Ahead of the White Christmas The Musical UK Tour, we caught up with Matthew Jeans who plays the role of Bob Wallace.
If you would like to see something festive during this Winter season, that will truly put you in the mood for Christmas, then book tickets to see White Christmas at one of its four tour destinations.
To book tickets go to – https://www.whitechristmasthemusical.co.uk/uk-tour/
For those who have never seen the movie, what can audiences expect to see when watching ‘White Christmas’?
I think people can expect to see a truly beautiful show, with a heart-warming story and stunning musical score. The set and costumes are fantastic, and the dance numbers are unlike any I’ve seen in a good while. I really think it has got something for everyone and is a true classic musical.
Can you tell us about your character Bob Wallace and how he fits into the show?
Bob is such a great part to be able to play because he’s so relatable in so many ways. He always strives to be the guy people can depend and rely on, and at the same time is desperate to find love. However, he constantly keeps people at arm’s length to protect himself from being hurt. I think the fact that he’s so morally upstanding, the way the story materialises makes everyone really feel for him and find themselves sitting there wanting to jump to his defence!
We first see him at the end of WW2 where he’s a Captain in the army, along with his best mate Phil, and they go on to become huge stars of stage and screen post-war. Phil tricks Bob into taking a train to accompany the newly acquainted ‘Haynes sisters’ to a Hotel in Vermont, which is owned by their old General. They discover he’s riddled with debt and decide to put on a show to help him out.
Bing Crosby who played Bob Wallace in the movie version of ‘White Christmas’, leaves a large pair of shoes to fill. How have you been able to make the role your own?
I mean, I’m not sure there are bigger shoes to fill are there! If I’m honest I just work on the script and the facts and information that is given to me by the writer and then try and formulate my own character. I try not to emulate previous people’s performances as it needs to come from a truthful place and not a place of trying to act like ‘Bing.’ I may have added a couple of vocal choices similar to how he sang the songs, but I do hope I do it/him justice as he is the OG!!!
How have you prepared for your return to the stage?
In terms of preparations, it was important for me to be off book and to have done my script analysis before I started. I personally struggle to really engage with my fellow actors if half of my attention is on the script and finding words rather than what’s happening in-front of me. But after a long time off due to COVID it was nice to be back putting my mind on it, to be honest. And making sure I was in decent shape to start rehearsals, as these dance routines are killers!
This is a brand-new role for me which is lovely to be able to bring a fresh set of eyes to the show. Dan Burton, my counterpart, has previously done the show and he is just fantastic, which has definitely been useful. I just hope I haven’t caused him too much of a headache changing bits and bobs along the way!
What is your favourite scene in the show?
Tough question! I think my favourite scene in the show is probably my scene with Susan (Ella Kemp) and Betty (Jessica Daley) where Bob sings ‘Count Your Blessings.’ It’s such a lovely and heartfelt scene, where we get to see a different side of Bob. It’s also the first time we see the start of Bob and Betty’s relationship. The song is beautiful as well.
You have toured internationally, what were your favourite shows and destinations?
Yes, I’ve done a couple of tours that have been international, however not for a good few years! I do love the opportunity to travel with work. I did a great tour of We Will Rock You, where we travelled Europe and saw some amazing places, and met some amazing people. Croatia was fun, Dublin is always amazing, Amsterdam also. Hairspray took me to Singapore which was cool. I’ve worked in Paris a couple of times also which is definitely one of my favourite cities ever, I love it there.
Being involved in a Christmas show must make you feel very festive. What do you enjoy most about celebrating Christmas?
I love Christmas and am like a big kid when this time of the year comes around. I’m very close to my family, so it is always a lovely time to be able to spend together and play games and watch movies and eat and drink too much! I love all the Christmas songs and we have our family traditions that we always do. Saying that, this year I won’t be able to see them, but we’ll celebrate after and FaceTime on Christmas Day. If I was going to be away for Christmas, what better show to be away for than White Christmas though! And our cast are so lovely that I’m sure we’ll all have a great time together. Mince pies are definitely a big old bonus for Christmas too. We’re going to start a competition to find the best mince pie and post our ratings each week on the social media account so keep your eyes peeled!
Biography He has performed in various musicals in London’s West End and all over the world, his most recent being Eddie Ryan in the musical Funny Girl (Marigny Theatre, Paris) and before that the title role of Joseph in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (Kilworth House Theatre). Other theatre credits include: Singin’ in the Rain (Grand Palais, Paris); Mrs. Henderson Presents (Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Kilworth House Theatre); Les Miserables (Queens Theatre); Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre); Hairspray (Asian Tour); We Will Rock You (International Arena Tour); 20th Century Boy (Belgrade Theatre) and Grease (UK Tour). Matthew has also featured on the cast recording and cinema movie release of the original West End revival of Miss Saigon