Colm Wilkinson: Wikis

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Colm Wilkinson
Born Colm Wilkinson
5 June 1944 (1944-06-05) (age 65)
Dublin, Ireland
Other name(s) C.T. Wilkinson
Occupation Actor, Vocalist, Musician
Years active 1972-present
Official website

Colm Wilkinson, (also known as C.T. Wilkinson in Ireland) was born 5 June 1944 in Dublin. He is an Irish musical theatre actor and singer, best known for originating the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. He was among the most frequent players of Valjean, originating the role in the West End and on Broadway. He reprised the role at the 10th Anniversary Concert.[1] He appeared on several cast albums and a DVD of the Concert.

Contents

Career

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Early years

After playing in several Irish bands which included The Action, in 1972 Wilkinson auditioned for a role in the Dublin production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, and landed a starring role reprising Judas Iscariot in the Dublin production. He went on to reprise the role in London and on the British national tour.[2] In 1976, Wilkinson sang the part of Ché in the concept album for the musical Evita.[3] Instead of auditioning for the role when the production was launched in London, Wilkinson launched a solo career as a singer-songwriter. In 1985, he collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber once again, originating the role of the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at a Sydmonton workshop.[4]

Wilkinson also featured as Dr Jekyll in the Original Jekyll and Hyde Concept Album.

By 1977, Wilkinson released his own eponymous album, (in his home of Ireland, he is known as "C.T. Wilkinson) which charted in the Irish Charts for eight weeks at Number 1.[5] After his successful solo LP, Wilkinson began to actively prepare for vocal competitions. This led to his eventual representation of Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978 with "Born to Sing", earning 5th place in the European competition for his efforts.[6]

Les Misérables

The London production of Les Misérables opened in October 1985, and transferred to Broadway in March 1987. Originally, the American Actors' Equity Association refused to allow Wilkinson to play the part of Valjean in New York, due to their policy of hiring only American actors. At this, producer Cameron Mackintosh refused to open the show unless Wilkinson played Valjean. Actor's Equity subsequently relented. Wilkinson won the Helen Hayes Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, and the Theatre World Award for his performance; he was nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical.[7][8]

Phantom of the Opera

In 1989, Wilkinson relocated his family to Toronto, Canada, when he was offered the title role in the original Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera playing at the Pantages Theatre (now Canon Theatre).[6][9] He has lived in Toronto ever since.

Recent news

He is the father of singer-songwriter Aaron Wilkinson[10] as well as another son and two daughters.

His most recent work is a solo album released in 2002 titled Some of My Best Friends Are Songs. In it, he and his son Aaron Wilkinson cover the Cat Stevens song, "Father and Son", as a duet. The album is an eclectic mix of show tunes, his personal favorites, and several songs from his stage productions. His support of PBS and listener-supported television in North America, following his participation in the 10th anniversary of the production of Les Misérables, brought him an hour-long program performing, including some of the songs from the album and one, "Gethsamane" from Jesus Christ Superstar, which he sheepishly admits that he had waited to perform for 23 years. The rendition is powerful and emotive.[4] His television broadcast supporting Stage Heroes, Colm Wilkinson right on the heels of Les Misérables brought positive reviews from fans and critics, with readers adding his name to their lists of "the five greatest singers ever", in Rolling Stone Magazine.[11]

In October-November 2007, Wilkinson undertook a cross-Canada concert tour, Broadway and Beyond, along with Susan Gilmore and Gretha Boston.[12]

Colm Wilkinson currently is playing the part of Lord Darcy in the third season showing of Showtimes miniseries The Tudors which began airing on 12 April 2009.

Colm Wilkinson participated in U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy's birthday celebration at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, D.C. on 8 March 2009. The highlight of the evening was when President Barack Obama arrived on the stage and together with all the performers sang "Happy Birthday" to Ted Kennedy. He also was asked to perform at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library at the Memorial Service for Senator Kennedy on 28 August 2009, the evening before the Senator's funeral.

On Sunday 24 May 2009 Wilkinson performed in the Memorial Day concert at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., in front of a large audience and screened live across America on PBS.

References

  1. ^ Reviewallmovie.com, accessed 3 April 2009
  2. ^ Wilkinson, Colm Official Website
  3. ^ Listing amazon.com, accessed 3 April 2009
  4. ^ a b Interview broadwayworld.com, 16 December 2004
  5. ^ Maple Music Artist Biography (2000-2009). "Colm Wilkinson". MapleMusic Ltd. http://www.maplemusic.com/artists/wil/bio.asp. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  6. ^ a b LeBlanc, Larry."Wilkinson Returns To Pop/soul Roots", Allbusiness.com, 21 December 2002
  7. ^ Colm Wilkinson Online
  8. ^ News release lesmis.com, ca. 1999
  9. ^ Colm Wilkinson - Biography
  10. ^ Article cdbaby.com, accessed 3 April 2009
  11. ^ Rolling Stone, News, Stage Heroes : Colm Wilkinson: Review
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew."Wilkinson's Broadway & Beyond Concert Tour to Begin in October", Playbill.com, 18 June 2007

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
The Swarbriggs Plus Two
with "It's Nice To Be In Love Again"
Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
1978
Succeeded by
Cathal Dunne
with "Happy Man"

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