‘Typecasting fears led me to avoid musicals’ – Jill Halfpenny

Jill Halfpenny in Abigail's Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2012. Photo: Tristram Kenton
by -

Actor Jill Halfpenny has revealed she “purposefully” avoided doing a musical for the first 10 years of her career for fear of being typecast.

Halfpenny has appeared in musicals including Chicago and Legally Blonde, the latter earning her a 2011 Olivier award for best performance in a supporting role.

But she has admitted that she actively avoided appearing in a musical for a decade. When asked about how easy it was for performers to straddle different genres, Halfpenny told The Stage: “The only thing I have thought is people find it hard to cross over from musicals. But I have never thought it was the case with straight theatre. Theatre and film go hand in hand.”

She added: “For the first 10 years of my career I purposefully didn’t do one [a musical] as once you do one, everyone says, ‘She’s that girl who sings’.”

Halfpenny, who is about to star in Channel 4’s comedy drama Babylon, added that performers should be able to work in any medium. “I like to do everything and mix it up, and I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to do that – but you do get pigeonholed quite easily,” she said.

For a full interview with Halfpenny, see this week's print edition of The Stage or subscribe to our digital edition here.