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Following a passion

With the popular power of television Carley Stenson is perhaps best known for her time playing Steph Cunningham in Hollyoaks but that is only part of her story.

Since departing she has built up an impressive collection of lead West End roles including Princess Fiona in Shrek: The Musical, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical and The Lady of The Lake in Spamalot.

Now in her first touring role she plays Christine Colgate, The American Soap Queen, the mark Freddy and Lawrence are hoping to swindle out of $50,000. “She enjoys it though I think. She gets the pleasure of hanging out with these two fine men. It’s good fun. Spamalot to this . . . it’s not too dissimilar, very tongue in cheek.”

Lancastrian Stenson hails from the wonderfully named Billinge Higher End on the border between St Helens and Wigan and has been performing cast of scoundrelssince she was about three.

“I was always into musical theatre, I trained in ballet and all that jazz since the age of three, and I started auditioning for television roles in and around college and I got Hollyoaks.

"I did that for 10 years, but my passion for musical theatre was still there and I wanted to get back into it.

“I was singing with my girls (Emma Lori Thomas, Emma Schofield and Catherine Rouse ) as well, we formed a group called Diamond and toured and we did anything the corporate companies wanted – ‘we want the Andrew Sisters, we want Diana Ross, we want this or that’ and we went round the country singing whatever they wanted and then I left Holloaks and got Legally Blonde.”

Carley Stenson with the cast of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Birmingham, Mark Benton, back left, Michael Praed at the piano and Noel Sullivan, front left.

Stenson has made TV appearances since but her passion has always been musical theatre. “I you could have television programme like Nashville, a British Nashville that would be my dream, to incorporate the three of them the singing, the dancing and TV with a bit of diversity.”

With her passion for musical theatre and time with Diamond singing in whatever style was requested, perhaps Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice might be an option . . . except it is a role associated with Jane Horrocks.

She sees herself as fortunate with the roles she has done but has big ambition. “I would love to create a role, to be the first person to be cast in a role, to have a new show coming out and to have that freedom to really play with it and find it and create it.

“I have always been interested in the story and the character and it doesn’t matter what format. I did the Edinburgh Fringe two years ago and I didn’t mind it was in just a little hall that seated a hundred people because the script was good and the character was good and it appealed to me.

“So even if it was a play in a little hall in Scunthorpe, if the show was right and I really enjoyed the character then I would go wherever. I would not matter if it was a radio show, or TV show, or a musical or a play; as long as I enjoyed the character I wouldn’t mind.

“At the end of the day when I am doing a show I just want to impress my parents, my little nieces and nephews and my boyfriend and if I can impress them then then I am happy, and the bonus is you get people you don’t know as well.

“I always think would my niece like this show, or would my mum be proud of me in this and as long as I get the buzz off that and I tick those boxes then the rest is a bonus. Just go where the good script is and I have been lucky enough to do that.

 "And I love this opportunity to see the UK. This is my first tour and I am loving it.”

Roger Clarke

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Michael Praed, Noel Sullivan, Carley Stenson and Mark Benton runs at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham from Tuesday 5 may to Saturday 16 May before embarking on a national tour

Tour Details - http://www.scoundrelsontour.com/


Noel Sullivan - from Arias to Alex Mark Benton - living the dream

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