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Francis Martin "Fra" Fee (born 20 May 1987, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland) is an actor and singer, best known for playing Courfeyrac in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of Les Misérables.[1][2][3] Most recently he originated the role of Michael Carney in Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman at the Royal Court Theatre & West End, directed by Sam Mendes, for which he won the 2018 Whatsonstage Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play.[4]

Fra Fee
Fee in 2016 - Photo by Ruth Crafer.jpg
Fee in 2016.
Born
Francis Martin Fee

(1987-05-20) 20 May 1987 (age 32)
Dungannon, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
EducationUniversity of Manchester
Royal Academy of Music (2009)
OccupationActor
Years active2009–present

BackgroundEdit

Fee, born in Dungannon, County Tyrone and raised in rural Killyman, attended school at St. Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, performed regularly with Bardic Theatre in his early days before taking up music at the University of Manchester[5] before studying at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating in 2009.[6] In 2014 Fee was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Professional careerEdit

Fee appeared in numerous productions at Belfast's Grand Opera House in conjunction with the Welsh National Opera, including The Beggar's Opera, The Mikado, Sweeney Todd, as well as a production of The Elixir of Love as Nemorino, directed by John Doyle. In 2004, he was a guest soloist for Irish tenor Ronan Tynan in Tynan's Dublin concert, titled "The Impossible Dream". Immediately following his graduation from the Royal Academy of Music, Fee was cast as Billy Kostecki in the West End production of Dirty Dancing.[7]

He played Schlomo in the RTÉ Irish tour of FAME, before essaying the title role in Aladdin at Dublin's Gaiety Theatre. From June 2011 to 2012 he played Jean Prouvaire, and covered the roles of Marius and Enjolras in Les Misérables at the Queens Theatre, London. During his time in the West End production, Fee was cast as Courfeyrac in Tom Hooper's Les Misérables,[8] starring alongside Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert.[9]

From November to December 2012, Fee played Florizel in Howard Goodall's professional world premiere of A Winter's Tale.[10]

Fee played Young Buddy in Stephen Sondheim's Follies at the Toulon Opera in March 2013,[11] before playing Robbie in A Man of No Importance for Salisbury Playhouse.[12][13]

On 16 June 2013, he portrayed Henrik Egerman in a special concert performance of Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, starring alongside Janie Dee, David Birell and Joanna Riding.[14] On 2 August 2013, Fee was a guest soloist for BBC Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night singing America's Greatest Broadway Hits.[15]

Fee starred in the title role of Candide at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, alongside Scarlett Strallen as Cunegonde and David Thaxton as Maximillian, from 23 November 2013 to 22 February 2014.[16] He later starred as Philip Ashley in Dublin's Gate Theatre production of Dame Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel, adapted for the stage by Joseph O'Connor at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina as part of the Spoleto Festival USA from 22 May to 8 June 2014.[17] In September 2014, he filmed the role of Kieran in Tom Lawes' forthcoming psychological thriller Monochrome, starring Jo Woodcock, Cosmo Jarvis and James Cosmo.[18]

On 26 January 2015, Fee reprised the role of Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music for one night only at the Palace Theatre in London's West End, reunited with previous co-stars Janie Dee as Desiree, David Birell as Frederick, Joanna Riding as Countess Malcolm as well as new cast members Jamie Parker as Carl Magnus and Anne Reid as Madame Armfeldt.[19]

Fee made his Shakespeare debut as Romeo in Dublin's Gate Theatre's production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Wayne Jordan from March 2015 to May 2015.[20]

In June 2015, Fee returned to Belfast to take up the roll of Jamie in a production of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years directed by Stephen Whitson, working alongside fellow West End actress Amy Lennox.[21]

From September 2015 to 5 March 2016, Fee played the role of Amiens in Polly Findlay's production of As You Like It at the National Theatre in London starring Rosalie Craig as Rosalind.[22] During this period he also played Man 2 in Stephen Sondheim's review Putting It Together at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, directed by Stephen Whitson (December 2015).[23]

Fra originated the role of Mole in the new musical adaptation of The Wind in the Willows with music by George Stiles, lyrics by Anthony Drewe and a book by Julian Fellowes in a production that starred Rufus Hound as Toad from August to November 2016.

In April 2017, he originated the role of Michael Carney in The Ferryman at the Royal Court Theatre, ahead of a transfer to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.[24] Fra played his final performance in the West End production on 6 January 2018. For his performance as Michael Carney in The Ferryman Fra was awarded the 2018 Whatsonstage award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play.[25]

In the spring of 2018 he was filming the role of Jim in the movie adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth's novel Animals, directed by Sophie Hyde, starring alongside Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat. Filming took place in Dublin.[26]

He performed the role of Chip in John Wilson's production of Leonard Bernstein's On The Town on 25 August 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall, having performed two weeks earlier in the same venue as one of the Jets in John Wilson's production of West Side Story.[27][28]

FilmographyEdit

Awards and reviewsEdit

Year Award Category Film Result
2012 National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Best Acting by an Ensemble Les Misérables Won
Best Ensemble
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Performance Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Ensemble, Motion Picture Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Acting Ensemble
2013 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
(Source: IMDb.com)

Reviewing Candide for the New York Times, Ben Brantley wrote that "Mr. Fee proved himself a most ingenious practitioner of ingenuousness, with a glorious tenor voice."[30] Also reviewing for Candide Libby Purves noted that "Fra Fee from Dungannon is a real find: innocent elfin face but a voice so deep, honeyed and flawless that your heart melts.[31] Reviewing My Cousin Rachel at the Dock Street Theatre, Charleston, Debra Charlton wrote "Playing the protagonist of this taut drama, Fra Fee portrays Philip's tormented journey through desire, guilt and suspicion with keen sensitivity and detail. His tour de force performance demonstrates immense emotional range and admirable control."[32] "Fra Fee as Philip Ashley does most of the heavy lifting in My Cousin Rachel. Rarely offstage during the entire two-plus-hour performance, Fee’s stamina is incredible. Without melodrama, he convincingly portrays his character’s appropriately gothic emotional swings and perfectly captures Philip’s tragic flaw of youthful impulsiveness." (Elizabeth Pandolfi – Charleston City Paper)[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Adair, Gordon. "Les Miserables: Fra Fee on his role in the upcoming blockbuster". BBC News. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  2. ^ Tyrone Times profile of Fee, tyronetimes.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Tyrone man' starring role in Les Mis, BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  4. ^ "Winners of the 18th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards announced: David Tennant and Olivia Colman win". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Music graduate Fra Fee stars in Les Mis, musicatmanchester.blogspot.fr, February 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  6. ^ Fee's homecoming premiere at newsletter.co.uk
  7. ^ Fee cast as Billy Kostecki in the West End production of Dirty Dancing, accessmylibrary.com. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  8. ^ Fee profile at classicfm.com
  9. ^ Fra Fee profile, spotlight.com. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Helena Blackman, Alastair Brookshaw, Fra Fee, and Pete Gallagher announced for A Winter's Tale", westend.broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  11. ^ Toulon Opera website. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  12. ^ Fra Fee in A Man of No Importance, whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  13. ^ Review of the musical version of A Man of No Importance Archived 15 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine, salisburyplayhouse.com. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  14. ^ "Fra Fee to feature with Holly Conrad, Austin Jones, Joanna Riding and Hadley Fraser in A Little Night Music", Playbill. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  15. ^ Fee profile, BBC. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  16. ^ Fra Fee to star in Candide, along with Scarlett Strallen, David Thaxton, Ben Lewis, and Cassidy Janson, Playbill. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  17. ^ Spoleto Festival USA website. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  18. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4078162/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1
  19. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/casting-announced-for-west-end-concert-performance-of-a-little-night-music-332927
  20. ^ http://www.gatetheatre.ie/production/RomeoandJuliet2015
  21. ^ "The Last Five Years – Lyric Theatre, Belfast". 1 July 2015.
  22. ^ http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/as-you-like-it?cast
  23. ^ http://www.bluntfringe.com/shows/2015/12/9/sondheims-putting-it-together
  24. ^ "Cast and West End transfer confirmed for Sam Mendes' The Ferryman". WhatsOnStage.com. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Winners of the 18th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards announced: David Tennant and Olivia Colman win". WhatsOnStage.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Grainger, Shawkat star in Sophie Hyde's Dublin-set comedy 'Animals'". IF Magazine. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  27. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ef9mzc
  28. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/events/eq4fbp
  29. ^ a b c Fa Free on IMDb
  30. ^ http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/london-theater-journal-stripped-of-illusions-but-still-glittering-and-gay/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
  31. ^ "http://theatrecat.com/tag/candide/
  32. ^ http://www.broadwayworld.com/south-carolina/article/BWW-Reviews-Dublins-Gate-Theatre-Presents-MY-COUSIN-RACHEL-at-the-Spoleto-Festival-20140528
  33. ^ http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/kissing-cousins/Content?oid=4926206

External linksEdit