Kate Parr is relishing her first leading-lady role, in Saturday Night Fever, which plays The Hawth in Crawley this week (January 15-19).
She toured with the show for 12 or 13 weeks from August through to December; then it was five weeks off over Christmas; now she’s back on the boards – and loving it.
The show has been spectacularly reimagined in a big new music and dance extravaganza.
While paying homage to the 1977 John Travolta classic, the new stage version promises more drama, more music and hot new choreography, with Richard Winsor playing Tony, the role that famously rocketed John Travolta to stardom.
In the show, Tony Manero escapes the harsh realities of working-class Brooklyn life when he embarks on a reckless, yet thrilling road to dancing success.
Opposite him is Kate as Stephanie. She is loving the way the show is developing on the road: “It has changed massively since we first started. When we opened in Wimbledon, we had had three weeks rehearsals, which wasn’t very long. Myself and Richard hadn’t even met three weeks previously, and we were having to fall in love! But we have developed together, and now I feel like I know everything. I know where he is going to lift me. Definitely it has changed.”
And since last December, things have been reworked again: “We have added a few new things; we have changed a few of my acting intentions like ‘What am I feeling here? What am I wanting here? – just to make the story a lot more easy to read.”
The break over Christmas was also a great chance to restore energy: “It is tiring, both physically and emotionally, especially as my character goes on such a journey. She is desperate to make it. She wants to cross the bridge from Brooklyn into Manhattan and be the big-time, big-shot girl. And when she is trying to find her way into this new life, she meets Tony. She knows he is wanting the same thing as her. But she thinks he is below her – though she still falls in love.
“She is desperately ambitious. She wants everything. She is very standoffish and a bit of a b****. But I love playing her!”
It’s a part Kate was thrilled to get. As she says, given it’s her first leading part, she certainly didn’t get it because of her experience.
“But my audition was really interesting. I had worked with the choreographer before on a production called Follies, and so when I went into the dance part of the audition, it was good to see a familiar face, but I had never met (producer) Bill Kenwright before.
“And I was in the room for nearly 30 minutes which is a long audition.
“He was like redirecting me in a lot of ways. It almost felt he was rehearsing me into the show. I felt that I had done what he wanted with the character and I did have a good feeling about it. And then after two days, I heard that I had got it!”
Tickets cost £35.50-£43.50. Call the box office on 01293 553636.
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