Quick Fire Questions with Ethan Le Phong!
It’s all happening for Ethan Le Phong at the moment. He’s part of the new visuals for West End Bares, which he’ll also appear in later this year, has a successful career and has just started his next venture as part of the new cast of Disney’s Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. It’s all come full circle for Ethan, who was inspired to follow his interest in performing as a kid by the Mickey Mouse Club. Not even Ethan could imagine that year’s later he’d be starring in one of Disney’s most loved productions. He has shown diversity throughout his roles and enjoyed much success so far. It also doesn’t hurt that he is easy on the eye and full of charm and confidence. It wasn’t always like this though. “I was actually a very quiet child so I think wanting to perform helped me come out of my shell” he recalls. So now that he’s fully out that shell, we decided to sit down one morning and take the time to get to know Ethan, his stand out moments and what he thinks on the important matters in life… boxers or briefs.
ETHAN LE PHONG
You get to play various characters and dive into personalities when you are performing
Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in acting and performing and how did it all start for you?
I left [Vietnam] when I was three to the States. I actually wanted to be a surgeon when I was younger but my interest in performing didn’t happen until I was around ten or eleven after seeing the new Mickey Mouse Club. I was actually a very quiet child so I think wanting to perform helped me come out of my shell.
Your confidence has definitely grown. Do you feel performing throughout your career has helped you grow as a person?
I think so. You get to play various characters and dive into personalities when you are performing, and then sometimes you put your own personalities into your character or develop what is needed to make the character become a real person. I think that as a performer you are more in tune with the psyche of people. So yes, I think it does make me a better person and a better performer.
Speaking of characters, you’ve played some amazing ones of the years. Are there any roles that were particularly special to you?
My recent take on Thuy in Miss Saigon has to top the list. Such a complex man to play and it was fascinating. Well, one being that it’s one of my favourite musicals and I’m proud that I am the first Vietnamese actor to play him. Another challenging role would have to be Pippin at East West Players. I was hired as their stand-by for both Pippin and Leading Players but then a twist of fate in previews, led to me taking over the role. So much went into preparing for the role in such a small amount of time. The universe gave me this opportunity and I took it. Stephan Schwartz was to be at opening night so no pressure (laughing)! I pulled it off and it became one of my favourite roles to date. Another has to be Luntha in the King and I. Only because I got to sing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
Gosh, to be honest I’m still frightened every time I have to take off my clothes
What would be your dream role to play?
Well I can’t wait to go on as Aladdin. I can’t wait to play the staple roles like The Engineer, or the King in the King and I when I get older. Phantom would be amazing. And to be in a Star Wars movie!
Speaking of Aladdin it must be exciting to take on a Disney role that’s so iconic to people?
The expectations are very high and Dean is doing an amazing job. We are in cover rehearsals at the moment and what is nice is to watch the other covers bring these characters to life and to create our own version or take on it. I hope people will be able to relate to and enjoy my version of Aladdin when I go on.
You are also not shy showing off your body. We’ve seen you in “Naked Boys Singing” and stripping for Mad Trust’s West End Bares. Where does that confidence in your own skin come from and what is it like doing things like that?
Gosh, to be honest I’m still frightened every time I have to take off my clothes but… I think, I know what the job requires when we have to do such things as Naked Boys Singing and West End Bares. I think I just throw it off the cuff, take a chance and just enjoy being naked because we were born that way. And just like Samantha in Sex and the City… You want to take a picture of your body when it’s young because when you get older everything drops. So while I can still look decent naked, I’ll do it. And besides I just love being naked… It’s freeing.
It’s Quick Fire Time…
Favourite place on earth?
Hmm favourite place on earth… It would have to be a beach.
Boxers or Briefs?
Go to song in the shower?
And I am Telling You!
Who’s the best kiss you’ve ever had?
Ugh, so many. Can’t pin them all down.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
Easy. Ryan Reynolds.
When was the last time you got naked?
What’s your favourite part on your body?
My ears? They’re so tiny.
What do you find gets the most compliments?
Oh, my BUTT. (laughing!) Thanks to them dance classes.
Man-scaping or natural?
If there was a show about your life what would it be called?
Hmmmm… This is hard. Ok, I would say ‘The Naked Foreigner’ (laughing).
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
(Laughing) I can’t tell you that. Not online.
Favourite work out?
The Colour Purple.
Last time you cried?
I think closing night of Miss Saigon. Tears of joy that I’ve done it.
What makes you laugh?
In the next five years you’d like to be…
Still working and doing what I love… with a bigger paycheck. Or have won the lotto and retired to Hawaii.
And whats the lasting impression you’d like to leave our readers?
That I’m fun, carefree kinda guy that you would want to cuddle up. (I think I wrote this on my Tinder profile?)
For details on how to see Ethan in Aladdin visit: www.aladdinthemusical.co.uk
Credit for photo shoot photos goes to original photographer. Selfies provided to Craig Andrew James by Ethan Le Phong.