In the heart of London’s West End, Dom Simpson, has just taken over the role of Christian in the spectacular Moulin Rouge The Musical!, In this exclusive interview Dom shares the fascinating journey that led him from aspiring footballer to celebrated musical theatre performer.
Dom’s journey into the world of musical theatre was far from conventional. He admitted, “I grew up desperate to be a footballer, desperate to play in some form of professional sport.” However, at 16, a chance audition for the school production of Little Shop of Horrors changed the trajectory of his life.
Dom was surprised to land the lead role of Seymour, it was a pivotal moment guided by a mentor and singing teacher who saw his potential. “He said to me, ‘You’re actually quite good at this. You’ve got a chance of having a career in this if you fancy it.’ And I genuinely had never considered it,”
Despite harbouring dreams of a football career, Dom says, “I wish I could say I had to bow out because of an injury or something, but the truth is, I was simply not good enough to be a professional footballer.” This realisation prompted him to explore the world of theatre. His journey took him through drama school and eventually led him to the stages of the West End and Broadway.
Dom’s career took a significant turn when he auditioned for The Book of Mormon while still in drama school. Although he didn’t secure a role immediately, fate had other plans. A knee injury forced him to withdraw from his first professional contract in another show, but a surprise call from his agent changed everything. “He said, ‘You’ve got an audition for The Book of Mormon. It’s a bit of a strange one because they’re not actually auditioning anyone else. They just want to see you.'”
This unexpected opportunity led Dom to make his Broadway debut in The Book of Mormon, a role that eventually paved the way for his return to the West End. Reflecting on his Broadway experience, Dom said, “I was the understudy Elder Price, it was such a great opportunity but after few weeks I was just desperate to get on stage.”
Dom was desperate to get off the bench and onto the pitch, and when the moment eventually came, Dom described it as a baptism of fire, “my Broadway debut, was at the interval. I got thrown on mid-show, straight in as Elder Price. So that was a real in-at-the-deep-end moment”.
That time on Broadway would lead to Dom becoming the first British actor to take on the role of Elder Price in London’s West End. Now Dom has taken over as Christian in Moulin Rouge The Musical!, and spoke passionately about the diverse and emotionally charged role. Drawing a parallel between Christian and his previous character, Elder Price, Dom highlighted the playful optimism and naivety shared by both characters, however, he emphasised the darker, more emotional journey Christian embarks on in the second act of Moulin Rouge.
Now in his fifth week of the role, Dom expressed his love for the show’s multifaceted nature. “I think the show’s got everything,” he exclaimed. Describing it as a theatrical spectacle, he praised the combination of visual elements, storytelling, and a broad emotional spectrum. “We’ve got love and heartbreak and comedy, and it’s gritty, sexy, emotive and it’s a real journey,” he explained.
The intricate design of the show, including costumes, lighting, and sound, contributes to the immersive experience. Dom expressed his awe at the grandeur of the production, stating, “You walk into this space, and as soon as that first sound kicks in, you’re just on. Your senses are immediately on.”
Reflecting on the recent cast change in Moulin Rouge, Dom emphasised the positive impact it had on the rehearsal process. With the majority of the cast being new, it allowed for a more authentic and well-rounded exploration of the characters and the show, “it’s be so great to join at a time when most of the cast were changing, it’s really bonded us as a team and the comradery has been brilliant”.
Speaking about his co-star Tanisha Spring, Dom said, “she’s so intelligent as a human being and as a performer, she’s been very open to what I’m bringing to the table and very responsive to how our relationship in the show was developed.”
“I remember one of our first rehearsals together, there was a moment where we were both singing full out in each other’s faces, and the harmonics that were being created by our voices clashing made the hair stand up on my arm,” he shared.
On a lighter note, Simpson and Tanisha share a love for cake, Dom humorously admitted, “we’ve both got such a sweet tooth, and it’s going to be our love language for the year.”
Dom says that Moulin Rouge The Musical offers an unparalleled escape into a world filled with love, heartbreak, comedy, and, most importantly, joy. “I think when you step into the theatre, into the building and into the Moulin Rouge itself, you’re allowed to just forget everything that’s happening outside for two and a half hours, and just enjoy yourself.”
Dom Simpson’s journey from football fields to Broadway and West End stages shows the unpredictable paths life may take. His passion for performing arts, combined with his dedication and talent, has allowed him to thrive in a new career of musical theatre, where he continues to enchant audiences with his portrayal of Christian in Moulin Rouge The Musical.
Dom Simpson is currently eligible to be nominated for Best Takeover in the 24th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards, nominations can be made up until 23rd November here.