It Starts

 I saw my first West End show at 15 (late starter, I know) and haven’t looked back since. The show in question was Grease, at the Victoria Palace Theatre -where Billy Elliot is now playing and has been for a number of years.
I remember everything about that first experience of something that would become very much a part of my life and my personality. When we walked into the foyer I remember not only being struck by the shiny new merchandise and the cast recording playing, but by how beautiful the building was and, something that I still notice today, THAT theatre smell. All theatres have a smell. Well, the older ones at least just have that worn smell, but it’s not unpleasant. It’s the kind of worn smell that gives you an indication of how many years that theatre has been standing there housing these amazing shows that generations before and generations after me will enjoy.
Grease was fantastic and was followed by an impromptu trip to the stage door. I don’t remember many of the actors from this show, although looking at my programme there are performers who were in Grease who I have seen in many productions since. One person I do remember meeting, though, is the lovely Hannah Waddingham. I remember thinking how friendly she was. Myself and my friend were with a couple of family friends, and those friends had got talking to the company manager, whose name I unfortunately can’t remember. He told me something that day that would come true pretty quickly – “Remember the name Hannah Waddingham, she’s going to be huge.” Now, jokes about height aside, Hannah Waddingham is now a very well known name in musical theatre, having played Lady of the Lake both in London and on Broadway amongst other things, and I still make a point of going to see anything she’s in because she was a part of that very first West End Musical experience.
I think everyone remembers their first West End show. Tell me about yours!


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