This summer marked a significant chapter in the career of Tanisha Spring, who took centre stage as Satine in the West End sensation, Moulin Rouge The Musical! Tanisha’s journey from the corporate world to the exciting world of musical theatre is as captivating as the show she now stars in.
Opening up about her early professional life, Tanisha shared, “I used to work in the accounts department for a telecommunications company, and the organisation part of my brain loved it, but my body rejected it completely, so I just kept falling asleep.” Recognising the misalignment between her passion for performing and her role in finance, Tanisha decided to explore a different path.
This led her to dance college, where her love for singing and acting found a more fitting outlet. “I’d always enjoyed the activity of it, but I just didn’t like people watching me, which is really random. So when I made the decision, I thought I’d better work on that!” Tanisha recounted.
Eventually, Tanisha ventured into the music industry, contributing her talents as a backing singer and signing with Island Records. Despite facing challenges, including leaving the label, Tanisha’s resilience led her to the world of theatre. “I emailed the casting director of Beautiful, the Carole King Musical and they had a cancellation that week. I think I emailed on the Tuesday, and they had a cancellation on the Thursday or something like that, and then booked that job,” she recalled.
Tanisha’s foray into theatre marked the beginning of a new chapter, and she hasn’t looked back since. Reflecting on her early days in the industry, she said, “I’d only ever seen The Lion King before I’d started in theatre, so it kind of just opened up this whole world of things I didn’t really know existed.”
Before coming back to take on the role full time, Tanisha was in the original cast of Moulin Rouge The Musical! as the alternate Satine, which brought its own set of challenges. “As an alternate, I didn’t get as much rehearsal as I would have liked, so it kind of was a baptism of fire,” Tanisha admitted. However, her dedication and passion for the craft soon earned her a more permanent place in the spotlight.
The call to take over the role permanently came as a surprise, but Tanisha embraced the opportunity. “I didn’t think I’d end up back in the show but there were things that I wanted, felt like I could have given more in the show, or I could have found more interesting things in the show for myself,” she shared.
Tanisha’s return carried added significance, as she became the first dark-skinned woman to portray Satine. Reflecting on this , she emphasised, “for me, especially coming into the industry, I know that there aren’t many dark-skinned women like me in leading roles, it’s something I had noticed but just sort of accepted. I’ve always wanted to be able to set an example to my nieces and other young women, and wanting to be seen as myself, rather than a stereotype, and I want them to be able to see people who represent them on stage.”
Tanisha’s chemistry with her co-star Dom Simpson, who plays Christian, has been a highlight of the show. “I think it’s the fact that he is so open and present when we’re on stage, and it kind of forces me to have to be as well,” she shared. Their on-stage partnership has become a dynamic collaboration, with Tanisha expressing appreciation for Dom’s openness to exploring new aspects of their characters. “And also, he really likes cake and I like cake, so we bond over that a lot. So that’s always good,” Tanisha laughs.
As for the audience, Tanisha extends an invitation to experience the magic of Moulin Rouge The Musical! “I would say that you will definitely have a good time. I think the show is made in such a way, and there’s so much in it. It’s like an extravaganza of sound and colour and the costumes and the talent on stage. I think there is something for everyone to come for,” she urged.
“And of course the theatre looks incredible, what they’ve done with it just immerses the audience in this incredible Bohemian world of The Moulin Rouge, the attention to detail is just incredible.”
Tanisha’s journey from the corporate world to the dazzling lights of the West End serves as an inspiring testament to following one’s passion and breaking barriers in the world of musical theatre. As she continues to mesmerise audiences as Satine, Tanisha’s story is a beacon of perseverance, talent, and the transformative power of the stage.
Tanisha Spring is currently eligible to be nominated for Best Takeover in the 24th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards, nominations can be made up until 23rd November here.