I spent some time chatting with Richard Taylor Woods, an actor who has worked in various theatre productions, television, and even had a Top 40 hit in the 90s! Richie is currently working on Motown The Musical, we talked about what motivates him, his time with a Top 40 hit and Ol’ Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra.
Thanks for your time today Richie! Please tell us a little about you in less than one minute.
Hi, I’m Richard Taylor Woods, I come from a village in Oxford called Kidlington and now I live in Hertfordshire as I now mainly work in London as an actor and have done so for the last 20 years. I have worked in Theatre predominantly but also have crossed over into the music business and TV occasionally. I also sing and have gigged extensively across the UK generally between theatre contracts.
Can you tell us about Motown The Musical?
Motown the Musical tells the story of Berry Gordy, the man who founded and created the legendary music and entertainment company Motown Records spawning world famous artists including Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5!
How did you get started in the entertainment industry?
I started in the entertainment industry by answering an advert for a pop group in The Stage newspaper. I landed the role, moved to London and that was 20 years ago! I’m hanging in there still 😉!
You had a Top 40 record in 2000 with a boy band, tell us all about it – what were the highs and lows of this point in your career?
I was in a musical in the West End called Boyband the Musical. It was a tongue in cheek look at the construction of how a boybands used to be created inspired by the success of Take That in the early 90s. When the show closed we were offered a record deal and accepted and released a single.
The highs were definitely doing things like touring the UK playing at arenas supporting bands like Westlife and S Club 7 on events like the Smash Hits Magazine Tour and appearing on TV shows like Ant and Dec’s SMTV and The Big Breakfast. The low was being dropped by the record label one day after not charting high enough in the Top 40. That was very harsh. Everything just stopped within 24 hours.
I worked in a well known sports shop soon after that to earn some money!
What performances and productions are you most proud of?
The production I am most proud of being a part of is a show called Miss Saigon and playing the lead role of Chris on numerous occasions. It’s set during the Vietnam war and is such a fantastic piece of work. It will always be a highlight for me, whatever the future holds.
Who do you look up to in the entertainment world?
I look up to actors in the business that are the type of actor you see regularly and have carved out a career and you don’t even know their real name! They always pop up and are reliable and solid in everything they do. A kind of un-famous ‘Gene Hackman’ if you will! The man or woman you might be watching and say ‘oh, I like this guy, I’ve seen him in lots of things and is always very good’. Those types of actors are the glue to the industry i think.
You have covered some great songs from “Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Frank Sinatra – are you a fan of swing and big band music?
I’m a massive Sinatra fan and I gig and sing a lot of his old classics. I love the era, the class, and stylishness of the music and sound and those Rat Pack guys. You cannot beat listening to a live Big Band – it’s fantastic
What are your future plans for your career?
Plans for the future involve Motown the Musical until March 2018 and then, as the life of an actor denotes, who knows!!!! It’ll be auditions again and seeing what project may turn up next!
Where can people keep up to date with your progress and work?