The next Have You Met interview is with Aladdin swing Ricardo Spriggs. Find out about his career and what it is like to be part of an original West End Cast.
What’s your name , where do you come from and where do you live now?
Hello! My name is Ricardo, I was born and raised in Leicester and currently living in south east london
Tell us who you are and what you do?
I am a dancer, singer, actor professional napper and procrastinator. I come across as really shy at first but once you get to know me I’m actually a cheeky chappy who loved to have a laugh and a joke. I’m a massive lover of tea, my favourite thing to do is sit in a cafe drink tea and watch the world go by. I am currently a swing in Disney’s Aladdin.
What age did you start performing? Was there a defining moment that made you realise that the life of a performance was for you?
I started dancing at the age of 5 because my older sister did. My mum used to take me along and I wanted to join in so she let me. There wasn’t really a definite moment where I thought this is what I want to do, I’ve just always done it and loved it and my parents have always encouraged me to do what I love. I guess I realised I really loved doing it was when I did a college production of A Chorus Line.
You are currently appearing in the West End musical Aladdin. How’s it going? What was the audition process like and where were you when you got the call from your agent to say you landed the job?
Being in Aladdin is an absolute dream. The audition process was one of the most fun auditions I’ve had, because all the guys just had a laugh, it was so relaxed and I felt good about it. I used to stress about going into auditions but this one I didn’t, I just relaxed and had fun. It was a long process mind. I was going back and fourth from leicester to London, I think I went back seven times. But it was totally worth it.
When my agent called me I was on the bus on my way into town and he told me I hadn’t got it, and then just before we ended the conversation he said not really, you’ve been offered swing. I’ll never forget that and I’m yet to get him back for it…
What is it like to be a swing in an original cast?
It has been the most challenging but rewarding experience ever. The beginning was tough, it was my first time being a swing and I didn’t really know how to go about being a swing. I remember watching one of the numbers in rehearsals and just thinking how on earth am I going to remember all of these peoples tracks. But now it’s second nature and I absolutely love being able to do any track at any time. It’s very rewarding. The thing I think you have to understand when you are a swing is it’s not going to be perfect straight away so give yourself time to learn the show and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because you soon learn from them and you don’t do them again.
What has been your best and/or worst audition?
My worst audition was for a musical and it was at the time when I was auditioning back and fourth from Leicester, I got the material at 11pm, I didn’t know the song, I’d never heard of it before. So I arrive at the audition the next morning, did the dance call – fine, got through the second dance call – great, they want to hear me sing the material they gave me. So I start to sing and for some unknown reason I started doing a Britney Spears impression. Then I cracked on the money note. And to top it all off I did a really bad riff at the end of the song. I was mortified to say the least. After the song I just said thank you and left the room in shock horror from what I’ve just done. I still cringe thinking about it now.
What did 5 year old Ricardo want to do when he grew up?
5 year old Ricardo wanted to be on the stage like his big sis.
You spent sometime at sea working for Royal Caribbean performing in shows such as Mamma Mia and Chicago. Did that help prepare you for your time auditioning and working in London/the West End?
Working for Royal Caribbean was an amazing platform for me because it gave me the credits on my CV that I needed, I was able to prepare myself and save money for when I did want to move to London, I learnt a lot about myself and met some amazing people who have helped me along the way. If it wasn’t for my friend Joanna who I met on the ship I wouldn’t have an agent. Also, I was able to travel and see parts of the world that I never even thought I’d get to see.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
In 5 years time I hope I’ll be lucky enough to still be working doing what I love. Whether it’s in town, on a ship or an international tour, as long as I’m working I’ll be happy.
Do you have any advice for budding performers?
Yes, go out there and get it, make things happen. Persistence is key. Don’t take things personal and know your casing bracket. Don’t take life to seriously!
Agent or no agent? Advice for performers looking to get an agent?
Agent definitely. Be comfortable with your agent. You have to be able to tell them want you want to do and what you don’t want to do but also be open to new ideas and critiques. I have a really good relationship with mine, it’s really casual, there’s no BS or sugar coating and they really pushed me to get seen.
You can catch Ricardo in Aladdin at the…. theatre or you can find me on instagram and twitter @ricardo_spriggs