Call Answered: Frances Ruffelle: "Les Misérables" + "Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York" at Green Room 42
One of my all time favorite musicals is Les Misérables, so how excited was I when, "On My Own," I got asked to interview the show's original "Eponine" (in both London & Broadway), Frances Ruffelle! Frances returns to The Green Room 42 with her show Frances Ruffelle Live(s) in New York, an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma that's kept "Frankie's" ardent fans coming back for more since she created the iconic role of "Eponine" in Les Misérables and turned "On My Own" into one of Broadway's most beloved standards.
Frances Ruffelle Live(s) in New York will play The Green Room 42 (570 10th Avenue, 4th Floor of the Yotel)on Saturday, December 9 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I was possibly born in a trunk! My Mother is Sylvia Young of the famous British Theatre School. I grew up going to the theatre and living around creative work and I don’t remember not wanting to perform.
2. On December 9 you are returning to NYC to perform at The Green Room 42 with your show Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York. What are you looking forward to most about this show? I love performing my one woman shows…I also think I get quite excited about surprising the audience with my unusual theatre piece. The audiences usually expect a cabaret style show…but I tell a story in song and I love how involved they get…I take them on dark but funny trips and I love it when they tell me how they can relate to my story.
3. What will excite fans about this show and what will surprise them? A lot of my fans love me to sing "On My Own" my song from Les Miserables…Of course I do it, but I also love some of to them to sing it too…so get studying on those lyrics!
4. Press notes state, Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York is wildly entertaining ride straight through the core of the most tender heart, fiery passion and loose comic confidence of a seasoned performer at the height of her game. Let's break this down into a few questions:
- What has been the most tender moment to happen to you in a show? Lot’s of tender moments…but in this show my favourite is when my British friend, the talented Sally Ann Triplet, comes on stage and we sing a sisterhood best friend moment…I cry every time.
- What’s a project that you worked on or are working on that you have a fiery passion for like nothing before? I secured the rights to Michae John LaChiusa’s Wild Party…I certainly have a fiery passion for that and LOVED performing it in London and am dying to do it again in NY.
- What is the funniest thing to happen to you on stage? Probably when Andrew Lloyd Webber gave me champagne when I was 18 in between the matinee and evening performances of Starlight Express…which I performed on roller skates…the evening show during the song "A Lotta Locomotion…" I fell on my bum and was a heap of giggles.
5. Press notes also say the show is an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma. What is one secret you've held on to that you are now ready to share with the world? My secrets wouldn’t be secrets if I announced them in print…it’s all part of the fun of the show :)
6. You were the original "Eponine" in both the London & NYC productions of Les Misérables. When you look back at your time in that role, what makes you smile and what makes you go, "Oh, I wish I did that better”? I am so lucky and proud that I was offered that amazing role and performed it in London and New York. I don’t feel I could have done better...I always work hard and do my best in my work and my performances…I never stray from being in the moment…sometimes the moments are different..but that’s the beauty of live theatre.
7. You got to sing "On My Own" eight times a week and it has become synonymous with you. How do you keep the song fresh for you after singing it for so long? Each word must be expressed as if it’s the first time you have ever thought about it or spoken it.
8. What is something in your life that would ring true to the lyrics of "On My Own," where you created a scenario in your mind, but the reality was quite different? It’s there in my show!
9. You have released five studio albums in addition to performing on stage, TV, & in Film. I love the title of your fourth album Imperfectly Me. When you look in the mirror, what is one imperfection only you see that you would like to improve on? Oh Gosh…I’m sure we all do that…and growing older is no fun…but that title is about the imperfections of human behaviour...I think I do everything with the best intentions but sometimes I make human mistakes…that’s the way it is.
10. Bringing this back to your upcoming concert, Frances Ruffelle Live(s) In New York City, what are your top five favorite things to do when you are in NYC? I live in NY now. I love to wander around the west village, go to the theatre, eat soft boiled eggs at Joseph Leonard, pop into Club Cumming and go to Barry’s Bootcamp!
More on Frances:
You could be forgiven for expecting Frances Ruffelle to be French. After all, her latest album, I Say Yeh-Yeh features a number of French songs and she has played many French roles on stage. Then of course there’s her Gallic-sounding name.
You possibly know her best however for originating the role of iconic waif "Eponine" in the original London production of Les Misérables, for her anthemic hit single "Lonely Symphony," or for recently playing "Naomi," Dorien Green’s vicar daughter in ITV comedy Birds Of A Feather. But Frances is a recording artist at heart, with five solo albums and a series of 5-star sellout UK and US live performances to her name. Oh, and she is British, born in Essex.
As a singer/songwriter Frances has released the albums Fragile (produced by Guy Chambers), Frances Ruffelle (an album of torch songs from the 16th century to the present day, produced by Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp), Showgirl and Imperfectly Me. She also recorded the meditative album Purify, based on ancient Sanskrit mantras as one half of duo PaTala. I Say Yeh-Yeh, her new, fifth solo album showcases her collaboration with renowned singer/songwriter and producer Gwyneth Herbert as she puts a unique, earthy and at times mischievous spin on some of the best – and lesser – known French songs.
Following the success of her widely acclaimed solo Beneath The Dressconcerts at the Edinburgh Festival and in London in 2014, Frances took the show to legendary venue 54 Below in New York, for a series of sold out performances. Later that year she premiered her follow-up show Paris Original at The Crazy Coqs, London, with an updated version of Beneath The Dress selling-out the same venue in March 2015. Following five dates performing I Say Yeh, Yeh in its entirety to celebrate the album’s release, at Crazy Coqs in October 2015, Frances also took the show to Washington DC, New York, and again in London in 2016.
Aside from her own albums and live performances, Frances’ is famed for creating the character of "Eponine" in the original London RSC production of Les Misérables (for which composers Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil wrote the legendary number "On My Own" especially to suit her voice). She went on to recreate the role on Broadway where she won a coveted Tony award, Helen Hayes award, Theatre World award and Outer Circle Critics award for her performance. It seems fitting then, as Les Misérables celebrates its 30th Anniversary in the West End, Frances reinterprets "On My Own" and introduces us to "L’Un Vers L’Autre," a song originally written for "Eponine" that didn’t make into the show.
Frances’ first hit the London stage in Terence Rattigan’s play The Sleeping Prince with Omar Sharif, before starring as "Dinah" in the original production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Numerous stage adventures have followed, including creating the role of "Yonah" in director John Caird’s West End production of Children of Eden, playing opposite Ian Dury in Apples at the Royal Court and starring as "Roxie Hart" in Chicago at London’s Adelphi Theatre.
More recently, Frances was able to explore her love of French chanteuse Edith Piaf, playing the title role in Pam Gems’ play Piaf at the Curve Theatre, Leicester, for which she received a UK Theatre award nomination.
Frances’ film career includes a cameo appearance as "Whore #1" in Tom Hooper’s Oscar-winning big-screen version of Les Misérables (2012), where she was one of only two original West End cast members invited to take part in the movie (the other being original "Jean Valjean," Colm Wilkinson). She also appears in the films Devil’s Tower (2014), Hide (2014).
Alongside the release of I Say Yeh-Yeh, Frances appears in a short film produced by Sadie Frost, which features her album track "Bang, Bang."
With a multi-faceted career spanning recording to live performance to theatre to TV to film, who knows how Frances Ruffelle will surprise us next?