Interview: Jeremy Taylor, Fiyero in Wicked
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"Always listen and be willing to learn THROUGHOUT your career. When you see a top actor on stage or TV, you may think he/she has reached their goals and learnt everything they need to know… but they are still learning new things too!"
Nearly a year on from being cast as Wicked heart-throb Fiyero, we sit down with Jeremy Taylor to talk about his career so far, stage superstition and what makes a truly wicked character.
What was the first musical you performed in?
The Sound of Music, London Palladium 08-09.
Which is your favourite song in Wicked to perform?
As Long As You're Mine. Despite being a tough one to sing, it’s the one of the first time Fiyero says anything that’s truly from within, without any ego.
What has been your most memorable moment on stage thus far in your career?
Tough one, too many to choose from. Playing Galileo in We Will Rock You over at the Dominion was a bit of a highlight for me… I’ll always remember that first one.
Were you always interested in acting? What inspired you to pursue this career?
Yes I was. I’m not sure anything in particular inspired me to do it… my own interest I guess. I never needed any encouragement to do this; I was always self sufficient.
What advice would you give to young people interested in a career on stage?
To always listen and be willing to learn THROUGHOUT your career. When you see a top actor on stage or TV, you may think he/she has reached their goals and learnt everything they need to know… but they are still learning new things too!
If you were able to perform in any musical, past or present, which would you choose?
I’d love to play the lead guy in Once… although I can play the guitar, unfortunately I can’t play it to the level that’s required for that show. I’ll have to get practising!
Describe your Wicked character in one word.
That’s a very tough question! I might have to divide it into two acts, because he goes through quite a change within the show. Fiyero in Act One would be “self-importance”, and in Act Two would be something like “genuine” or even “heroic”. You’ll have to choose one!
What are the three skills or abilities you believe an aspiring actor/actress needs to have to be successful onstage?
Self-confidence, honesty (with yourself!), and the ability to listen.
Do you have any rituals or habits that help you prepare for an evening on stage?
No, unlike a lot of actors, I’m not the superstitious type… I even have a tattoo of the most unlucky number, 13, to show how non-superstitious I am! I never say 'The Scottish Play', but that’s only out of respect for all my superstitious cast mates! Obviously I do the same routine each night at work, like anyone would getting ready for work, but that’s just for the purposes of efficiency.
Do you have a favourite Fiyero who has performed before you? Did you look to them for inspiration before taking on the role?
I’ve seen Norbert Leo Butz (the original Broadway Fiyero) in an online recording, and I’m always taken with his performance. The role has evolved and changed since then, particularly for the London production, but I still think his was the greatest.
If you were given the chance to change the plot of Wicked, who would you choose: Elphaba or Glinda?
I might change it so that Fiyero runs off with both of them at the end… why not! ;-)
Wicked is all about defying (gravity, of course), and the stereotype of Elphaba as the wicked witch of Oz. Who do you think amongst the Wicked cast is truly wicked, if any?
Well there’s only one answer to this question, and that’s Morrible. She’s worse than the Wizard… not only is she conniving, she has that horrible quality of desperately wanting to be number one as well!
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