Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Favourite Actor

To break the summer silence, here's something that got buried in my blog's drafts folder last winter: a little ode to my favourite musical actor.

Let's start with a quote Kaisa wrote at Being Alive last February (my translation):
How can it be that Tuukka Leppänen still hasn't risen to greater fame? Leppänen has loads of charisma, sexiness, looks and singing skills, and he knows exactly how to use all that onstage.
I couldn't agree more. Tuukka Leppänen has been my favourite actor from the day I fell in love with musical theatre.

That backflip alone convinced me
that this is an actor I should like.

I was 15 years old when I saw my first Finnish live musical, Cats in Lahden kaupunginteatteri. The whole first act, I felt like flying. I loved everything I saw and heard. The Jellicle Ball transported me from my seat to some other universe. It was one of the rare occasions I completely forgot where I am and just enjoyed everything. But during the second act, one cat especially started to catch my attention...

When I saw Cats, I didn't quite understand you can see the same show more than once. Apparently, I also thought actors vanish from the face of earth after doing one role. The day after turning into a musical fan, I remember feeling devastated. Heartbroken. I was so sure I was never going to see either Cats or that one especially amazing actor again. The former was bad enough, but the latter... I was close to tears.

In less than a month's time, I sat in Lahden kaupunginteatteri's auditorium again, and knew exactly which cat to keep my eyes on for the whole performance.

It seems Tuukka Leppänen can do anything: act, sing, dance... But most of all, does he have some charisma. No other actor I've seen has the stage presence that Tuukka has. Some come close, but to me, Tuukka's the ultimate I-could-watch-him-read-from-the-phone-book-and-still-be-entertained actor. Even though, in my opinion, some the characters he's played lately have been on the boring side – his performance never is. No matter who he plays, I feel for the character. I fall a little in love every time I see him onstage and regret each chance to see him I've missed (oh, Spring Awakening, you and your treacherous double casting!).

However. Returning to Kaisa's words I quoted in the beginning...
How can it be that Tuukka Leppänen still hasn't risen to greater fame?

Maybe I've just been hanging in the wrong circles and reading the wrong things... But I can't help wondering along with Kaisa: how come there hasn't been an article about Tuukka Leppänen in every Finnish women's magazine already? There's hope in the horizon, though. Tuukka has been cast in the title role of Helsingin kaupunginteatteri's upcoming, much-advertised production of Doctor Zhivago the Musical.

If the whole Finland isn't fawning over my favourite next fall, I don't know what has went wrong.

Some define being a fan not as being there from the beginning but staying there until the end. I think there's a point in that. As for us, who've been fans ever since we first fell in love with musical theatre... As long as your musical has Tuukka Leppänen in it, I'll be there.


Photo credits: first photo unknown / Lahden kaupunginteatteri, second photo Maari Järvinen / Helsingin kaupunginteatteri.
I've been waiting for an interview with Tuukka Leppänen I could fangirl over for five years soon. If I'm mistaken and one has been released somewhere, please let me know...

1 comment:

  1. Hear hear, girl! Kyllä, nyt on aika koko kansan tajuta! Eiköhän toi Zivago sen teekin, eiköhän. :)