Saturday, July 16, 2011

Angel Reda Dances Toe to Toe with Hugh Jackman

Before sharpening his claws for another Wolverine movie, Hugh Jackman touched down in Toronto to perform his elaborate stage show, Hugh Jackman In Concert, for a limited engagement.

Last night, we attended the event and were charmed by the charismatic and multi-talented star, who carried the show brilliantly with the help of his big band and back-up singers/dancers: Merle Dandridge and Angel Reda.

Prior to attending the show, we were fortunate to have a TorontoVerve moment with Angel.  The LA-based performer graciously shared her thoughts about Hugh, performing and, of course, fashion.

TorontoVerve: What can theatre audiences expect from the show?

Angel Reda: The best way to describe it is 'expect the unexpected'.  The show is never the same each night because Hugh has this amazing spontaneity.

TV: How did you first get involved in the production?

AR: I got a phone call from casting in L.A.  They said they were looking for 'me' (laugh).  I quickly got on a plane for rehearsal and not long after, we opened in San Francisco.  The show was literally put together that quickly.

TV: So tell us what your first meeting was like with Hugh.

AR: He walked into rehearsal and he couldn't be nicer.  He was genuine...a real guy's guy.  He's not like any star I ever met.  I knew he performed in The Boy from OZ, but I had no idea how much he loved theatre and this show clearly demonstrates that.

TV: What's it like to sing back up for the famous film actor?

AR: It's absolutely amazing! I feel very blessed to be a part of the project.  Often what happens in theatre, people are thrown together and you don't know what you're going to get, but from top to bottom, everyone has been so great.  Despite the show being his baby, Hugh graciously shares a bit of the spotlight with Merle and me.  He introduces us as Broadway stars and let's us do our thing.  We also back him in whatever he needs throughout the evening.

TV: The show first debuted in San Francisco and now it's in Toronto until Sunday.   Can you tell us about the show's Broadway on the horizon?

AR: Right now Hugh is busy with many film projects so rumours aside -- no one really knows the future of the show.

TV: Since this is a street style blog, I'm obligated to ask: what is your sense of style?

AR: Well, I obviously love boots...even in the heat of summer.  My night-wear is sexy but classy and I usually pull out a three-quarter length skirt.  My day-wear is funky and alternative, and I'm always showing some leg (laughs).  When I was a teenager, my mom would often encourage a classy black dress and then my father would interject with "you look like a million bucks."  Today, my closet is basically black with a few colours thrown in.  So I'm guessing I took what they said to heart. (laughs).

TV: Did you do any shopping while you were in the city?  If so, what did you buy and where?

AR: Well, I bought these boots (pictured below) at B2.  I wish Browns were in the States.  I just love them.  I'm visiting the Distillery tomorrow - so I plan to pick up some jewellery...something sentimental.  Here's wishing the exchange rate was better right now!

TV: Do you ever have any input on what to wear on stage?

AR: Anna Bingemann, our costume designer, was brought in for our Toronto run.  We were first outfitted in a spicy sequin number for the San Francisco shows.  Anna really wanted us to feel comfortable but great in our clothes.  For my track, I do a bit of dancing so being able to move and kick my legs was a big deal.  She dressed me in a Dolce and Gabbana full skirt that certainly does the trick.  Why not have sexy and sleek with a complete range of movement?  It's quite a treat.

TV: So what's next for you personally and professionally?

AR: I have a one-woman show that I'm still trying to piece together myself.  And I'm going back to L.A. to hunt for more film and TV work and, of course, work on my own recording, which could be associated with my future one-woman show.  I really want it to be a throwback perhaps in the likeness of Michael Buble.  He has definitely rocked the charts, bringing that Sinatra savoir-faire back to life.  There aren't many women who do the big band thing like him -- I simply adore it.  I'm definitely on a mission when I get back home.

TV: Can you tell us about your future one-woman show?

AR: Well, it's still in the early stages so I can't say much about it, but it's a tribute to an iconic starlet who's a huge inspiration for me.

Hugh Jackman In Concert closes tomorrow after its afternoon performance.

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