On the 4th Day of Broadway, we have Michael Xavier who is Fit4WestEnd & Fit4BRoadway!! Without a doubt, one of the highlights of my London summer was sitting in on a class led by Michael Xavier. Nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by magical musical theatre kids who inspire me to be more brave, honest, and vulnerable in pursuing my dreams as they are pursuing theirs! And you better believe my heart MELTED when one of the students knew about FFB!! It was so uplifting to see the exchange of positive energy between West End’s top artists, like Michael, and the talented youth who are well on their way to being alongside him on stage.
I first saw Michael perform at West End Live! (another London highlight) where he shared his passion for teaching the next generation of West End performers. Sitting down with him to chat all things West End was equally inspiring as he shares the same passion for living a healthy, active lifestyle as a performer in London.
I’m so grateful to share with you guys both his #FitforWestEnd story as well as his #FitforBroadway journey! Hope you guys enjoy another feature with a British accent and a few behind the scenes pictures of my day with Michael!
Literally hot off the press Michael is announcing today that he is opening a new Musical Theatre training programme called Musical Theatre Masterclass. For more information visit www.mtmasterclass.com.
NOTE FROM MICHAEL: Hi lovely readers of this fantastic blog! My name is Michael Xavier and I’m a British actor. I’m currently making my US debut in The Secret Garden as Archibald Craven at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC. My next project is to reprise my role of Joe Gillis in the Broadway transfer of Sunset Boulevard with Glenn Close. Keep following FFB for great advice and fun stuff regarding health and fitness from the entertainment industry!
Q: Michael! It’s so great to have a seasoned West End performer on FFB to share wisdom and tips about being Fit for The West End. And you’re busy prepping the next generation too! Let’s start at the beginning.. What was your journey to the West End & now Broadway?
A: Well firstly, thank you for having me on FFB and calling me “seasoned” rather than “old”, haha! My journey to the West End? An incredibly unorthodox one! I studied at Manchester Met University as an actor (I didn’t study Musical Theatre) and came to London with a crazy and completely ignorant idea that someone would ‘discover’ me. I had no money at all so I grabbed two jobs as soon as I got here – one in a call centre and the evening spent working behind a bar in Covent Garden – and grafted every day to earn enough to pay my rent. Luckily I managed to get an afternoon off the call centre and went to an open audition (I didn’t have an agent) for a fringe (the London equivalent of off Broadway) production of Pageant by Bill Russell. Bill took a chance on me and cast me in the show there and then so I have a lot to thank him for! This production transferred from a tiny pub theatre called the King’s Head in Islington to The Vaudeville Theatre in the West End. So I landed my first West End job without an agent or a clue! Now I’m lucky enough to have been part of a fantastic production of Sunset Boulevard with the wonderful Glenn Close which is transferring to The Palace Theater – my first experience of working on Broadway. It’s going to be an eye-opening venture!
Q: How has health and fitness been integrated into your journey as a performer?
A: When I first started out I didn’t have any understanding of health and fitness. I was very sporty when I was young so I had a basic level of fitness but I had no idea how important diet was to concentration and energy levels. Now I am very conscious of everything I eat and how much I exercise. It’s vital in this industry to stay physically and mentally sharp!
Q: You are also incredibly passionate about teaching, how has that impacted your career on stage and off?
A: Yes, I love supporting and inspiring young performers to develop their skills as actors and singers. I never had that help when I was young so I always wanted to give young performers an opportunity to understand how the industry works and what is required from them as professionals.
(I got to sit in during one of Michael’s teaching sessions when I was in London! -J.)
Q: In what ways are you adjusting your lifestyle habits to prepare for the transition from the West End to Broadway?
A: well initially, the jet lag was tricky as I rely on a good sleep each night and the allergies I had were affecting my voice. Now I’ve acclimatized I feel much happier. I’m exercising more now and eating better after a ‘no diet’ period!
Q: Top 3 tips for living a Fit for West End & Fit for Broadway Lifestyle?
A: Oh I could give 30 tips!! Ok, I’ll try and reduce it…
- Get enough sleep (7.5 hours is great).
- Drink more water (sip not gulp throughout the day) and less alcohol.
- Exercise daily at a high heart rate (some call this HIIT training).
- I’m sneaking in one more as it’s west end AND Broadway! Reduce the amount of sugar you eat! Refined sugar is a sneaky bugger because it gets in everything and is not good for you in high doses!