West End musical performer who began his career in Cats, Miss Saigon, Starlight Express and later starred in Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne
Nolan Frederick, who has died from cancer at the age of 56, was a vital, vivacious presence in West End musicals over the past 30 years widely admired for his resonant singing voice and for his dexterous physicality as a dancer.
Of British-Trinidadian descent, after training at New York’s Tisch School for the Performing Arts, he made his London debut as Coricopat and Rum Tum Tugger in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats at the New London (now Gillian Lynne) Theatre in 1983.
He went on to appear in many of Theatreland’s most popular shows, including Miss Saigon (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1993), the 1997 nationwide tour of Clarke Peters’ Five Guys Named Moe, the second, revised version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express (Apollo Victoria, London, 1998) and the same year’s salute to Cameron Mackintosh, Hey, Mr Producer!, at London’s Lyceum Theatre.
He appeared in multiple roles in Jonathan Larson’s Rent – his HIV/AIDS-era reworking of Puccini – (Shaftesbury Theatre, London, 1999), as Paul in Michael Blakemore’s admired 2001 revival of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate at the Victoria Palace Theatre, in Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre (2003) and in the spectacular staging of Show Boat at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006.
The same year he continued his association, begun with Cats and Starlight Express, with Trevor Nunn in the Gershwin brothers’ Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, reuniting with the director in 2008 for Margaret Martin’s musical adaptation of Gone With the Wind at the New London Theatre.
In 2010, he was seen in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins (Union Theatre, London) and the Sheffield Crucible revival of Me and My Girl, touring the following year in Sister Act.
Recent appearances in musicals included The Pajama Game (London’s Old Vic, directed by Richard Eyre, 2014), Laurence O’Keefe’s Bat Boy (Southwark Playhouse, 2015), Daniel Evans’ 2015 revival of Show Boat and Ragtime at the Charing Cross Theatre in 2016.
He also played Bill Devaney in a five-month-long Chinese tour of The Bodyguard in 2017.
As a straight actor, he was seen in Adrian Noble’s 2000 staging for the Royal Shakespeare Company of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector (Chichester Festival Theatre, 2005), Jimmy McGovern and Howard Goodall’s King Cotton (Lowry, 2007), as Rameses in the 2013 Australian tour of Horrible Histories and as Leon Delroy in Barrie Keeffe’s Sus with the Liverpool-based Enthusiastic Theatre Company in 2014.
Nolan Frederick was born on December 24, 1963 and died on April 25.