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Interview with Rachelle Ann Go

10 June 2015 Becca Johnson

Rachelle Ann Go is an actress and singer, who originally hails from the Philippines. She will join the cast of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre from 15th June 2015, performing the role of Fantine. London Calling caught up with her to talk about musicals, pop music and why she loves London.

London Calling: You’re set to start in Les Miserables on 15th June, what are you most looking forward to?

Rachelle Ann Go: Well, Les Mis is one of my dream musicals and so I’m very, very excited to be playing the role of Fantine, and of course, singing one of my favourite songs I Dreamed a Dream. It’s also part of the 30th anniversary, so it’s something big for me!

LC: You’re a well know recording artist in the Philippines, how is performing in musicals different?

RAG: It’s really different! Concerts and pop music, they’re totally different from musicals. The experience of theatre is much bigger, what I get from audiences every single night is magical. Also, the story that I’m portraying, I feel blessed to play a different character than you know, me, Rachelle Ann Go, the singer. It’s hard though, you have to be aware of the other cast members around you and it’s a lot of work.

LC: I’ve heard Fantine was a dream role of yours, what was the journey to you getting cast?

RAG: Ok, well I did a couple of auditions starting in February. The first time, I went in to a room full of the casting directors, the resident director, the musical director, it was crazy! I sang I Dreamed a Dream and Fantine’s Death and they gave me some notes, and then the next thing I know I was in for the final audition. The resident director, Chris Key, met up with me beforehand and we went through the songs and emotions. I’m a pop singer, so I know how to sing a song and belt it out, but doing a character is much harder. After the preparation I sang in front of Cameron Mackintosh, I was so nervous! All I heard from Cameron after my performance was “Good, quality singing. Thank you” and I thought “What did he mean?!” A few weeks later he calls me up and asks me to go to their office, and they told me that they wanted me to play Fantine!

LC: You’ve just finished playing the role of Gigi in Miss Saigon; how do you think this role will relate to the portrayal of Fantine?

RAG: You know, I suppose it’s funny that the main common feature is that they both became a prostitute! So I think in that way I won’t have a hard time playing her. Seriously though, they’re both all about love and sacrifice. They go through a demoralising situation and Gigi is doing it to save herself and Fantine is doing it to save her child. It’s all about sacrifice and giving everything that they’ve got to save something.

LC: Gigi and Fantine are both quite challenging roles; do you have any special preparation routines you go through before a performance?

RAG: Well, vocal warm ups and everything, that’s a given. With me, I really need to concentrate, to give me the strength and energy I need to perform. I have pictures of my family and all the people who have supported and loved me in my dressing room.

LC: Fellow Filipino Lea Salonga has also played the role of Fantine in London, did you ask for any tips?

RAG: Well, she gave me advice even before I even auditioned. I told her I was going to audition, and she told me to read the book first and then worry about the role. Actually, I asked her advice about the revolving stage too. We had a day of just doing the revolving set, it took us hours and we had to practice the whole day. It’s very tricky; just imagine yourself on and off that revolving stage!

Lea mainly told me, read the story because after reading it the way you sing I Dreamed a Dream will be totally different to how you sang it before.

LC: You’ve been living in London for over a year now, what are your favourite things about being here?

RAG: London is one of my dream cities, so I feel so fortunate to be here working and doing what I love. I just love every single detail, I love the buildings and I’m taking the tube every day, which I don’t get to do in the Philippines. I love going to pubs, I love eating out, I love Sunday roasts! I love every bit of it. I want to be here for as long as I can, if Cameron will give me more auditions!

LC: What are your plans for the future, where else do you hope to perform?

RAG: I’ve heard that Miss Saigon may be going to Broadway. It would be great to go to Broadway, why not!

LC: What’s your dream stage role?

RAG: I’d love to do Eponine in Les Mis, and Elphaba in Wicked. But one at a time!

LC: You recorded A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes for the live action film Cinderella. How do you feel about branching out into movies? 

RAG: Oh definitely, that would be amazing. The film was a dream. It’s funny, because in Miss Saigon the song I sang was Movie in my Mind with the lyric the dream I long to find, now with Fantine it’s I Dreamed a Dream and for Cinderella it was A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes. All my songs are about dreams! Movies are definitely one of my dreams…one day!

Rachelle Ann Go will be appearing in Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre from 15th June. Tickets start from £12.50 and are currently booking until March 2016.

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