As it enters its 30th year, Les Miserables remains the world’s longest running musical. Suzanne Baum speaks to actress Emma Kingston about life as a member of the show Six months in and actress Emma Kingston, 23, is still pinching herself that she is appearing in the West End production of the iconic show Les Miserables.
“It is a dream show for any performer so when I heard I’d been offered a job in the cast I couldn’t believe it. When I told my mother we screamed in happiness.”
It means a lot for Kingston-who lives in Elstree- to make her parents happy as she believes she wouldn’t have the success she has today without their support. The former Immanuel College pupil was brought up in a musical family and was inspired by her father who used to do a lot of amateur dramatics.
“For as long as I can remember I wanted to perform, I was so passionate about it I could never imagine myself doing anything else,” says Kingston.
“From an early age I was taking piano, singing and dance lessons as I felt it was important to be skilled in all areas.” As part of the ensemble, Kingston gets to play a number of different characters. “I get to explore being a posh lady in France to being a street urchin and I also get to understudy the amazing role of Eponine.”
It was during her course at the North London drama school Mountview academy of theatre arts that Kingston got her first break in professional acting, securing the role of Miss Lynch and understudy Jan in the UK tour of Grease. This led to a part playing a Diva in the UK tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
More recently she has played the role of Vanessa in the Broadway musical In the Heights. “It’s been a crazy time,” admits Kingston, whose favourite musical happens to be Funny Girl. “My hours of work don’t coincide with a normal 9 to 5 job so having a proper social life can be difficult.”
Brought up in a very traditional Jewish family, Kingston’s religion means a lot to her. “Judaism has given me a real sense of identity and my family and friends are so important to me so I always try to find time to see them when I get a day off.”
Contracted with Les Miserable for the next year, Kingston still can’t quite believe she is part of a show that is now the world’s longest-running musical. “In this business you never really know what is around the corner. It’s very scary but exciting at the same time to be involved in such an incredible production.”