Thomas Redgrave of Collabro: On a Musical Theatre Mission
A few weeks ago, I had the honor to interview the members of the British boy band Collabro for Broadway Direct. It was a terrific experience that I will always remember, not just because I got to speak to four talented gentlemen who sing my favorite style of music: showtunes, but because they were so earnest, kind, and extremely down to earth. It is refreshing to find talented people who love what they do and who share their enthusiasm with their fans, and who speak so highly of the people who revel in their music. These fans are called “Collaborators,” and they are a dedicated troupe of groupies who ardently admire this amazing band.
One of the members that I had the extreme pleasure of speaking to was Thomas Redgrave, the long-haired member of the band who proved to be extremely articulate as he infectiously relayed his love for working with his three partners and for singing some of theatre’s greatest music. Whether it was talking about his current infatuation with John Bucchino’s It’s Only Life, or discussing how he feels musical theatre songs tells a story that connects to the audience, his passion for his craft is palpable.
Thomas Redgrave has been singing since he was seven-years-old, performing in a church choir at the Louth St. James Church. His first play performance was in a production of All My Sons, and he would go on to perform in several plays, pantomimes, and musicals. Upon completing school, Thomas went on to study Performing Arts and Music Performance at Lincoln, College. Among his musical theatre roles, he performed Jesus in Godspell and Captain Walker in The Who’s Tommy, both challenging parts that he delivered with aplomb. He then moved to London where he continued his studies at the University of West London where he secured a degree in Musical Theatre through the London College of Music. Even before his work with Collabro, this twenty-eight year old had earned an impressive resume.
Surviving as a performer in London, Thomas had also worked at a Japanese restaurant at the time he and the other members of the band formed Collabro. A year later, they band found themselves on Britain’s Got Talent, where they would eventually be victorious as the 2014 champions. Delivering an impassioned rendition of “Stars” from Les Miserables, Collabro proved that showtunes could be accessible to the masses and went on to assert that with three amazing albums: Stars, Act Two, and the recently released Home. All three albums are a creamy combination of beautiful voices, ignited by the explosive heart they put behind their sound.
Part of our conversation was about musical theatre songs that the band is dying to sink their teeth (or vocal chords) into. Thomas shared that the band has tried very hard to find a way to perform “I’m Not My Father’s Son” from Kinky Boots, “It’s a solo song and doesn’t work as a group song. It’s such a personal solo song, we felt we couldn’t do it justice as a four.” It is nice to know that Collabro puts so much thought into, not only the songs they pick, but giving each of these songs the treatment that they deserve.
Does Thomas have any dreams of performing in West End or Broadway musicals? He explained that he did does, “We were all trying to get into the industry before we started doing Collabro, but it is the West End, as Broadway will be the same, it is such a difficult industry to get into. That’s why we put this together, because we all have a passion for musical theatre and want to do musical theatre. Maybe in five or ten years when (or if) Collabro is done, I’ll think about trying for the West End or Broadway.”
When asked if he had anything he’d like to say or suggest to aspiring performers, Thomas was very clear that the things that make you unique are also what might make you marketable. “When you go to auditions, obviously the casting agent will have something in his/her mind that they want. You have to, 100%, be yourself! They might see something in you, in your personality, in what makes you, YOU, and see you in that role. If you do that, good things will come.”
Thomas also shares his positive experiences with American audiences and how generous they are toward the band. He assured me that Collabro would like to spend more time in states. I think I speak for American audiences when I say that we are eager for them to do so, and we hope to someday see Thomas starring in a Broadway show.