Rebecca Trehearn is a Mountview graduate who last year won an Olivier for her portrayal of Julie La Verne in Daniel Evans' spectacular five-star revival of Show Boat (2017 Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical). Other roles include Charity in Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse); Fantine in Les Misérables (Pimlico Opera); Nellie Collins in Floyd Collins (Wilton’s Music Hall); Donna/Oolie in City Of Angels (Donmar Warehouse); Marcy in Dogfight (Southwark Playhouse) and Molly Jensen in Ghost (UK National Tour).
As well as performing for The Stephen Sondheim Society Presents... at the Phoenix Artist Club, Rebecca recently took to the Royal Festival stage in Sondheim on Sondheim, and this weekend she'll be on the other side of the stage as a judge at the 12th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year and Stiles+Drewe Prize at the Savoy – book now!
1. What are your three favourite Sondheim songs and why?
That is such a hard question!
I've always loved the melancholy of "Pretty Women" [Sweeney Todd] – the yearning of both men coupled with the tension in the audience as they wait for the razor to fall is hard to beat.
"Beautiful" from Sunday in the Park with George always makes me teary, I find it deeply moving.
And I love "The Worst Pies in London" [Sweeney Todd]. It's just the most brilliant tour de force number for an actress.
2. What is your favourite Sondheim song to perform and why?
A little difficult to answer, given that I've yet to play one professionally! I certainly coveted Cinderella in Into the Woods when I was younger, although I found myself playing her mother at the time...!
3. What Sondheim role would you most like to play and why?
I think it would have to be Mrs Lovett. I just adore her: the wit, the cunning, the sadness, the steel core and those glorious songs. Let me at her!
4. What Sondheim lyric do you carry with you in your life?
"I chose and my world was shaken; so what?
The choice may have been mistaken,
the choosing was not.
You have to move on."
["Move On", Sunday in the Park with George]
I've always thought that lyric deeply profound in its simplicity and incredibly touching. It certainly sums up how I feel about certain situations life has thrown at me.
5. What has Sondheim brought to your life and career, so far?
I think Sondheim's work opened me up to the possibilities of the musical theatre form, as a Phantom/Les Mis-obsessed teenager! I auditioned for an NYMT production of Into the Woods at 15; I remember vividly the choreographer asking everyone during the dance call whether they had heard of Sondheim, and her horror that so many had not, myself included. Despite that I somehow landed the job and fell completely in love with the show and with Sondheim's work.
He is pretty much incomparable as a musical theatre writer who truly knows how to write for actors. Its always such a joy to follow the trail of breadcrumbs left for you, his shows and characters are so rich. I think he taught me a lot about dissecting character and text early on, which has definitely stood me in good stead career wise.
Watch our interview with Rebecca and Floyd Collins co-star Ashley Robinson
Book now for this year's SSSSPOTY and Stiles+Drewe Prize