recently been to Lichfield Garrick Theatre (in the audience this time) as my Dad performs with Lichfield Operatic Society and they perform at the Garrick.

Did you always want to be a singer?
I wanted to be a dancer when I was growing up, but I got to an age where I was told it was unlikely I would grow much taller and therefore I wouldn’t be tall enough to be a leading dancer. It was suggested to my parents that they pushed my singing and I had singing lessons.

We gather you are connected with The Lion King in the West End?
Yes, I was front of house at the Lyceum Theatre for eight years, I appeared in Casper the Musical while I was there. I also started to take singing lessons again during my time there so that I didn’t ‘lose it’. I was told by my singing teacher at that time that it doesn’t matter where the stage is that you’re performing on or the size of it, a stage is a stage, that has stayed me throughout my career.

Would you like to return to a musical?
No, I like The Voice of the Heart Show and Forever in Blue Jeans and as long as they’re happy to have me, I’m happy to stay.

Tell us about the two shows…
The show you’re watching tonight (Voice of the Heart) is a tribute to Karen and Richard Carpenter and is a celebration of their music. Carole Newman who sings as Karen tells the audience that she isn’t trying to be like Karen or look like her. The show is relatively new in comparison to ‘Blue jeans’ and started because audience members from ‘Blue Jeans’ commented that during the Carpenters medley that we performed, Carole sounds like Karen and that could be a show by itself. Forever in Blue Jeans is a mixture of many types of music, all of which you can sing along to and we don’t stop – we’re on and off stage all night. Voice of the Heart has challenged my vocal range as I used to sing the middle (the tune) in Forever in Blue Jeans and now I sing the top as Carole is singing the tune.

Finally, Rachel – what would your advice be to anybody wishing to ‘follow in your footsteps’?
I’d say just keep going because if you’re going to do it – you’ll do it!

We’d like to thank Rachel for chatting to us while the team were in the midst of a sound check! The show was fantastic – see review here:

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