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Interview with Lloyd Daniels

11 August 2015 Imogen Greenberg

Lloyd Daniels was just 16 when he became an X Factor finalist in 2009. Since then, he’s followed other X Factor stars in making the transition to musical theatre, with a run in the touring production of Joseph. Now he’s starring in You Won’t Succeed on Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews at the St James Theatre this August. London Calling caught up with him to find out more about the new show, and his ambitions as a musical theatre star.

London Calling: Hi Lloyd! You’re starring in You Won’t Succeed on Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews. It’s a bit of a mouthful...

Lloyd Daniels: It is. I’ve kind of been shortening it to You Won’t Succeed on Broadway... and then explaining later. 

LC: What should people expect from the show?

LD: I think it’s going to be very lively. I think they’re going to be surprised with how much contribution the Jewish composers have had to musical theatre. It’s going to be quite an eye opener. It’s not political in any way whatsoever, but I think it will give a bit more appreciation about how much work goes in from different genres, different types of composers and how much goes in to building a show and making it what it is.

LC: What made you want to be part of the production?

LD: Well my agent contacted me and he told me the name, and I thought it sounded very interesting, something different. I saw Sophie [Evans] was doing it, a fellow Welsh-y, and I thought I’d have good fun doing it. It’s quite a short run and its kind of a chance to go down to London and get some casting directors to see the show and see how much I’m capable of.

LC: Were you familiar with all the songs before rehearsals?

LD: No, not at all, and we haven’t actually started rehearsals yet! I go down to London in about a week’s time, and it’s quite a short rehearsal period, about a week before the show starts at the St James Theatre. The company that’s producing it, Collaborative Artists, are just lovely. I’m excited to meet everyone!

LC: Do you have a favourite song from the show?

LD: I’ve been given a song but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say what it is. It’s a song from the show Smash, and I’m very excited to sing that.

LC: The Tel Aviv production was very Broadway glamour, with the costumes and the big band. Does that help you get in to character?

LD: Completely! There are so many bits from different shows that you can really get in to different characters. I just finished touring with Joseph around the UK, and it was phenomenal but I was Joseph for an entire year. I think it’ll be nice to be different characters from different shows, and I can put my own stamp on it at the same time. It should be quite fun, I’m quite excited!

LC: Have you always been interested in musical theatre?

LD: No, I haven’t. I’ve not been to that many shows but every show I go to I get really excited, I get the buzz off it when I leave. It wasn’t until early last year when I got a phone call from Bill Kenwright that I was considering it at all. I just loved theatre, when I started doing it. I really want to get involved with different theatres. I love the acoustics in different places. I’m used to doing gigs in different nightclubs, and you don’t get that beautiful sound in a nightclub or a festival.

LC: Are the audiences different in theatre?

LD: Completely. Absolutely. Every show is completely different. It depends on the day and everyone’s moods in that moment. It’s crazy, there’s so much energy on stage. I love it, I love the feeling, and it gives me a buzz.

LC: When you were on the X Factor, you were very young. Did that put you off pop music?

LD: Yes, definitely. We would always listen to the radio growing up, and I’ve always watched X Factor since it started, with my grandmother. We’d make a day of it, I’d go round on a Saturday and we’d just have fun. But it kind of made me realise that different artists get pushed in to a certain direction that isn’t necessarily what they’re passionate about. For myself, I wouldn’t want to release something just for the sake of releasing it and getting it in to the charts. That’s not what artists should be about. They should be about what they love, as opposed to what the industry loves. After being on the X Factor, I’ve got a different view on the industry completely. It’s not really what I thought it was, whereas musical theatre seems a lot more real. Even though at the end of the day, everything is a money maker, I’m more passionate about it!

LC: Would you still encourage people to apply to the X Factor?

LD: For sure, I think if you’re going in to it for the right reasons then definitely do it. If you were really passionate about getting a record deal and that side of things, I wouldn’t say go for it. I wouldn’t want anybody to have their dreams crushed or anything. I got really far in to the live shows, I got to week 8, and I didn’t get signed, and that was what I really wanted. I was a bit gutted that I wasn’t going to be releasing my own music. But I think if you go in to it thinking I really want to play some gigs, I want to play to live audiences, I want to better myself and have a platform to start from, that’s a more important way of doing it, and you won’t be let down in a sense.

LC: Do you want to continue working in theatre and the West End?

LD: Yeah, it’d be a dream, an absolute dream. Hopefully I’m going to have a decent musical theatre career.

LC: Are there any roles you’d love to play?

LD: I would love to play Marius in Les Miserables!

LC: Is there anything you’d love to see whilst you’re based in London for the show?

LD: My friend Amelia, who was in Joseph with me, she’s just opened in American Idiot, so I’ve got to see that. My alternate Joseph from my first run, Sean, he’s in Warhorse now so I want to see that. And I really want to see Matilda. It looks amazing.

You Won’t Succeed on Broadway If You Don’t Have Any Jews opens at the St James Theatre on the 25th August and runs until 5th September. For more information, and to book tickets, please see the website.

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