Sharon D. Clarke
|Sharon D. Clarke|
28 May 1966 |
Sharon Delores Clarke (born 28 May 1966, in London) is a British theatre and television actress and singer known for her role as Lola Griffin in the medical drama Holby City and for taking lead roles in many West End musicals including originating the role of the Killer Queen in Ben Elton and Queen's hit musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre and originating the role of Oda Mae Brown in the musical Ghost the Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre
Clarke is most popularly known for her role in the BBC medical drama Holby City in which she played Lola Griffin, a doctor with ancestors from Ghana. She left the programme in 2008 to concentrate on her theatre work.
Other notable television roles include the character of Gran'Ma Flossie in the CBBC show The Crust. In 2008, Clarke sat alongside Russell Watson as a judge on the BBC talent show Last Choir Standing. Clarke's other TV credits include: Waking the Dead, Soldier Soldier, Broken Glass, Between the Lines, Children's Ward, Stop, Look & Listen Mary Seacole, Past Caring, The Singing Detective, EastEnders and Where's Boo.
Clarke has also appeared as a guest on Ready Steady Cook hosted by Ainsley Harriott representing Holby City in 2008 and worked with chef Garrey Dawson to create a Duck and Sweetcorn broth. Clarke (a Red Tomato) won the show managing to beat her opponent Luke Roberts by one point.
Clarke has appeared as a guest on The Paul O'Grady Show and ceremoniously sang the "O'Grady, O'Grady" song to celebrate the 500th show. Clarke has also made appearances on Children in Need for the BBC. She sang in character as Killer Queen with the cast of We Will Rock You and more recently singing with her Holby City co-stars.
On 10 August 2010, Clarke appeared in an episode of The Bill, "Death Knock" as Denise Jones, who runs a brothel at which one of the prostitutes is involved in accident.
On 24 January 2011, Clarke appeared in EastEnders, as Connor Stanley's mother Kendra. In May 2011, Clarke starred in the BBC drama The Shadow Line as Mrs. Dixon appearing in episodes 2 and 3. Her performance along with the rest of the cast received high praise for the series.
Clarke is also noted for her West End theatre work. She has played many roles, including General Cartwright in Guys and Dolls (1996), Joanne Jefferson in Rent at the Shaftesbury Theatre (1998), and Miss Sherman in Fame (1999). She played Rafiki in The Lion King from 2000-2002 at the Lyceum Theatre and in 2004 played the character of Matron Mama Morton in Chicago.
Clarke originated the role of Killer Queen in the Ben Elton/Queen jukebox musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre alongside Alexander Hanson as Commander Khashoggi, for which she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Mazz Murray her understudy, took over the role in 2004 and played the role up until maternity leave in 2010 where Brenda Edwards took over the role.
In 2008, Clarke made her pantomime début in the Hackney Empire's 'Mother Goose'. She starred in Once on This Island in Birmingham at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. She was also set to star in The Vagina Monologues and Once on This Island at the Hackney Empire in 2009. Clarke finished starring in the massively successful hit musical Hairspray when it closed on 28 March 2010 at the Shaftesbury Theatre due to a UK tour. She played the role of Motormouth Maybelle, alongside Phill Jupitus and Brian Conley as Edna Turnblad.
Clarke's vocal talents were heard as Davina the Diva Harp in Jack and the Beanstalk and as Carmina the Camel in Aladdin both at the Hackney Empire. In July 2010, Clarke appeared in a one-off performance at the Hackney Empire called Sounds Like Hackney alongside Clive Rowe. The show featured a wide range of songs spanning many genres.
Clarke made an appearance at Music on the Farm held at Battlers Green Farm in aid of charity singing hits from musicals that she has starred in. Her spot included "When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago, "Big Blonde and Beautiful" from Hairspray, "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King and "Seasons of Love" from Rent.
In October 2010, the Apollo Victoria Theatre, home to the musical Wicked celebrated its 80th anniversary and Clarke lent her vocal talents, appearing as a guest performer alongside other stars such as Wayne Sleep.
2011 saw Clarke take the role of Oda Mae Brown in a musical adaptation of the film Ghost. Beginning previews in March at the Manchester Opera House, the show transferred in June 2011 to the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre replacing Grease. Clarke was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for a second time, losing out on the award to Nigel Harman for his role in Shrek the Musical.
Clarke achieved chart success with the FPI Project's remake of Going Back to My Roots and in Nomad with the singles "(I Wanna Give You) Devotion" and "Just a Groove", the latter of which sold over two million singles worldwide.
Clarke was also part of the female vocal group Sixchix, formed for the Eurovision Song Contest 2000. They came second in the UK selection with the song "Only the Women Know" written by Katrina and the Waves member Kimberley Rew. They were beaten by Nikki French singing "Don't Play That Song Again" which went on to Stockholm to finish 16th.
As well as appearing on the original cast recordings for Once On This Island, Stepping Out, We Will Rock You and Ghost The Musical, Sharon D. Clarke recorded the title song on Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind album alongside other West End stars including Kerry Ellis, Ricardo Afonso and Daniel Boys.