How stagey are you? Cynthia Erivo vs Dean John-Wilson

The first series of our search for theatreland’s stagiest culminates in one final stagey battle

Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia has enjoyed a meteoric rise in theatreland over the last few years with stand out performances in The Color Purple, Sister Act and I Can't Sing!

Next month she will appear at the St James Theatre in Songs for a New World before heading to New York to make her Broadway debut, reprising the role of Celie in The Color Purple alongside Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks.

Dean John-Wilson

Dean was a semi-finalist on Britain's Got Talent in 2008 and has since enjoyed success in the West End with roles in Tim Rice's From Here to Eternity and Here Lies Love at the National Theatre.

He will be appearing in Songs For a New World at the St James Theatre from 22 July – 8 August.

What was the last show you went to see?

Hand to God when I was out in New York. It's absolutely incredible 1

I went to see The Curious Incident… I absolutely loved it, I thought it was fantastic. 1

How many showtunes do you have on your phone/iPod?

Not very many. The only time I'll have them is if I'm working on them. So The Color Purple because I worked on it and I'm working on it again. 0

I have Songs For a New World and Here Lies Love that's about it. 0

What is the stagiest picture you have in your phone?

With Jennifer Hudson in New York.


Taken at 2014 Evening Standard Awards where I performed "Child of the Philippines" from Here Lives Love

2 [Bonus point for stagiest picture of the season]

Who is the stagiest contact you have in your phone?

Probably Patina… Patina Miller 1

I got nothing really. Ooh, maybe Will Burton [Casting Director]? 0

How many of the Strallen sisters can you name?

Sasi, Zizi, Scarlett and Summer. 1

Summer Strallen….. Zizi Strallen…… erm…… Sarah…. no, it begins with an S doesn't it?… Scarlett…….pass.-1[minus point for saying Sarah]

What is your favourite Shakespeare quote?

"If we shadows have offended, think but this, and all is mended…" that whole speech is my favourite. I got to do that speech and it was incredible, just because it's such a cool way to end the show. 1

"To be, or not to be"? 0

Do you have any theatrical superstitions?

Not really… I guess there's certain things I'll do before a show, depending on what show it is. For Midsummer Night's Dream, because I'm flying in for my entrance, so I had to steady myself to breathe, I always had to do it, I had to be completely calm otherwise it wouldn't work. 1

Not really, no. 0

Who would be your ideal dinner date?

I'd love to sit and talk to Patti LaBelle. I think she'd have some good wisdom for me. 1

What, like a date? Or just dinner? Probably John Legend. 0

Tell us a stagey joke

I can't think of any… 0

I don't know any!


What is your earliest theatrical memory?

Five years old, doing the nativity play, that was the first time I sang out loud on my own. I was playing the shepherd. 1

It was a show that I did in Middlesborough, where I grew up. I was 12 and it was the first time I sung in public. I sung Baker Street. 0

And the winner is…


It's a solid performance from Cynthia putting her joint 5th with Tim Driesen, Gerard McCarthy, Noel Sullivan, Charlotte Wakefield, Michael Watson and Michael Xavier. We'll be sad to lose this one to New York when she leaves to perform in The Color Purple.


Not a great turnout from the Here Lies Love star sees him finish our first 'How Stagey Are You?' season at the bottom of the table. Better luck next time Dean!

Coming soon: The How Stagey Are You? Grand Finale – Jenna Russell vs Drew McOnie

Stagey League Table

1. Drew McOnie

10 points

=2. Jenna Russell

9 points

=2. Stuart Piper

9 points

4. Kerry Ellis

8.5 points

=5. Tim Driesen

8 points

=5. Cynthia Erivo

8 points

=5. Gerard McCarthy

8 points

=5. Noel Sullivan

8 points

=5. Charlotte Wakefield

8 points

=5. Michael Watson

8 points

=5. Michael Xavier

8 points

12. Richard Fleeshman

7.5 points

=13. Louise Dearman

7 points

=13. Carley Stenson

7 points

15. Charlie Brooks

6.5 points

=16. Summer Strallen

6 points

=16. Catrin Stewart

6 points

=16. Rachel Tucker

6 points

19. Julie Atherton

5.5 points

20. Matthew Kelly

4 points

21. Lucy Briggs-Owen

3.5 points

22. Dean John-Wilson

2 points