Monday 15 April 2019

Dirty Dancing Live - An Interview With The Stars

Over the past...well almost five years now...I think I can count the amount of "without children" social events I've attended on just one hand.

Certainly since having Willow in 2015 I haven't had a "night off" or a "night out" and there's been zero - not one - "date nights" for myself and the Hubby and that's for a whole host of reasons which I won't delve into here.

...B U T...

This Wednesday - Wednesday 17th April 2019 - we are actually heading out, together, on our own - not all night and not anywhere too far away - but it is certainly going to be an epic night that's for sure.

The fabulous people at The Victoria Theatre Halifax have asked us along - all VIP like - to their fantastic performance of Dirty Dancing.


The film that made my childhood.

The film where, no matter the occasion, if my Grandma had a house party (and she did, often!) the children would all congregate in the dining room whilst the adults were in the living room and Dirty Dancing would always be on towards the end of the night, and without fail for the finale, for THAT epic end dance, all the women would race from the living room and make sure they shoved us out of the way to watch it all.

It was just amazing.

And Wednesday will be too - I just know it.

And to give me a little "before show taster" I have been sent a syndicate transcript of an interview which was taken with the actual cast of the show and, because I'm nice like that, I'm popping it here to share with you.

Oh and there are still tickets available for the show too - which will be running from 17th - 20th April 2019 - so contact The Victoria Theatre's box office now to book - 01422 351158.





How does it feel taking on such iconic roles?
Michael: Once you get over the fact that it’s quite a daunting role to take on because it’s so well-
known it’s just really exciting. Everyone is so familiar with the show and they’re so familiar with
the characters that you’re just excited to do it justice, you’re ready to put in the work and bring it
to life.
Simone: I agree. It’s so exciting. Being able to play such an iconic role in a show that brings the
movie to life on stage is an amazing privilege.
Kira: It is really exciting but of course there’s also a lot of pressure to do the characters justice
because they are so well-known and so iconic.

What’s your approach in terms of bringing a fresh take to the characters?
Kira: I don’t want to stray too far from what Jennifer Grey did in the film because I personally feel
the choices she makes are things I’d do as well. Although I’m being a bit bolder with the choices so
when she’s being sexy, I want people to be able to see that “Baby” can be really sexy, fiery and
smart - to really show the depths to her.
Michael: It’s about ‘How would I behave if I was in the same situations?’ That frees you up to bring
something of yourself to the role, to put elements of yourself into the portrayal.
Simone: It’s about thinking ‘What would I do in this situation?’ whilst thinking about Penny and
the era in which the story is set, namely 1963. It’s such a different time to now and what she goes through is quite heavy so to think ‘How would I feel if I was in that time and that situation?’ is a
great help because in real life I have a very different personality to her.

In what ways can you relate to your characters? And in what ways are they completely
Simone: The big red flag for me is what Penny goes through. She’s in quite a sticky situation and
has to make some big decisions. I feel she’s quite isolated and that’s a struggle for me to
understand because I’ve never really been isolated myself or had to make massive decisions that
would have such a major effect on my life. But I love the fieriness of her, although it’s hard being
mean to Kira on stage when we get on so well, I can relate to her passion for dance.
Kira: I’m not proud to say it but I’m not like Baby in terms of education. She knows a lot about
politics and what goes on in the world but I feel I’m not in touch with that side of myself as much.
But I do feel quite similar to her in that I remember when I was 17 and the first time I fell in love
and doing so much to be close to that person - things I’d never think to do on a regular basis just
to be with someone. I also relate to the closeness she feels with her family.
Michael: Obviously Johnny in the show is a dancer and I trained in dance myself so that’s kind of
the hook I latch onto. We come from a similar background, with the training everyone has to go
through, but fortunately I haven’t gone through the serious, crippling financial situation Johnny
has been through or the unexplained relationship with his dad and the fact his mum is never
mentioned. That’s a whole grey area that we don’t even know about and it’s a part of the
character that I have to work to understand.

How is the classic story recreated on stage?
Kira: The script is the same as the film scene-by-scene, with a few extra little surprises in there,
and I feel it’s done really well. The set is a smaller replica of the actual Kellerman’s resort and in
fact there are three big trucks they use for the staff quarters, the inside and outside of the hotel
and the resort cabins. The music, of course, is so iconic and it’s done so well with the live band
being on stage. They are fantastic musicians.
Michael: The team do such a good job of bringing the story to the stage so it’s like reliving the film
live. You’ve got all the dances, all the music, the band’s on stage kicking butt - it’s such a fun show.

Can you recall when you first saw the film and the impact it had on you?
Kira: I vividly remember watching it on videotape because my mum had it and I remember
watching the dance scenes in the staff quarters and I was like ‘Oh my God!’ So I knew exactly how
Baby feels when she goes to the resort. It was mesmerising.
Michael: I remember my mum watching it when I was really young and being like ‘That’s not my
type of film’ as I went off to play sports or whatever. Then I revisited it when I got into the dance
industry more and I was like ‘Actually, it’s a really cool film’. The more time I spent in rehearsals
looking through the script, which is the same as the film, we talked a lot about it being about
bravery and becoming the person you want to be, regardless of your situation and people telling
you you can’t. That’s very inspiring and I think that’s why it has done so well.
Simone: When I saw it I was like ‘I just want to be a part of this, to just be in there’ especially with
scenes like Do You Love Me? where they’re just having a party and I remember watching the
Mambo and thinking ‘My goodness, I want to do that!’ and now I get to do it.

Michael and Kira, how much pressure is there to get the legendary lift right?
Kira: It’s a huge pressure because everyone is waiting for that lift. It’s so iconic to the film, isn’t it?
But when it comes to recreating it, I trust Michael. I trust that even if I fall he’ll have my back, but
touch wood nothing’s gone wrong yet.
Michael: The fun bit is when we do the lift in the water, which is done by visual effects. That’s fun
because it’s where you get to mess it up and go wrong.

What other challenges does the show present for you physically?
Kira: I’m a trained dancer, but I have to appear like I’m not. I have to reverse everything I’ve been
taught and make it look bad, without making it look like I’m trying to be bad.
Simone: The Mambo is quite challenging. It sort of comes out of nowhere and is really explosive
and fast-paced.
Michael: It’s a very dance-heavy show, as you’d expect, but I don’t think I realised quite how
dance-heavy it is until we started rehearsals. There are a few numbers back to back and you’re
dripping with sweat, like ‘Oh man, we’ve got to go on for the next number’ before you’ve even got
into the next costume. Physically it’s a tough show but that’s why we do it - we love that

And what are the emotional challenges?
Michael: All of our characters have a moment where we have to go to that place emotionally and
it’s always a challenge, but as an actor I feel like those are the fun moments too because they’re
the moments where you can be brave enough to go to that place and feel all those feelings. You
trust the audience is there with you and your partner is with you on stage emotionally too.
Simone: I think most of us break down into tears at some point in the show and you don’t want to
make it look fake so you have to make it as real as possible. When you come off stage after a
scene like that, you just have to shake it off because you get really emotional. It’s a rollercoaster
but it’s exciting.
Kira: You have to take yourself to a place that maybe you don’t want to go to on that day but you
just have to let yourself go there. In the scene where Baby is talking to her dad there’s this big
monologue and it’s quite emotional, then you have to come off from that scene and go into the
next scene with a new mindset whereas in real life you’d have a few hours to sort yourself out.
The music is a massive part of the Dirty Dancing experience.

Do you have a favourite song from the show?
Kira: Hungry Eyes. I love that song and always have. Before I even auditioned for the show it was
my alarm in the morning!
Michael: For me it’s (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life. It was a massive hit and it’s such a popular
song.  But it’s my favourite because it comes right at the end of the show. It’s such a climactic
moment where everyone is on stage dancing together and there’s a moment where Johnny comes
through the crowd so there’s a real connection with the audience.
Simone: Mine’s Do You Love Me? Love the routine, love the song, and it feels free where it’s like a
party scene with your mates. It’s really raw and fun.

Michael, this is your professional debut. How are you finding it?
Michael: It’s been indescribable really. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m so privileged to be
able to do it. It’s a great role, a great show, the cast have been amazing, the team have been
fantastic, everyone’s helped me along on the journey and it feels like we’ve become a really strong

What are you all most looking forward to about taking the show on tour?
Kira: I love connecting with different audiences in different venues. We get excited moving around
the country so we’re buzzing on stage and the audience feeds off that.
Michael: I think we’re really lucky to take the show on tour because we get an opening night every
week. It also means you get to perform for a huge range of people and the fact you’re travelling
together makes you a stronger company.
Simone: It keeps it exciting because you’re not within the same four walls for a long time. It feels
new each time and for me, being from Australia, getting to travel the UK is awesome.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t be on the road without?
Michael: I’d have to say my NutriBullet…
Kira: [Laughs] Six-pack yawn!
Simone: For me, it’s my hubby. He’s coming on tour with me so he’ll be my taxi driver.
Kira: I like to have books with me. I do like reading and it’s nice to wind down after shows by
taking yourself off to some imaginary place.

Yeah - I REALLY can not wait now...

* tickets to show will be provided free of charge

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