The Brits have sent us another fantastic import that has entertainment circles a buzz. Richard Fleeshman, the star of Broadways "Ghost: The Musical", is one of those rare young talents who can act, sing, write and just be purely entertaining.
Fleeshman, despite his young age of 23, has already starred in several British television series over the last ten years. In addition, he has been the opening for Elton John on the "Red Piano Tour." The journey from the concert stage to Broadway, started when Fleeshman obtained the role of "Sam Wheat" (originally played by the late Patrick Swayze in the film version) in the British production of "Ghost: The Musical". He was a natural to travel to Broadway to continue in that role in the new production at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.
Fleeshman generously agreed to answer our "Five Questions For...."
1. You are 23 and have been in show business for over a decade. Do you feel you have missed out on your youth and other special moments that come with being a young teenager? What do you feel you missed the most?
Ironically I don't feel I missed out on hardly anything. My parents are both actors and so were absolutely adamant that my education would always come first. I was so fortunate with the way things worked out in those early years because my school was only a 15 minute car ride from the studios. I'd be in math in the morning, be picked up do a few scenes and be back in time for science in the afternoon. Granted a pretty schizophrenic few school years but not as abnormal as you may imagine. I was also lucky that I'd started upper school by the time I got the job so instead of being the 'kid of tele' I was Richard who got this cool job, which helped. As I say, I really don't think I missed out on anything, quite the opposite I've been so lucky and am very grateful but if I had to then I'd probably say University. I was working full time from 16 so it wasn't an option but it's something I think I would have loved.
2. You are one of those very talented performers who is clearly a great actor and musician. Given a choice would you be on stage acting or on a concert tour?
I get asked this so often and it's incredibly hard to give a straight answer to. Each thing has its own merits and its own reasons why I love doing them so much. There is nothing like live theatre because it's creating something in a room that will only happen once and it's only for the people present and if you’re lucky enough to have a great script with great characters and be working with great actors it's simply amazing. Getting to play my songs with my band in front of a new crowd each night on the road is obviously a dream. Music is my go to, on my days off or when I’m stressed and everything gets a little crazy I sit at the piano or grab my guitar and stuff just all makes a bit more sense. That said though, I'd never want to give up either. That’s why roles like 'Sam Wheat' that go some way to combine the two, are such a gift.
3. "Ghost" is now open on Broadway and you are playing the role of "Sam Wheat" created in the movie by Patrick Swayze. What did you do to make sure you gave "Sam" your own unique talent when the role is already so well known?
It's obviously daunting taking on such an iconic role. Patrick Swayze was brilliant and is so well thought of. Luckily though, I never felt any pressure to emulate or copy the film from the creatives. They made it very clear, very early, that this was the stage version and so at the same time as honouring what made the film so special we must find our own take on it…. It was still incredibly nerve wrecking though!
4. Do you personally believe in ghosts? What kind of fun would you have if you were a ghost?
I’m pretty skeptical to everything like that. But if I were to come back as a ghost, I'd go find someone I knew was as equally skeptical as me... and scare the sh*t out of them!
5. What is the most embarrassing or funny thing to happen to you on concert tour or on stage?
I have a lighting tracker in my hair that is used for the automatic blue spot light that follows me round the stage once Sam becomes a ghost. The tracker is a black plastic cube and it was quite obvious on my head, so it was decided to make it less conspicuous, it would be wrapped in hair. When it's on my head it now camouflages fairly well and usually behaves just fine. One night however, during one of the fight scenes, it unclipped from my hair and fell across my face and the wire got caught under ear holding it place. I don't leave the stage very often and being a ghost couldn't realistically attempt to fix the situation while on stage. I basically spent the majority of act 1 with what essentially looked like a merkin attached to my cheek. Not my finest moment I can assure you. Such is live theatre