At the time of the interview David Shannon was about to return to the Queen’s Theatre as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables from Tuesday 3rd April to Saturday 16th June, 2012.
David has appeared in numerous concerts and musicals, and also has many recordings to his name as well as film and television appearances.
David took time out from his busy schedule this week to answer some questions about himself and his career. I hope you enjoy reading what he has to say.
You went to school and grew up in Ireland. At what age did someone realise that you had a talent for singing?
My mother used to do am drams so I got involved with them as a kid and sung in the choir as a boy soprano.
How did you develop your talent for singing when most young boys would be more interested in sport and other activities?
To be honest I didn’t. I played sports and still do!
In which show was your first stage appearance and at what age?
I think it was The Desert Song at the age of about 11. I still have my stage directions written on the back of the show poster.
I understand that your first professional break came at the age of 21 when you were cast in a touring production of Les Miserables. Could you tell us how the audition process unfolded?
I just went in for an open audition in Dublin ! That simple!
You have toured and performed in concerts and musical theatre around the world with several productions. What are your likes and dislikes about touring and travelling?
Hate, hate, hate living out of a suitcase and miss my wife, but I love seeing places I wouldn’t normally visit.
How have the audiences differed in the various countries?
The vibe is always different, every audience is different no matter what the country, but Japan was the most polite
You were part of the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert at The Royal Albert Hall. What are your favourite memories from that fabulous occasion?
I’d left musicals at the time to work with a band so it got me excited about shows again. I got back into it and it was amazing to be around all that talent.
You have performed quite often in Christmas Galas. What is it that you like most about performing in the festive season?
You can’t beat a good Christmas tune, I love Christmas!
You have numerous West End credits to your name, and not least that you have played the parts of Raoul and The Phantom in Phantom of The Opera. How did playing Raoul first prepare you for playing the role of the Phantom?
Well I learned a lot from watching Earl Carpenter, my favourite phantom, and it’s great to know both sides of the journey of the show.
You have performed in so many concerts
over a number of years, is there one in particular that stands out as being magical?
I loved performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra doing “80 years of Abbey Road” but to be honest I adore working with orchestras. It’s so inspiring to hear music on that scale.
Starring in the West End is surely the pinnacle of any actor’s career. How much do the role and the venue assist in helping an actor reach his peak or doesn’t it matter where you perform?
I think the goalposts always move and they have to, I always want to learn and gain new experiences, some of my favourite work has been in tiny theatres.
You are about to return to the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre, having played the role two years ago. What do you love most about the character?
It’s a wonderful journey to play as an actor and just thrilling to sing.
With so many brilliant actors performing the role over many years, how do you try to portray your own interpretation of the part?
I don’t set out to be different, better or worse than anyone else in the role; every actor brings himself to it, and it’ll be great to try new things with the new cast.
You have played the two adversaries in Phantom of The Opera, would you like to perform as Javert in Les Miserables?
Would love to, originally I wanted to go up for Javert not Valjean.
You are about to perform alongside Una Gibney with your song Language of Love, as you compete to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. How has the song evolved and what would it mean to you to represent Ireland?
Well we never met until the first day in the studio so it’s grown a lot from day one. We got on well and our voices just seemed to blend so well so it’s been very easy, and it would be great to represent Ireland, as it’s my home
Where can people listen to your song and when does voting take place?
You can listen to it on YouTube and it should be on iTunes soon, voting happens on Friday night and you can phone the Northern Ireland number to vote on the night and watch the live performance on the Late Late Show on the RTE website. We need all the votes we can as we are up against Jedward who have a huge following. Language of Love on YouTube
Away from the stage what do you like to do to chill out?
Bit of a DIY enthusiast and anything that involves my wife.
Any message for your supporters?
Yes, thank you and please, please vote on Friday and see you all at the Queens Theatre!
You can visit David’s website at www.davidshannon.co.uk
Wednesday 22nd February, 2012