21st June 2022
Photographer & Editor-in-chief: Owen James Vincent
Stylist & Art Director: Rory Mcnerney
Stylist Assistant: Oliver Slade
Clothes Designer: Corey Dixon / Somebody Else's Guy
Make Up Artist & Nails: Rita Nieddu
Make Up Artist Assistant: Juste Vaskeviciute
Hair: Lucy Muyanga
Interview: Tadek Chmiel
Logo Design: Emily Curtis
Assistant & Videographer: Joe Reed
Jewellery: Lucy Quartermaine & We Are PR
Shoes: ATIKA London
Lily Wang is currently tearing up the stage as an ensemble member in “Moulin Rouge” at The Piccadilly Theatre, having previously performed in two large West End productions. Given that she’s already ticked off some big achievements on the bucket lists of many musical theatre performers, we talked about what she is looking forward to next and how she hopes the musical theatre industry will grow as her career progresses.
You’re no stranger to the West End, having also performed in “Pretty Woman” and “The King and I”. How does Moulin Rouge differ to previous productions you’ve been involved with?
Well, I think the biggest difference is that Moulin Rouge is such a high energy, spectacle show, so the pacing of the show is so different to anything I’ve ever experienced and it’s definitely a workout. The rehearsal process was very intense but really fun, there’s loads of elements to it – I do aerial in the show which I’ve never done before, so I had to have specific training for that. For a lot of the dancing, we had a week prior to starting rehearsals where we focussed on all of the major dance numbers in the show – bootcamp essentially, so that was a different experience for me. Just generally speaking, other shows like “The King and I” for example, had a 16 minute long ballet, so I guess that was similar in the sense that we would bootcamp it for a while, but apart from that, you’d do that one number then it was pretty easy going.
Whilst they seem to be much more open to it on the other side of the Atlantic, we are seeing more and more musical theatre performers cross over into screen work with great success, with you yourself being involved in movie musicals “Cinderella” and “Disenchanted”. What differences did you find in being on set compared to working in theatre and could you see yourself doing more screen work in the future?
Yeah, so I think the reason I was able to have those opportunities was because they happened during lockdown, when theatre was really done and dusted. My experience of movie musicals has been in a very strange setting, so I can’t say if that’s what it’s like generally, but I loved it. I loved how you dedicate a chunk of your time, like a few months per job, and learn it essentially in the space of a day or two depending on how many numbers you have, and then it’s literally the one shoot day; it’s just a long day, long call times, but a lot of high energy. You have to learn how to give yourself enough energy and disperse it well throughout the day for however many shots you have, so it’s definitely very different to being in that live performing space, where you prepare yourself with pre-show rituals and then you do the show, knowing that it can always be a bit different night by night. For a film, you know you’ve only got a few takes and you don’t know which takes they’re going to use, so you need to make sure you’re on it each time. But yeah, it was really fun, and I’d love to be involved in more definitely, and I think there’s more coming so it’s exciting.
When your current contract with Moulin Rouge comes to an end, is there any particular challenge you are looking for in your next performing job?
I don’t think there’s a particular challenge because I feel like I’ve already been challenged so much in this job, but I’d love to be involved in something where they use our bodies as the bodies that they workshop with. So, experiences on regional shows for example, where you create it from the ground up, because I’ve been involved in Broadway transfers so far. I’d love to create the language of the show in terms of choreography and be challenged in that way.
In 10 years’ time, what changes would you like to have seen within the musical theatre industry?
I mean, I hope that there’s a lot more material that connects to the younger generation and represents the diversity that we want to see, so that would also be across the board, behind the scenes, the stage management, hair, wardrobe, all of that. I think that’s something that is on its way, but hopefully in 10 years’ time it will be established enough that we don’t question it anymore.