Critically acclaimed international stage sensation Whitney – Queen of the Night aims to thrill north-east audiences with an electrifying performance.
The West End show, which entertained audiences all over the world, will visit more than 80 theatres and venues across the UK, including Aberdeen’s Music Hall on Wednesday October 13.
The outstanding concert production made its West End debut in 2019 and prior to that, it called London’s Savoy Theatre home where the Whitney tribute show thrilled fans over the past five years.
Aberdeen music lovers can look forward to three decades of nostalgic hits, including I Wanna Dance With Somebody, One Moment In Time, I’m Every Woman, I Will Always Love You, My Love Is Your Love, and many more.
We caught up with Elesha Paul Moses who performs as Whitney Houston
Elesha, who lives in Hampshire and grew up in Surrey, appeared on The X Factor in 2010, alongside One Direction and in the same category as the bongo-playing wild card Wagner. She then reached the battle rounds – twice – on The Voice.
She is also touring the UK as Tina Turner in smash hit show What’s Love Got To Do With It? which also returns to theatres in 2021.
She told us how she needed to work as a supermarket delivery driver to support her family during the pandemic, how the Whitney tribute show is going to be “bigger and better in 2021” and what she likes about performing as both Whitney Houston and Tina Turner.
Whitney: Queen Of The Night has been touring for a few years now. When did you join the show?
I joined Whitney – Queen Of The Night back in 2018, initially understudying Whitney and as a backing singer, then I moved into the lead role performing throughout 2019, including the amazing West End and Brazil shows. We were really getting stuck into the 2020 tour when Covid-19 struck – and theatres were closed.
Now you’re back on the road with Whitney – Queen Of The Night, what’s new for 2021?
We’ve got an all-new cast of singers and dancers – Iva, Vanessa and Joey, new choreography, new costumes, more storytelling, more interaction. And it’s all come together so well in rehearsals, it’s going to be awesome!
For me personally, there’s even more choreography now, which has been fun to learn alongside the new cast. I’ve warned them though, they’re in for a shock with the shows – it’s hardcore! I’m doing two hours a day in the gym because I need to be able to do that to keep up the energy and have the stamina to sing and dance for two hours.
The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry and performers so hard. How has it been for you?
It was very strange, as we’d been so busy with the tours. I’ll be honest, I welcomed the break at first as we thought it would be for a few weeks, but as time went on, and the adrenaline passed, I started to feel quite low with not knowing what was going to happen.
I started running. The roads were empty, there were no cars, I could run anywhere – so long as it was only for an hour… Remember that? We were busy keeping the children entertained, as while I absolutely love being on the road and performing, having that time to be with the kids was brilliant and we had a lot of fun. So, as much as it has been hard at times, the time at home has also been lovely.
Many creatives had to look for other jobs due to the pandemic…
When it reached the autumn, I had to look for work, and like so many entertainers I got a job as a supermarket delivery driver. I posted a picture on Instagram, saying ‘I quite like this lime green T-shirt’, and the next day I got a call saying they wanted me to be in their Christmas TV advert. That was pretty crazy, but a great experience among all that’s happened.
I’ve also done some acting, trained in stage fighting, and been writing music. I had to stay busy and active, that’s been the key to it. I’ve trained in nutrition and as a personal trainer, so I found things which all add to my ability to make the shows the very best they can be.
How do you feel about getting back to performing?
Seeing an audience again, singing and dancing along with us, is going to be massive. That is such a huge part of why entertainers do what we do. I’m up there singing these incredible songs that people love, and hopefully for those couple of hours I’m doing a good enough job that we take them back to believe we’re the real thing. The feeling of a crowd singing along to I Wanna Dance With Somebody or How Will I Know, it’s just great.
You perform as both Whitney Houston and Tina Turner – they’re very different artists. What’s it like recreating these iconic female performers live on stage?
You need a huge amount of stamina to do Whitney as well as Tina – vocally, physically and mentally. Whitney is the vocal challenge, while Tina is the physical, and they are such different sounding performers, of course. But each role makes me stronger in different ways which then pays off on both shows.
As Whitney, there’s nowhere to hide as it’s a slower, more mellow show. I actually had to focus more on Whitney when we started doing them both together to keep that laid back vibe, even though I’d been in Queen Of The Night for longer.
Compare that to What’s Love Got To Do With It? and Tina… Once you’re on stage, there’s no letting up from the moment you start. I love that contrast between the two.
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