Friday 14 December 2018

Cuba Gooding Jr admits to nerves and sleepless nights as he makes West End debut

The Oscar-winning actor is starring as Billy Flynn in Chicago.

Cuba Gooding Jr is starring in Chicago on London's West End (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Cuba Gooding Jr is starring in Chicago on London's West End (Isabel Infantes/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Entertainment Correspondent

Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr has admitted he endured sleepless nights in the lead up to his West End debut.

The Jerry Maguire star received a standing ovation with the rest of the cast on the opening night of Chicago at London’s Phoenix Theatre.

Gooding Jr plays fast-talking lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical, which is returning to the capital after a five-year absence, and said he had struggled through the previews ahead of the official opening, attended by stars including Terry Gilliam, John Barrowman and Kate Garraway.

Speaking at the after-party at London restaurant L’Escargot, he told the Press Association: “I was horrified for show after show after show, swearing buckets, nervous, not sleeping until four in the morning and then sleeping until 7pm.

“Now I’m finally starting to feel normal. If you had talked to me a week ago I would have had all kinds of anxiety to talk about but I’m feeling good now. I’m starting to ease into the task that is Billy Flynn.”

The actor added he would be endeavouring to avoid reading the verdicts of the critics.

He said: “I never read reviews, period.

“There is no getting around it, if you have bad reviews everyone goes ‘oh whatever’ but if you have good ones everyone wants to tell you what they say, but if I don’t read the bad ones I can’t read the good ones.

“Hopefully people will want to talk to me tomorrow, that’s all I care about.

“At the same time too, the review on theatre is the audience and we have been so welcomed.

“That could end tomorrow but the people are really vibing it. It’s felt so good up there.”

Chicago, starring Ruthie Henshall as Mama Morton, is booking up until June 30 at the Phoenix Theatre.

Press Association

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