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The Pirate Queen

This exciting new musical comes from the writers of Les Miserables and the producers of Riverdance.

Hadley Fraser

Age: 26

Currently: Vying for the love of The Pirate Queen as Tiernan, a third of the new step-dancing mega-musical's love triangle.

Hometown: Windsor, England. "I actually come from a tiny little village called Binfield," the charmer says in full disclosure, “that has a population of about three-and-a-half people and a dog. It also has, like, seven pubs. One for each day of the week," he says with a grin.

Page to Stage: With practical plans to be a journalist, Fraser dutifully earned an English degree from the U.K.'s University of Birmingham and subsequently scrapped it to get serious about his hobby of acting and singing. "I didn't want to get however many years down the line and think, 'Well, what if?'" he explains. Even before finishing a musical theater course at the Royal Academy of Music, Fraser was cast as romantic lead, Marius, in the long-running West End production of Les Miserables. "That was incredibly fortunate,” he says, “And I haven't really looked back since then, to be honest!"

Everybody's Got the Right: Though he admits he prefers grooving to jazz at home to listening to a Broadway score, Fraser's C.V. reads like a young leading man's dream: Marius in Les Miserables, Frederick in The Pirates of Penzance, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors and two Sondheim shows: Assassins and Pacific Overtures. "In Assassins I played John Wilkes Booth and I got to grow a big mustache and pretend to be from the South. And in Britain we're not, I suppose, blessed with an enormous amount of Asian actors, so they did color-blind casting for Pacific Overtures and it worked quite well because we all still used kabuki makeup and it was really a traditional production." Those two experiences also gave him some serious respect for Sondheim. "He's a playwright through music, really," he says, lighting up. "His shows are extraordinary!"

Across the Atlantic Sea: Leaving behind a burgeoning TV career in Britain, Fraser was flown to the U.S. to audition for The Pirate Queen thanks to his past with composers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, with whom he worked on a series of concerts in London. "I've known about the show for so long," he says, stepping through his history with the new musical. "Years ago I actually sang a version of 'Here on This Night,' which is the duet that Steph and I sing right at the very start of the show now. Back then it was called, 'I Never Want this Dream to End,' and the lyrics are entirely different." He nabbed the part and an agreement was worked out between British and American Actors' Equity, so that all that stood between Fraser and his Broadway debut was clearance from immigration. "Thankfully I don't have a criminal past," he says cheekily. "At least one that's been caught."

Stand By Your Woman: "Tiernan's someone that doesn't really exist too much in modern-day literature, in terms of being a faithful or constant man," he says thoughtfully about his Pirate Queen character. "I mean, I suppose if you look to Claude-Michel and Alain's past work, he's kind of an Eponine-like figure, in that he loves, potentially in vain. The fact that we're presenting women in such a strong light in this show…it's nice to be able to counterpart that with showing a man who is strong and loyal and steadfast. And he gets a couple of belter's songs, so what more could you ask for really? 'I'll Be There' kind of sings itself really," the talented tenor says humbly. "It's one of those ones that people will be banned from doing in auditions in years to come, I think."

Knock-Out: "You have to be very honest and say that in Chicago, some stuff didn't work," Fraser says when talking about the enormous musical's pre-Broadway tryout in the windy city. "And we worked on it there and then they went away and re-wrote stuff, and now I think the show is markedly…not different, because it still maintains the same soul and the same beating heart—but we've really pin-pointed and focusing storytelling moments that we didn't necessarily pick out in Chicago.” Still in? Some great fight scenes for Tiernan. "It's great fun, almost to a point where I think if actually I swung to punch somebody, I think I might purposefully go past their face because that's what's in my body now," the good-natured actor says. "I'm a bit worried about that if it ever happens! Maybe I should test that some day—go insult someone in a pub at 2:00 in the morning,” he kids. But until then, it's all about love for Fraser. "Being on Broadway is probably the most exciting thing I've ever done in my life," he says. "It's crazy to think that you can come and do something like this in the home of musical theater and be welcomed this way."

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