Three months ago understudy Steph Parry made headlines when she stepped in to save a neighbouring West End production with only eighteen minutes notice. Early in the first act of MAMMA MIA!, lead Caroline Deverill in the role of Donna Sheridan injured her calf muscle, with no understudy cover.
A block away, at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, understudy for 42ND STREET, Steph was sitting in the dressing room eating carrots and hummus when she was asked to pop over to continue the role of Donna in front of a sell-out audience. Steph had understudied the part five years earlier and reprised the role last year on a cruise ship. The audience reaction was euphoric when she took to the stage, greeted with a huge round of applause.
Life imitated art, the premise of 42ND STREET is an understudy’s rise from showgirl to star. As one observer noted, replacing ‘We’re In The Money’ for ‘ Money, Money, Money.’ After understudying six-and-a-half years ago for the Mrs Wilkinson role in BILLY ELLIOT, the three female parts in MAMMA MIA! and Madame Morrible in WICKED, Steph finally landed a lead role, replacing LuLu as Dorothy Brook in 42ND STREET from 9 July until last Saturday.
She signed this ‘Donna’ sketch at the Theatre Royal stage door on Saturday, before her last lead performance, returning to her understudy duties.