My Top 5 Showtunes: Neil McDermott
The actor tells us the musical numbers he couldn't live without
Best known for playing Ryan Malloy in EastEnders, Neil McDermott's theatre credits include Follies (Palladium), La Cage aux Folles (Menier), Shrek (Drury Lane) and The Wind in the Willows (Palladium).
He is currently starring in the UK tour of The Sound of Music which opens at the Churchill Theatre Bromley next week. Buy tickets for The Sound of Music.
We caught up with Neil and asked him: "If you were stranded on a desert island which five showtunes could you not live without?"
1. "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux Folles
I was lucky enough to play Jean Michel alongside Douglas Hodge at the Chocolate Factory and got to witness his Olivier and Tony Award-winning performance close hand. He beautifully captured the soul of a fading drag queen artist. And it culminates in this song where he flexed all his acting muscles to tell his character's story through this song. It and he are brilliant.
2. "Music of my Soul" from Memphis
Okay, so you will begin to realise I am a big fan of acting through song. Chad Kimball totally embodies the character of Huey and the quality of his voice in this song makes it even more authentic, truthful and interesting to watch. I just really like what he does with a song I love.
3. "There's A Sucker Born Every Minute" from Barnum
Michael Crawford was a proper entertainer and this song gives him the opportunity to do just that – entertain. The song requires a high skill level to be believable. It's not the biggest song in the world but the thought process is very quick which is why I like it.
4. "Defying Gravity" from Wicked
It's just a cracking musical theatre song. Rachel Tucker has something really interesting and exciting about her voice which elevates the song to extraordinary. There have been many great versions of this song but if I had to choose one. This would be it.
5. "Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar
I found it pretty hard to pick a final song. It could've been anything Cynthia Erivo has done, or my pal David Thaxton who has the most incredible voice. But I've gone for an obvious one. I mean, much like when a footballer is so good they retire the shirt. They could retire this song and no actor would complain. It's just plain stupendous.