Sophie-Louise Dann is one of England's rather well accomplished musical theatre actresses. A graduate of the Arts Educational School she has been plying her profession for over 20 years building up a fabulous international pedigree of work, yet it was only recently with a 2012 Olivier Awards nomination, that her name reached a long overdue wider circle of recognition.
Vocally, Dann is a treat to listen to. An admirer of Stephen Sondheim, the composer recently endorsed her casting as Dot in a wonderfully appropriate Paris located production of Sunday In The Park With George that he had re-orchestrated for a 47 strong orchestra. In a career that has encompassed a broad range of roles, Dann is especially proud of her achievement as Dot.
A sound soprano background offered her an entree into the world of Gilbert and Sullivan with the D'Oyly Carte company and through her career the presence and beauty of her vocal clarity has earned her the acclaim and respect of many celebrated peers, whilst her understanding of the wit of operetta provided a grounding in learning to master the subtle nuances of comedic timing and delivery.
Performing in the London version of New York's Forbidden Broadway, the long running ever evolving satirical pastiche on famous musical theater works, defined her gift for a supremely talented shtick, which was to be deliciously exploited in the West End's 2011 musical premiere of Lend Me A Tenor. It is one of the recent tragedies of Shaftesbury Avenue that this fabulously constructed show only enjoyed such a short truncated run. In what was very much a supporting role Dann played diva Diana Divane, a character whose opinion of her own singing ability far outshone reality. In the show’s second act however, with her number May I Have A Moment, Dann delivered what was quite simply a good old-fashioned showstopper. The song was a whirlwind tour-de-force, demanding that the singer propel herself through snatches of the world's most famous arias (Verdi, Wagner et al are all in there) in two minutes. With her roller-coaster performance defining the technique of "acting through song”, Dann combined excellence with side-splitting hilarity, coming close to earning a standing ovation with 30 minutes of the show still to run. That a performer of this talent can still take time out to teach today's students at her alma mater Arts Ed., suggests that the future of British musical theatre performance is in safe hands indeed.
The autumn will see the actress, reserved by nature and who in her own words likes nothing more than enjoying the peace of her Bexhill-on-Sea life with actor husband Nic Colicos, return to musical theatre comedy as Margaret Jones in Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory. Paul Boyd's show was acclaimed in Belfast and Edinburgh last year, taking a skewed look at vanity, life and (most) religions too, with songs that are as offensive as they are eye-wateringly funny. In a role created by Leanne Jones just before she became too pregnant to act, it will be grand to see Dann give a more age appropriate perspective to Boyd's creation.
But before Molly Wobbly, Sophie-Louise Dann is in residence at London's Crazy Coqs for this week only. Her show From Classic To Coward To Current promises to touch on some of the great moments of her career, as well as some personal favourites. Suffice to say, that in the confident company of Miss Dann, a classy combination of wit and musical excellence is assured.
Sophie can be seen at the Crazy Coqs from July 30 to August 3 and show details can be found here
Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory is at the Hackney Empire from September 20 to October 5 and show details can be found here