Faye Tozer first flew into the public consciousness as one fifth of the much-loved band Steps in the late 1990s, but she has also forged an impressive nearly two-decade long career in musical theatre alongside the band’s continuing success. She’s now touring the UK in 42nd Street which comes to Wales Millennium Centre from 14th to 19th August 2023. We caught up with Faye to hear all about those dancing feet, and what makes 42nd Street so special to her.
Audiences may know you best for your time in Steps, but you’re a hugely experienced musical theatre performer. What was the transition into musical theatre like for you? Are there many similarities?
I was very lucky to get my first musical in 2004 which was Tell Me On A Sunday, but I actually wanted to get into musical theatre from a really young age. It was amazing having Steps come first, and then having a wonderful life in musical theatre as well. The transition for me was quite interesting, mostly because of how people initially perceived me, but it’s been so wonderful to be somebody who surprises audience members who might have a preconceived idea of me. I just absolutely absorb myself in the show and in my love of theatre and I’m so lucky to tread the boards in between the times that I’m with Steps.
Steps are of course hugely well loved by fans for their choreographed routines, and 42nd Street shares a love of dance. What is it about dance that you particularly enjoy, and are there any aspects that you find more challenging?
As Steps we are of course well known for our dance routines, but dance for me has always been such a hugely special thing in my life because I just feel so joyful when I dance. My Mum sent me and my sister to dance school when we were tiny to burn off all our energy but it’s so much more than that. It’s just joyful to watch people dance and do it so brilliantly as well. To be part of 42nd Street which is all to do with dance and tap is like my childhood self’s dream! When I was about 12 years old, we performed some numbers from 42nd Street so the fact that I’m now doing it as a professional is such a wonderful full circle moment. It’s dreamy to watch the ensemble perform all these incredible numbers every night.
Your character of Maggie Jones is the writing partner of Bert Barry, played by entertainment icon, Les Dennis. What’s it been like working with Les?
Oh, wonderful Les! Les and I actually have a little bit of history via Steps because he came and did a sketch for us for Steps Into Summer, a television programme we did. Over the years I’ve bumped into him at gameshows and things but what a joy to be sharing the stage with him, and what an absolute pro he is!
You’re experienced at touring life both as a musician and theatre performer, what are some of your must-have items for life on the road, and is there anything you like to do when you arrive in each town or city?
I am an absolute pro when it comes to touring as I’ve been touring since I was 18! I always have a prepped bathroom bag with all my bottles ready to go – when I come home at the weekend I fill the bottles back up and then they go back in the bag. I’ve got different bags for different sizes of cases as well, and I’ve got my magic overnight bag ready to go. In terms of things I like to take with me, I have a tiny speaker which is amazing and I’ve got a plug that has all my leads in it ready to go, so I can just plug it in at the hotel or wherever and I know I can charge my watch, my phone, my iPad. I always take my iPad with me when travelling so it’s loaded with all the programmes I’m watching just in case I get stuck on a journey!
You’re a very busy person, and touring life is busy too, what do you like to do during your downtime or do you have anything planned for when you next have a break?
In my downtime I love to be at home, cuddle my son, my dogs, and my husband, and just enjoy really normal things at home. I’m so blessed to live 10-minutes from the sea, so going down to the beach and just getting fresh sea air is incredible. If I’m in London or around friends then I love to catch a show, I’m a huge fan of musicals so I see as many as I can and of course I love good food and good company, just catching up with friends is so lovely.
With the wealth of experience you’ve since gained, is there any piece of advice you’d go back and give your younger self at the start of your career in music and theatre?
That’s an interesting question. I think if I could have told myself, my 18-year-old self, anything I’d say to enjoy life a bit more and not take it so seriously, and also not compare myself to other people and find joy in what makes me a bit different. The thing is though, that’s nice advice to give but part of your learning and growing up is going through all those things. All the things we might call mistakes are important life experiences that teach us where we could be going forward to. Overall, I just feel really happy and blessed to be where I am. I’m proud of my career so far, and also incredibly excited by what I’m able to be doing right now!