Sandra Marvin's theatre credits not only include her critically acclaimed performances of Miss Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray in the West End and Tour but she recently appeared as Matron Mama Morton in Paul Kerryson's Chicago at the Leicester Curve. Amongst other theatre credits that include Porgy and Bess, Ragtime, A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Lion King at Disneyland Paris, Sandra can also be heard on the Oscar-winning soundtrack of the recent blockbuster film Gravity. If that wasn't enough, Sandra is now headlining her own cabaret show...
You're about to do your first solo cabaret after quite while in some incredible productions. Lets start with last year - the majority of which was spent on tour with Hairspray. You're no stranger to Motormouth Maybelle having played the role in two UK tours and in the West End, how do you look back on your time with the show?
I have the fondest of memories of my time in Hairspray! It really is a timeless, funny, witty amazing show with the best music and biggest heart! And the people! I've met the most fantastic people, & many of my best friends on this job. To this day we all still have reunions to share the Hairspray family love! So much love for past casts, crew and creatives. Also nothing but love for the role of Miss Motormouth Maybelle! I'll always be "Big, Blonde and Beautiful!" - 'lol' ... Also getting the chance to sing "I know Where I've Been", such an honour. Loved being blonde!
And most recently you took on the role of Mama Morton in Chicago at the Leicester Curve - I believe this was always a dream role of yours? How was that experience for you?
Yes, she was one of my dream roles. Years ago, the first theatrical demo I recorded was "When You're Good to Mama", so finally being able to play her was certainly a dream come true. Also working with Paul Kerryson, we were given the opportunity to revisit the original play of Chicago and rediscover who our characters were and play their different traits. It was all very exciting and the fresh new choreography by Drew McOnie just topped it off! And such an amazing cast!
Sandra as Mama Morton, Chicago at Leicester Curve.
I've never known a theatre audience erupt quite like at the end of your song in Hairspray - I Know Where I've Been. You've more than proved that you've got an incredible voice. Do you remember a time when perhaps you discovered singing and worked and worked at it, or have you always known that this voice was there inside?
Ah, Thank you Scott! All I know is that I've just always loved singing! Whether it was when I was a kid singing along with my dad's old records, to this present day. Whether I'm on stage or letting rip whilst washing up the dishes! Singing lifts my spirits, and I hope that I can share that with people when I sing. I still have singing lessons now with my teacher Tom Pearce. I think it's good to make sure you keep up a good technique, but other than that, it's all about singing from the heart. "I Know Where I've Been" is a beautiful, powerful song that means a lot to me.
Who are your musical inspirations? Was there anyone or anything that inspired you to follow this career?
Well I'm the only musical one in my family, though they certainly introduced to some incredible vocalists from a young age. My mum and dad adored Tina Turner and Dolly Parton. Both phenomenal artists. There was of course also Whitney, Aretha and Ella too. But it was my sister who introduced me to Barbra Streisand's first album and I was hooked from then. I still adore all of these artists now and I'll be paying homage to many of them on Sunday too.
Besides these roles, you've appeared as a guest singer for Michael Ball, you've done intimate West End cabarets as part of a line up - but now it's all about you! What can you tell us about your cabaret show at Lauderdale House?
My passion for music is so varied, so I'll be singing jazz, musical theatre, soul, rock, acid jazz...! Many of my favourite songs to share with you all. But mostly Sunday will be a fun, laid back, intimate celebration of music that inspires me and touches the soul.
Sandra as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, Shaftesbury Theatre.
For your upcoming concert, Sunday Sessions, you're re-united with your Hairspray-son Adrian Hansel, who played Seaweed, what does it mean to have him alongside you?
Adrian is actually my musical brother from another mother! We both have a love for very much the same type of music, though he's so much more current than I am. He often surprises me with a mix of "songs you don't know, but should know" playlist of the most amazing songs that become fast favourites. It's an absolute honour to have him with me, as not only has he one of the most stunning voices I've ever heard, he's also one of my dearest friends.
Is there anyone else we can expect to see as a guest?
I'm also excited and honoured to have Amy Diamond with me too who absolutely has the voice of an angel! My amazing MD Peter White, and Jonathan Cooper (the funkiest bass in town) and Dave Gonella (percussion).. All amazingly talented musicians so I'm excited to be working with again. We're gonna rock Lauderdale House!
Finally, what's next for Sandra? Anything you'd like to do?
I'm also singing Friday and Saturday 21st/ 22nd March at soul/jazz bar Hideaway, Streatham. Ooooooh and there is something that I'm excited about to be announced soon!
You can book ticket's for Sandra's cabaret by clicking here or by calling 020 8348 8716. Sunday Sessions features Adrian Hansel and Amy Diamond at Lauderdale House on Sunday 23 March - 4:30pm.