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Anthony Lyn

Another Swansea Theatrical success story is Anthony Lyn; born in Swansea in 1965 he grew up in Gendros. His love for the theatre was nurtured by his family visits to the Grand Theatre Pantomimes in the 1970’s. He joined the Gendros Amateur Catholic Operatic Society at a young age and appeared in some pantomimes staged at the Welfare Cinema in Ravenhill, he has fond memories of Jackie Thomas who would write sketches for the Pantomimes and Anthony would be in them. Anthony’s first performance at the Grand Theatre was with the Gendros Society in “Kismet” in 1980 followed by “Charley Girl” with the Abbey Players in the same year. Tommy Steele appeared at the Grand in May of 1980 and Anthony remembers being in the audience. During the performance Tommy Steele asked a little girl from the audience to come on stage to dance with him. After the routine he turned to her and said “when you tell your friends at school tomorrow that you danced with Tommy Steele they probably won’t believe you” that girl was Catherine Zeta Jones. Anthony appeared on stage with Catherine at the Grand in 1982 in  “The Sound Of Music”.He studied at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, in Cardiff.  In the early 1980’s he was asked by Brian Sullivan to host some shows at the Patti Pavilion in Swansea, including a variation on “Junior Showtime”. Anthony remembers an amusing incident at a senior citizen talent show he compered at The Patti,   “One of the acts was an old woman who was a blind contortionist! Unfortunately her moves did not come as easy to her as they had at one time, and being blind she did not know how close she was to the mics., and kept swearing as she tried to force herself into various positions - swearing that everyone could hear loud and clear”   This enabled Anthony to receive his Equity card, which was difficult to get in those days. Anthony was picked in 1986 to tour all around the country in “The Golden Years Of Music Hall” with Roy Hudd and at the end of 1986 he did the Pantomime “Puss in Boots” at the Kenneth More Theatre in Ilford – which was, and still is, run by Vivyan Ellacott, also in the cast was David Ian, who is a top Theatre impresario Producer today.   At the beginning of 1987 Bill Kenwright cast Anthony in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and he toured the country until he left the tour at his hometown of Swansea, his last night was at The Grand. Two days later he began rehearsals for his only Swansea Pantomime ”Dick Whittington”. He thoroughly enjoyed this experience and this inspired him to organise the show “A Night Of 100 Stars” on February 7th 1988, staged at The Grand. A glittering affair the like of which Swansea had not had before. With appearances by Catherine Zeta Jones, Ria Jones, David Ian, Ruth Madoc, Arwyn Davies (Ryan’s Son), John Champion, Vivyan Ellacott and his brother Nigel, now one half of the most famous “Ugly Sisters” in “Pantoland”. After this Anthony joined the cast of “One Night with Rogers and Hammerstein” which toured all over the country and was directed by Jamie Hammerstein (Oscar’s son). Anthony’s career was gathering pace and he joined the cast of “Oklahoma” at the Manchester Opera house in 1988. In early 1989 Anthony auditioned for “Anything Goes”. He was the first to audition and after some weeks was offered the part. “Anything Goes” opened on July 4th 1989 with Anthony playing alongside Elaine Paige and Bernard Cribbins. He also worked with John Barrowman who also appeared in the show at this time. In 1990 Anthony was looking for something different when he joined a cruise ship doing Broadway plays around the Caribbean, he did “Anything Goes” and played Teen Angel in “Grease” and a compilation show entitled “Everything’s Coming up Broadway” and thoroughly enjoyed his time on the cruises. On his return to the U.K. in 1992 he was offered a part in “Les Miserables”. Anthony started to direct small plays at this stage of his career, initially for small Drama groups and found that he had unearthed a talent for directing.  He next applied for a job as a director with Cameron Mackintosh, and got down to the final two. He was called back for a second interview and was told by Cameron that that the other candidate was better qualified than Anthony. He asked Anthony why he should pick him for the job. With nothing to lose Anthony said “you haven’t got where you are without taking risks, and I know with my hard work and determination I can be a success for you, and be a risk worth taking”. He got the job!   In 1999 Anthony was offered the great opportunity to work with Disney on the “Lion King” at the Lyceum Theatre in London, as assistant to Julie Taymor. Julie was the first woman to receive a “Tony” award for directing a Musical (The Lion King in  1997) it opened at the Lyceum in 1999 with Anthony as the resident DirectorToday Anthony is the director of “Mary Poppins” on Broadway. I find it quite common and rather sad that local talent has to do the hard yards and move away to find success before they are given any credit in their home City, perhaps its just a Welsh thing.Anthony was proud to direct the cast of Mary Poppins at the 2007 Tony Awards

Mary Poppins at the Tony Awards 2007