We paid a visit to Her Majesty’s Theatre to catch up with London’s Christine, Sofia Escobar, in her dressing room. In the first of a two-part interview, Sofia – who originally hails from Portugal and has lived in London for four years – shares her thoughts on dream roles, pre-show nerves, and her own Phantom experiences.
What is your favourite part of the show?
It’s quite difficult to pick one. It is such an amazing show. But I would probably say the duet with Raoul – I like the whole journey, from the intensity of the beginning and then being so in love with someone. And of course the music is incredibly beautiful.
And what is your favourite song in the show?
Again, very hard to say but I would say it is probably ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’. I think it is a wonderfully written piece of music. And the fact that Christine is alone on the stage singing to her father – I think everyone can relate to that as we have all lost someone in our lives and I can feel the audience with me at that point.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
I still do, every single time and I think that is good – as long as it is not too much! You do need that nervous energy and excitement before going on stage, and it always happens no matter how long you have been playing the role. I like to give myself time to warm up and really focus and I am usually here at the theatre quite early.
How would you describe the show to one of the few people who haven’t yet seen it?
I’d probably say that if you haven’t you really should, for many reasons. It has an amazing, timeless story – it has everything in it: a wonderful script and music and characters we all can relate to.
If you could ask any of the original creative team any question, what would you ask?
I think first of all I would be really starstruck – to be honest I wouldn’t really know what to say! Phantom is something so phenomenal, that has been going on for so long and then all of a sudden I am there in front of someone I have admired all my life and who has inspired me to become a performer. I met Andrew Lloyd Webber recently and was completely awestruck. If I met any of the other original creative team, I think I would be so overwhelmed that even if I wanted to ask thousands of questions I don’t think I would be able to!
When did you first see Phantom?
I only saw the show for the first time a few years ago when I was auditioning. I am Portuguese and I have only lived in London for about 4 years… but I think I first heard the music when I was around 10. I remember being in my room and looking at the score and seeing the pictures of Sarah Brightman in the boat and daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to be on stage in such a production. I know it sounds cheesy but it really is a dream come true – I count my blessings every day that I am here.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a performer?
I think I have always wanted to – I remember being about four or five and putting all my dolls in a row and singing something to them or acting out something for them! In every single childhood game, I always wanted to include some music or some acting, so I think it has always been there. And then there came a point when I was about 17 or 18 that I realised that this would be the only thing which would really fulfil me, so I invested everything into getting the correct training.
When did you learn to speak English?
My father was an English teacher so I was very lucky to have been taught English quite young. Actually my sister became an English teacher too and I think that if I hadn’t followed a career in musical theatre I would probably be an English teacher back at home.
What’s the first show you remember seeing?
I saw the Portuguese musical, Sense of Light, which I later performed in, that was my first experience. In London the first show was Phantom and I remember being in the audience and just wishing so hard that one day I would be there.
What’s your dream role?
Well Christine was definitely one of my dream roles and I have been fortunate enough to play another dream role – Maria in West Side Story. I do have quite a lot more though! I would love to play Cosette in Les Miserables. I would also like to play Mary Poppins or Maria in Sound Of Music. There are quite a few! But I do think my voice suits a more classical role, so anything that needs a bit more classical training is a good fit for me.
Watch out for more to come from Sofia, as she answers a selection of your Fan Questions next week…