Ria Jones, acclaimed star of London’s West End, has had a truly spectacular career. At the age of nineteen, she set the record for being the youngest actress ever to professionally play the (very difficult!) role of Eva Peron in Evita. She has worked with legendary composers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim, and performed in theatres across the world – including London’s Royal Albert Hall and Singapore’s very own Esplanade Theatre!
We’re thrilled that Ria will be returning to our shores in October to perform at our annual RICE BALL, and took the opportunity to chat with her about her connection with W!LD RICE.
Your career in the theatre has been spectacular and varied. What are some of your personal career highlights?
Two spring to mind. Creating the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard while working closely with Andrew Lloyd Webber for its first showing at his private theatre in his home in Sydmonton. The other was being invited by HRH Prince Edward as his guest to sing Memory at Buckingham Palace.
You’ve worked frequently in Singapore in the course of your career. Tell us a little bit about your connection to Singapore and W!LD RICE.
I had known about Ivan and Glen for many years. I recall seeing Glen in M Butterfly in the West End when I was appearing in Cats around the corner. I had also seen a few of W!LD RICE’s productions on my visits to Singapore, but only really met Ivan and Glen properly when I was appearing in Into The Woods for Dream Academy, which Glen was directing. In fact, my very first meeting with them both was at Pink Dot, and they were dressed as Orchids… what a first impression!
As someone who’s worked extensively in the West End and across the UK, how do you think Singapore’s theatre industry compares? How has it changed from the first time you performed here almost twenty years ago?
I love the passion of the Singapore theatre industry and how it constantly thrives to better itself. They never rest on their laurels, because they have to compete with big blockbuster visiting musicals. That’s why I love working for Singaporean-based companies.
The theatre scene has changed a lot over the last twenty years since I last visited, with new theatres popping up, new companies evolving… very exciting times. I always look forward to my visits as I know it will always remind me of why I love what I do.
What are you most looking forward to doing (and eating!) when you return to Singapore later this year?
I’m really looking forward to seeing all my friends as I really missed them all last year, so I will be making up for it this year. And eating? ANYTHING & EVERYTHING! Where to start, I don’t know…
Tell us what we can look forward to when you perform at the RICE BALL in October.
You can look forward to songs old, songs new, songs borrowed but nothing too blue!
What’s next for you?
Straight after returning from Singapore, I’m the headlining act on the Regal Princess cruise liner, followed by a British tour of West End Women and Christmas concerts in the UK and Denmark and my one-woman show Ria’s Back.