Who are Stephanie McKeon and Samantha Barks – Frozen's West End Anna and Elsa?
The pair will be leading the West End production when it opens at Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Two West End performers are about to have the "coolest" gig in London – starring as Anna and Elsa in the London production of Frozen. We give you the DL on Stephanie McKeon and Samantha Barks, who will lead the musical when it opens at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane later this year.
Where did they come from?
Barks: Born in Laxey on the Isle of Man, Barks moved to London to do her A-Levels at ArtsEd. ArtsEd's other notable alumni included Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julie Andrews, Bonnie Langford, Adam Cooper and Martin Clunes.
McKeon: Raised in Dublin, she studied at Trinity College where she read Drama and Theatre. McKeon has joined a long line of successful performers starting out at the university, including Aisling Bea, Jack Gleeson, Ruth Negga and a little-known actor called Andrew Scott.
What have they been in before?
Barks: Barks shot to fame after coming third in I'd Do Anything, before reaching epic levels of success by starring as Eponine in the film version of Les Misérables. Appearing opposite Hugh Jackman and Eddie Redmayne, she earned the Empire Award for Best Female Newcomer. Since then the roles have kept on coming – she appeared in the 2015 Donmar production of City of Angels, and most recently originated the role of Vivian in the world premiere of Pretty Woman.
McKeon: McKeon played the role of Aisling in Ireland's longest-running soap Fair City, before making her West End debut when she originated the role of Natalie in The Commitments, directed by Jamie Lloyd. Since then her other credits include Cynthia Weil in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical in the West End, and she appeared in the Menier and West End productions of Close to You – Bacharach Reimagined.
That's great, how is their singing?
Pretty epic. You can hear McKeon's beautifully tender performance of "She Used To Be Mine" from Waitress below:
Barks on the other hand probably needs little introduction, but we're particularly fond of her performance of "One Day I'll Fly Away" from her 2016 album.
What is Frozen about?
Not sure what Disney-free cave you've been living in for the last decade if you're asking this question, but Frozen follows two sisters – Anna and Elsa – in the fairytale kingdom of Arendelle. Elsa develops magical powers and can turn things frosty with a touch, leading to all manner of problems and spontaneous costume changes. It has a number of iconic songs, including "Let It Go" and "For the First Time in Forever".
When and where does the show open?
The show is coming to London after a big Broadway opening in 2018 (where it still runs). At the moment the production is scheduled to open on 30 October, with tickets on sale now. One of the West End's grandest theatres, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, is getting a massive makeover for the musical.