Ty Jeffries is the songwriter and performer who brings recovering showgirl Miss Hope Springs to life. He’s the son of British film legend Lionel Jeffries, loves classic Hollywood movies and would love to visit 1920’s Berlin.
Where are you from originally?
Buckinghamshire but I spent a good deal of my childhood in Hollywood when my father was out there making movies. I’ve always thought of LA as a second home. I was there 18 months ago doing my show at The Gardenia Room. Juliet Mills was there and Fred Astaire’s daughter Ava (my godmother) Steve McQueen’s widow and Peggy Lee’s granddaughter Holly Foster-Wells amongst others… a magical night.
And where do you live now?
South West London. Much leafier and quieter than my previous flat in Sloane Square. I like the quirky independent restaurants, bars and arts venues. People are much more friendly out here.
What do you love about London and why?
To be honest I am a country person. I find the noise and hectic buzz exhausting. I need peace and quiet. I envy those who enjoy the hustle and bustle. I like it for a few hours then I need to get away.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
The first gay venue I went to I was barely legal! The Coleherne in Earls Court… back in the day when Earls Court was the ‘gay village’. It was a full on leather place. I went in a jacket shirt and tie. What a vision of innocence I must have been. That didn’t last long I can tell you!
Favourite club/bar/venue in London and why?
The Two Brewers. Jimmy Smith continues to make it a really exciting and welcoming venue with all kinds of cabaret and theatre in their back bar space from Pam Ann to The Golden Girls musical. Also my home from home Live at Zedel (Crazy Coqs) in Piccadilly where I continue to perform on a regular basis.
How would you describe Miss Hope Springs to an alien?
Miss Hope Springs IS an alien! Hope is a fading glamorpuss ex Vegas showgirl and singer songwriter plying her somewhat tarnished wears hoping that success will find her… She’s been at it since the sixt…I mean seventies.
What can you tell us about the new Miss Hope Springs show Vegas to Weimar?
The new show is a collection of songs I’ve written that have a Berlin Cabaret edge to them. So redolent of Brecht and Weil, Kander and Ebbm, a whiff of Marlene, Hildergarde Knef, and Lotte Lenya. I like to shake things up a little and felt with this show it was time to show a different side to Hope. Something darker and more dramatic…
What was the last theatre show you saw, and what did you think of it?
That I can remember? Amadeus at the National. Riveting.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Snuggling up in bed watching old Hollywood movies. Joan Crawford, Jean Arthur, Garbo, Dietrich, Myrna Loy. I never get tired of getting to glimpse back to those glory days of filmmaking.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
The gift of music. Which came down to me from both my maternal and paternal grandmothers, being able to play the piano and write melodies. I feel blessed that I get to earn my living doing it.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
My sold out solo show at the Wigmore Hall last year.
If you could go back in time which era would you choose and why?
Well as my new show is an homage to the Weimar Republic I will say the mid 1920s in Berlin. I’d love to spend some time there.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
It was the last night of my USA tour in 2016 and I’d just done a show at The Lincoln Centre. I was invited by Rumi Misabu – one of the original Cockettes (the 70s San Francisco genderblurring cabaret artists). The party afterwards was fabulous with wonderful artists there including Rumi and truly interesting people from that era and beyond. Exhausted I flew back the next day to London…
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Quentin Crisp, who I knew. A trailblazer for the LGBTQI of today. He was genuine maverick at a time when sexuality was taboo. He was brave and did it with great style and a lot of wit.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on Twitter?
Twitter is a chore but but I keep up with it as a useful tool.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
I am lucky to have travelled a lot in my youth both first class to the USA on the Queen Elizabeth to NYC then Magic Bus to Greece and Turkey in my late teens. Living in New York in the 80s when I was a model, Japan, Russia, and I lived in Paris for a year. I’d love to go to Iceland and other Scandinavian countries. I like their melancholy nature.
What is one thing you wish you had done when you were younger?