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20 Questions with ... Faye Tozer

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Faye Tozer, who rose to fame as a member of 90s pop band Steps, is currently starring in new musical The Tailor-Made Man at the Arts Theatre in London

Where did you grow up?
Dunstable, Bedfordshire

Where do you live now?
In the North East with my husband and little boy - I've been there for four years now.

What made you want to become a singer?
I started dancing when I was three and singing came hand in hand with the shows and competitions I did back then. I sang with my school band and it's just something that's always been a part of my life.

What else might you have done professionally?
If I couldn't be on stage I would have persued something behind the scenes - make-up, costume, set design. At school I was seriously thinking of doing a course in wig making.

Who were your early heroes?
David Bowie, Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper. All very quirky and dramatic.

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
I saw Blood Brothers with school when I was 12. It really moved me - I loved how it made me laugh and cry and sent shivers down my spine.

And the last?
I watch productions with a different eye these days as it's something I'm so involved with. I recently saw Jersey Boys and was really very impressed with the quality of cast, the slickness of the show and songs. It was excellent.

First big break?
Aside from Steps I have to thank Bill Kenwright for my debut musical theatre show Tell Me on a Sunday back in 2004. I haven't looked back since.

Best piece of advice you've been given?
Just be yourself.

Faye Tozer in The Tailor-Made Man

What's your favourite film?
The Royal Tenenbaums.

And your favourite musical?

Who are your dream three dinner guests?
Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Graham Norton.

What's your favourite anecdote from your time in Steps?
We were in LA filming a show for Disney and one evening we met Englebert Humperdink's son. He invited us back to his house (originally owned by Jane Mansfield) and we swam in her infamous heart shaped pool. So 'Hollywood'!

Was it emotional getting back together last year?
It was extremely tough filming the reunion show. It opened up old wounds but felt like therapy at the same time. It was a real roller coaster but we were overwhelmed by the response and what a year we had.

Why did you want to get involved with this production?
I was desperate to tread the boards again as soon as possible and when this piece came up I jumped at the chance. I grew up watching black & white movies and love the era as it was so glamorous. This piece allows me to explore and fantasise what it could have been like. So much fun!

Have you done a lot of research into the silent movie period?
Very much so. We were given Show People (which is documented in our show) to watch on the first day of rehearsals. Luckily these days everything is at our fingertips online so it's easy to source images and biographies etc. It's so fascinating.

Could you tell us a bit more about Marion Davies?
Marion Davies was a silent movie actress and film producer. She was well loved and well known for hosting lavish parties but was also an alcoholic. She was the best friend of William Haines and Jimmy Shields and the mistress of media mogul William Randolf Hearst whom she was with from the age of 15 until his death.

Do you think the story still resonates in modern day Hollywood?
The story of William Haines being openly gay and being asked to hide it - refusing to do so and being sacked by the film studio - is such an interesting subject. There are constant rumours about movie stars these days. I do believe that even today people keep their sexual preferences a secret to optimise their chances for the best roles and to have maximum likeability from the widest audiences. Society has come a long way but it seems there will always be prejudice and pigeon holing.

Which other theatre roles are top of your wish list?
I used to have a wish list but alot of those shows aren't around anymore. I get excited about new theatre, pieces that aren't so commercial and creating something new rather than trying to fill someone else's shoes. I like the excitement of not knowing what's next.

If a Steps song comes on at a wedding, do you dance?
It depends how drunk I am!

The Tailor-Made Man continues at the Arts Theatre until 6 April


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