Am dram star of the week is Jacob Kohli from Finchfield, who's in Wolverhampton Youth Musical Theatre's production of Chicago
Our am dram star this week is very lucky to be able to appear in the iconic Kander and Ebb musical Chicago, as Wolverhampton Youth Musical Theatre is presenting the High School Edition of the show next week.
Seventeen-year-old Jacob Kohli from Finchfield is taking the leading male role in the show, the cut-throat, devious lawyer Billy Flynn.
Jacob, a performing arts student at Thomas Telford School and I chatted about the show, rehearsals and his role in Chicago.
“The rehearsal process for Chicago has been just two intensive weeks and thus the closest thing to a West End experience for young actors who potentially want to go into the industry,” Jacob says.
He says he prefers musical theatre but said that drama is at the heart of any show, in the story-telling.
“The role of Billy Flynn is great, simply due to the grand show numbers such as Razzle Dazzle and Both Reached for the Gun he performs. The intricacies of the character are often due to his double stance throughout the trial of Roxy Hart.
“I absolutely love my character and especially the courtroom scene in act two when Billy makes his final statement in defence of Roxy. The bravado of the monologue is exceptional! I have tried to portray Billy as close to the Kander and Ebb original idea for the sleazy lawyer, yet I have added a sense of empathy to the role,” he says.
“Many of the cast have been to see the production in the West End. However, our take on the show really focuses on the story at the heart of the piece and in some ways, the London version doesn’t.
“Chicago is written in the style of old time Vaudeville, mixed with legitimate musical theatre. This mixture creates such a unique and distinctive sound, it’s hard not to leave with the tunes still in your head!” he laughs.
While Jacob loves playing Billy, he admits his dream part would be the leading role in Hamilton.
“I am also a massive fan of the RSC,” Jacob says. “I really recommend that people see Marlowe’s Tamburlaine which runs until December in the Swan Theatre, so that would be another favourite role, simply due to the incredible interpretation of the piece.”
The future looks rosy too, as Jacob is now preparing to audition for stage schools next month. He’s hoping to gain a place at either Guildhall for acting or Mountview for musical theatre.
l Chicago runs from September 4-8 at The Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton. For tickets priced at £12-£8 visit www.wlv.ac.uk/arena-theatre or call 01902 321321.