Sharon D. Clarke
|Sharon D. Clarke|
Sharon Delores Clarke (born 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.
Other 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.
She has appeared as a guest on The Paul O'Grady Show and sang the "O'Grady, O'Grady" song to celebrate the 500th show. She has also made appearances on Children in Need for the BBC, performing as Killer Queen with the cast of We Will Rock You and also singing with her Holby City co-stars.
On 10 August 2010, Clarke appeared in an episode of The Bill, "Death Knock" as brothel owner Denise Jones.
Clarke has also appeared in West End theatre. Her roles include 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.
She 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.
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. She played the role of Motormouth Maybelle, alongside Phill Jupitus and Brian Conley as Edna Turnblad.
She was Davina the Diva Harp in Jack and the Beanstalk and 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.
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.
In October 2010, the Apollo Victoria Theatre, home to the musical Wicked celebrated its 80th anniversary and Clarke appeared 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 in 2012 for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical  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". 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.