Cedric Neal on Songs for a New World, Back to the Future and upping his self-tape game
The musical star talks about his imminent projects
Cedric Neal has just kicked off his time in A Christmas Carol at the Dominion Theatre but that's only one of a plethora of exciting roles coming up. After a titanic appearance in Songs for a New World at The London Palladium, Neal is set to return to the show for a four-week run early next year with socially distanced audiences.
He chats to us now as part of our fresh new Curtains For Theatre Without You campaign.
1) The reaction to Songs for a New World so far has been nothing short of historic – how does it feel getting to play these parts in the West End for a full month?
The reaction to "SFANW" has been historic, comforting, encouraging and appropriate. That's not being "puffed up" or braggadocious- that's being real. The sentiment of this piece is, that "one moment," has been experienced universally this year. There's not a person alive that can't relate to "HOLD ON...WE'LL BE FINE." This show is timely and the message is timeless.
2) What, for you, has been the most striking part of 2020, in terms of the ways the theatre community has adapted and been remoulded?
The most striking part of 2020 is the resilience and immediate innovations of theatre creators and supporters of those in the industry. Lambert Jackson Productions has led the way with their various virtual productions, and it caused me to up my game. My self-tape game is on point now.
3) Why do you think Jason Robert Brown's show has resonated with audiences like never before this year?
(See answer to question #1)
4) Straight from A Christmas Carol into Songs for a New World as well – two bumper shows – how does it feel being able to provide this sense of musical joy for audiences for the coming months?
I've been one of the few to have been blessed to consistently work during this pandemic. Initially there was a foreign guilt. I had/have so many peers and friends who haven't worked since March, and have no idea when they will again. I resisted posting about bookings at first, but then I got messages from FRIENDS basically saying, "We need your good news...It gives us HOPE." Any opportunity I get to "tell the story" from here on will never be taken for granted.
5) And THEN you are into Back to the Future – what are you looking forward to most in terms of revisiting the musical?
What can I say about "Back To The Future?!" I am so ready for more of the world to experience this show. We had our world premiere at the Manchester Opera House on a Thursday, and were shut down that Saturday night. We never got to celebrate this perfect and wonderful addition to the legacy that is Back To The Future. Especially those of us that have been associated with the piece from initial workshops. I'm excited to get back to Back To The Future.