Frances Ruffelle’s name must appear near the top of a list of great people in British Musical Theatre.
She originated the role of Eponine in both the West End and Broadway productions of the blockbuster musical Les Misérables, winning the Tony award in 1987. Frances also represented the UK in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing 10th singing Lonely Symphony (We Will Be Free). She also the original Dinah in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original London production of Starlight Express in 1984 at the age of 16. Frances played the female lead Roxie Hart in Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre in London from September 2003 to June 2004. She reprised the role for the show’s 10th anniversary in 2007 and continued in the production into 2008.
Frances returned to the London stage recently to play the deranged but vulnerable mum of London mapmaker Phyllis Pearsall in The A to Z of Mrs P at the Southwark Playhouse where she signed my sketch.