Interview: Ben Forster
Posted 9th April 2020
Perfectly timed for Good Friday, Jesus Christ Superstar will be streaming on The Shows Must Go On YouTube channel on 10 April.
Ahead of the stream, we caught up with Ben Forster, a former Jesus and Phantom, to get his best lockdown recommendations and chat about some of his West End highlights.
Thanks for chatting with us Ben, let’s dive right in…
1) What’s your favourite number from Jesus Christ Superstar?
My favourite song is both my favourite and the most difficult to perform, it would have to be Gethsemane. It’s epic and terrifying from beginning to end because it feels like a marathon but when you sing those last few lines and hear the applause and see audience standing it is truly a moment worth working your whole life for. I get emotional every time I perform it!
2) What was the biggest challenge of performing traditionally a theatre show in the O2?
I think the biggest challenge was performing at a level which was big enough for an audience of up to 24,000 people to feel your presence and energy, but also limiting what you do for the live camera screens that were so prominent in our production. People could see tears falling down my face from the back of the 02 arena but I’d still need to give the energy and body language needed for people not watching the screen, so the challenge was making the performance intimate and present.
3) What’s been your favourite role to play so far?
Wow, that’s a hard question. I love all of the roles I’ve played for different reasons. Buddy the Elf and Brad in Rocky Horror are fun and comedy, whereas Jesus and Phantom are epic, intense and both come with a sense of fulfilment to have the opportunity to play such iconic roles. For that reason, it would have to be Jesus or Phantom.
4) What advice would you give your younger self making your West End debut?
I was 18 when I made my West End debut. If I were to be looking back at myself now, I would say, believe in yourself more, stop being so self-conscious when you perform and blimey, you’re in for an epic journey! My younger self would never have believed that he would get to do the things that I have done.
5) What have you been getting up to whilst in lockdown?
It has been such a strange time, but I’ve been trying to keep busy, I’ve been baking and eating way too much of it. I have also never watched so many box sets and TV within two weeks.
6) Any lockdown recommendations to watch?
My recommendation would definitely be the Good Friday Screening of Jesus Christ Superstar at 7pm, ‘wink, wink’…
Other than that, I’ve really enjoyed Tiger King on Netflix, but think the whole nation has watched that by now. I also marathon-watched the new season of Sex Education, it was sooo good, and I just caught up with The Split on BBC i-player – great, addictive viewing!
7) If you could perform one song in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s #HomeIsWhereTheMusicIs challenge, what would it be?
Oooohhhh, it would have to be Til I Hear you Sing from Love Never Dies and I’ve never had the opportunity to sing it. (Hint hint, Andrew…)
You can watch Ben in the stream of Jesus Christ Superstar on The Shows Must Go On this Friday.
You’ll also be able to catch his first BBC Radio 2 show, Best of The West End recorded from the Royal Albert Hall, to be aired soon.