The Belfast School of Performing Arts were privileged to have Simon Bowman launch their Northern Ireland Premier of Miss Saigon SE in August 2014. Simon is perhaps best known for creating the role of Chris in the original London production of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which opened in September 1989. He received widespread acclaim for his performance, playing the role for around 1000 performances. He has since played many of the best leading roles in the West End including the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.
Simon went to Mountview Theatre School in North London and in 1982 he graduated, aged 21, with an acting diploma. It was a straight acting course and he was doing Chekhov, Shaw, Ibsen and Shakespeare and played such diverse roles as John Procter in The Crucible and Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar. In the whole three years they only did one musical, West Side Story, and he played Tony. However, interestingly, sometime later Mountview closed and moved and it became an acting and musical theatre school.
When Simon finished at Mountview he wasn’t really expecting a career in musicals. However, the 80’s was a time when big things were happening in the musical theatre world and there were many exciting opportunities. He landed his first major role with the London Players Theatre Company in Villiers Street within days of finishing drama college. Other roles quickly followed and in 1985 he gained rave reviews as the young Elvis in Are You Lonesome Tonight? He went on to play a wide variety of leading West End roles as well as doing television and concerts both in the UK and all over the world.
Simon’s Theatre Credits include:
London Players Theatre Company
Narrator in Paddington Bear (UK Tour)
Blondel (Old Vic and Aldwych Theatre)
Eddie in Mack and Mabel (Aldwych Theatre)
Young Elvis in the award winning Are You Lonesome Tonight? (original cast, Phoenix Theatre)
Marius in Les Misérables (Palace Theatre)
Vernon Gersh in They’re Playing Our Song (Olympia Theatre, Dublin)
Kangaroo in Just So (Watermill Theatre, Newbury)
Chris in Miss Saigon (original West End Cast, Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Poetry in Motion (Richmond)
Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre)
Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre)
Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (Palace Theatre, 2000; Queen’s Theatre, 2004; and Oct 2009 to June 2011)
Che in Evita (Douglas, Isle of Man)
Elvis in This is Elvis (UK tour)
Colonel Luke Gibson in The Prodigals (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry)