When she was a little girl, Daniella already knew that she wanted to be an actress. She studied at Tring Park and made her West End Debut in Hotel Follies at the Arts Theatre in 2009. She has appeared in numerous productions since, including Cabaret (UK tour) and Dreamboats and Petticoats (UK tour & West End).
At the time of the interview, Daniella was currently understudying the role of Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet at the Noël Coward Theatre.
Daniella will be performing a cabaret at Lauderdale House on November 20th, alongside Joanna Forest, who she first worked with on the national tour of Dr Doolittle, and fellow MDQ cast member Anthony Strong. Having attended Daniella and Joanna’s last cabaret, I really think you should all get tickets and enjoy a brilliant afternoon with your favourite music performed by these talented young actors!
Daniella has kindly answered a few questions about her life and career. Enjoy!
When did you first realise that you wanted to be an actress?
As soon as I could talk I guess, cliché but it is honestly the only thing I have ever wanted to do!
Did anyone in particular inspire you or have you got any role models?
Beyonce is my hero, she is so professional, an incredible vocalist, mover, a great actress and is just mesmerizing on stage, she takes my breath away with with her energy! I also love Adele, she has such an incredible way of portraying emotion, you believe and feel everything she says.
Where did you train? Please share a memory or two of your time there.
I went to Tring Park from 16-18. I did my A-Levels there and training, it was very hard work and I loved every minute. We did The Wild Party for our final show and I played Queenie, that was my highlight!
You starred as Laura in Dreamboats & Petticoats – first on tour, then at the Playhouse Theatre in the West End. Was this a dream role for you?
Absolutely, it was my first lead role. It’s such a lovely show to be a part of and she is a great character, I love that she is very innocent, yet quite ballsy at the same time and she has a nice journey through the show, it was so much fun to play.
Did this part mark your West End debut? (If so) What was that like for you?
It was not quite my West End debut as I had done Hotel Follies the year before at the Arts Theatre. But it was my West End Debut as a Lead, which was incredible!
You are currently understudying Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet at the Noël Coward Theatre. How would you describe your character?
She is very sassy, as you can imagine being Elvis Presley’s girlfriend! But being the only female she is quite a maternal figure, she kind of guides the boys through the show.
In a nutshell, what is the musical about?
It is based on the day that all the boys (Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Jonny Cash and Elvis Presley) got together in a recording studio and had a jam session brought together by their friend and record producer Sam Phillips.
Why should everyone go and see Million Dollar Quartet?
It’s an awesomely fun evening of Rock n Roll music and the boys are all smoking HOT!
Last week, Kieran Brown performed a song in his Cabaret called Understudy Blues. I assume it can be tough for a talented young actor/actress, being ‘the understudy’? What are your thoughts?
Er well, I guess it can be quite frustrating, especially to go from a bigger role to a smaller one, but that is the nature of the beast. And to me every job is a new opportunity to work with new people and a new creative team. I just don’t believe you can have an ego in this business, you have to move on and take each new project and give it your best shot!
From a music point of view, would you have liked to be around in the late 50s/early 60s?
Absolutely! Dreamboats and MDQ have opened my eyes to a whole new world of music and it’s just the best! Effortlessly cool and simple. I definitetly think I could have rocked it in the late 50s!
What has been your favourite role to date and why?
I was understudy Sally Bowles in Bill Kenwright’s Cabaret and that was such an amazing show to be apart of. I got to go on a fair bit for Sally and that was just my dream role! She is just such a whirlwind of a character, so feisty and raw and absolutely in need of someone/ everyone to love her! I loved every second of playing that part.
What other roles would you love to play and why?
Well one of the first films I ever saw was Calamity Jane and I love Doris Day, so that would be a dream. And Blanche in A Streetcar names Desire, but I’m not old enough at the moment!
What is something embarrassing or unexpected that has happened to you on stage?
When I was in Cabaret the bows at the end of the show were dictated by Wayne Sleep (who played the emcee). If the house was coming down then he would signal that we go on for more bows. So one day, without thinking, I didn’t wait for his signal and just ran on stage… on my own and everyone else decided it would be really funny to leave me out there, solo!!! It was mortifying, so anyway I just did a big old bow and ran off! After I went to Wayne’s dressing room to apologise and he just said, “Darling it was the funniest f****** thing I’ve ever seen!”
If you could go and see any West End musical tonight, which one would it be and why?
I adore Wicked! It’s just so magical and every time I watch it I get goose bumps, sometimes in ‘No Good Deed’ I actually can’t breathe, which is slightly dramatic, I know!
Is there anyone you would you really like to work with?
Yes Yes, I would love to work with Rob Ashford, I have seen quite a few of his productions and I just love his work! And obviously Beyonce!!
I saw you, Joanna Forest, David Dobson and Tim Jackson perform a Musical Theatre Cabaret at the Pheasantry last Sunday – a fantastic night out, you were all brilliant! More cabarets are planned. What is it you enjoy the most about doing cabaret?
Thank you! It’s great to be able to perform some songs that you would not normally be able to sing. And its great to put together songs for us all to do together, to be creative and to be able to work with my friends that I think are just so talented.
What are your long-term ambitions?
To be in a play one day, to do something Tennessee Williams because I love his work, to be a part of an original cast of something and to create the role and to work at the National Theatre!
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Go and watch theatre! Or do Zumba!! Watch some Footy!
And now I’ve got some quick-fire questions for you!
Legally Blonde or The Phantom of the Opera?
X-Factor or Downton Abbey?
Downton Abbey, love a period drama!
Blue or red?
Cinema or DVD?
Cinema, still get excited every time I go!
Twitter or Facebook?
Ooooh hard one, facebook for pictures but the rest of the time Twitter!!
Pop or Rock?
Ahhhh even harder, think my instinct is Pop but I love pretending I’m a rock star!
Gryffindor or Slytherin?
Spring or autumn?
Im gonna go autumn coz it can still be quite warm and then it’s nearly Christmas!
Yes I have two big dogs – Benni and Herb.
Adele or Jessy J.?
Oh man! Love JJ but Adele is just the king of everything!
And anything else you might like to add, maybe a message to your fans?
Well if I have any fans, hiya! And Peace! x
Thank you very much for this great interview, Daniella. I wish you all the best for your future projects!
Follow Daniella on Twitter: @daniellabowen1
Interview by Sandra Palme (Twitter: @LondonTheatre2)
30th October 2012