Celia Graham began her career at the age of 11, performing in Scottish Opera’s Street Scene by Kurt Weill at Glasgow’s Theatre Royal. Celia’s London West End credits include Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera, Cosette in Les Misérables, Maria in West Side Story, Young Phillis in Follies. Celia also played the starring role of Christine Daae in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sequel to Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies.
Celia shared details of her final audition for Phantom of the Opera. After “7 or 8 rounds of auditions, it was the final call.” I was quite nervous, but I felt ready.” Celia remembered. We all know the floaty notes at the end of ‘Think of Me’. Celia noted that she had climbed to the top D when suddenly, she stopped. She told the panel, “I’m sorry, but I’ve forgotten the rest.” They told her, “That’s all we need for today.” Upset with herself, she thought that was the end, but after shedding many tears, she got a call from her agent an hour later and was offered the role. One thing may go horribly wrong, but sometimes they can see past it. Thankfully, she reminds us that “One mistake doesn’t mean it’s the end.”
DO YOUR RESEARCH! “It’s important to know your lines and your character, but you must dig into the context of each scene and song.” Read the play, the book it may be based on, and if it’s a long-running show, you should go and see it. Additionally, research the people that you’re going to be auditioning in front of! Celia reminds us of how easy it is to do a quick google search. She shared a story about going into a dance audition unprepared and how specific the style was. She noted, “If I had just done a quick search, I’d have been more prepared for that.”
“It’s a continual journey,” says Celia. “The only thing you can control is knowing what you’re doing. Some days your body or voice might be more capable than other days. Give yourself a break and put forward your best self on that specific day!”
Celia considers herself lucky because there hasn’t been one show that she’s been a part of where she has thought, “Good thing that’s over.” Of the many roles she’s played, one of the most important roles she believes has been Maria in West Side Story. Celia noted, “The story is so important. It’s a group of young people trying to find themselves against the background of racism, discrimination, and they are just trying to make their mark on the world. Society dictates the rules to Tony and Maria, and that creates a complicated conflict.”
“If you’re looking to pursue a career in musical theatre, you have to be 100% committed.” She mentions that sometimes the industry is portrayed as a glamorous life with fun, colour, and parties when, in reality, it’s challenging work. You will hear “no” more times than you hear a yes, so you must grow an incredibly thick skin. However, if this is what you’re born to do, it’s all worth it!
Cats! And not just because she got to play one. Celia says that while exploring the characters in CATS! and seeing how they move, creating the type of cat she would want to be, lead her to be a cat lover. She also grew up with them and has one of her own now! #catsarefierce
We appreciate Celia taking the time to share her audition tips and stories! We hope you enjoy them as well, check out some more audition tips!