Meet Jon Peterson as Moonface Martin in ANYTHING GOES!
I grew up in London, UK. I went to the Royal Ballet for nine years of training and did lots of theatre, altogether ten West End shows, and also became part of the eighties pop video scene as a dancer, before coming here to be an assistant director and then thinking, ew no, I can't do THAT! - and going back to performing.
with Stacia Fernandez (as Reno Sweeney)
Watching those MGM musicals on TV when I was a small kid was my total inspiration. It's ALL I wanted. My most important mentor was choreographer Molly Molloy, who took me under her wing when I was 21, and doing a show for her in London at the Piccadilly Theatre, called "Y". Molly helped to bring out the best in me; not just as a dancer, but as a performer. Molly Molloy was a mentor to Arlene Phillips when she was an up-and-coming choreographer. Molly - and Arlene too - revolutionized jazz dance in the seventies and eighties. One of the most inspiring and exciting women I've ever encountered in my life. No, THE most. She passed away two years ago.
I was in a show in London, at the Dominion Theatre, called "Wayne Sleep And His World Of Dance" - it was basically Wayne Sleep's Greatest Hits (Wayne was a big star of the Royal Ballet, was the original Mistofolees in CATS, the original lead in Song And Dance, was the Emcee in Gillian Lynn's revival of "Cabaret" - lots of stuff) Well, this guy just couldn't STAND me. I'm not entirely sure to this day why he even hired me. We all had solos in the show - I think there were seven of us backing him up - so it was a great vehicle, potentially, for us all; the "next generation", so-to-speak. Opening week, the reviews were put up outside the theatre etc, and there was a picture of me in this number, where I sang and danced a love song to a broom, and the caption was something like, "Jon Peterson, enchanting. A super talent", or some such nonsense. Wayne invited me to lunch at the theater, and once we'd met up, he walked me out to this thing plastered on the wall and said, "See this?" I said "Yes, I'm very lucky..." or something as diplomatic as I could. He then said, "Well, take it in kid, because your number's cut as from tonight!" Haha!! Then he walked away. NO LUNCH!.
Then we did a benefit concert of the show for Princess Diana, and one of the older dancers in the cast - he was a true veteran of the theatre - wonderful guy - and Wayne was terrified of him - well, he and I were the two ladies in "Two Ladies" which opened the second act. I shared a dressing room with him and he daily regaled me with wonderful and usually filthy stories of his life in the theatre. During this concert for Princess Diana, we were having our cuppa tea and Cadburys dairy milk (with a shot of whiskey - it was the eighties!) as usual, chatting and laughing, but it seemed that the intermission was really dragging on. I had a moment of panic, rushed to the speaker and it was turned off! Wayne was already halfway through "Two Ladies" - alone! We RAN down the four flights of stairs to the stage, pulling on our dresses, pig-tail wigs and high heels, SCREECHING. I thought I was going to be fired, but Wayne was so terrified of the other guy that he never even mentioned it. It was only a couple of years ago that this wonderful man admitted to me that he turned off the speaker on purpose so that we'd miss the number and screw up the show for Wayne!! Ah, now, THAT - as far as I'm concerned - is what a true pro is.
Wayne got his own back though. After the show we all met Diana and she said to me, with a beautiful smile, as the cameras flashed all around us, "Wayne told me that you're usually late for work and almost missed the show tonight..." and as I sort of laughed and started to tell her, she walked away...I learned a great lesson that night: Royalty, religion, politics...it's all theatre!!
I've always known of the show and even got into the London revival, as one of the dancers, with Elaine Paige starring as Reno - she was so lovely at my audition. I'd heard how TOUGH she could be. But sadly I couldn't actually do it as I'd already signed up for another show.
My favorite moment in our show? - Lord Evelyn Oakley's laugh! Kevin Pariseau is fantastic!!
Yes, I've done two other shows at WBT, "It Happened One Christmas Eve" and "Cabaret". I like the schedule. It allows you to do other things too if you have any energy left.
Shows that I've done?...well, I adored CATS - I played Skimbleshanks and then Mistofolees and then Skimbleshanks again. Gillian Lynn was a genius and we're all going to miss her very much. I loved CABARET. I was the Emcee on the National Tour, and for a very short time, I even did it in New York. Subsequently got to play it about seven times since at various places, including this theatre. I played Paul in A Chorus Line a number of times, including the last UK National company. Loved that show, because it tells our story. I'm working on a show about Anthony Newley called "He Wrote Good Songs", which is currently pushing through. It won the Connecticut Critics' Circle Award for Best Solo Performance last year, so we are trying to develop it as we speak. Newley was quite a fascinating man and an amazing talent to portray. Hoping it comes to life here in NYC sometime. So I guess a dream role would be either ROAR OF THE GREASEPAINT or STOP THE WORLD...
When not on stage, I photograph other actors' headshots, I teach yoga, and I eat chocolate. But only 70%.
I listen to Chopin, chanting monks, Artie Shaw and Basie.
Singin’ In The Rain Cabaret (as Emcee) Cats (as Skimblesh)
Irving Berlin In Person (as Irving Berlin) He Wrote Good Songs (as Anthony Newley)
Song Man Dance Man (Be A Clown)