Returning to the West End again to kick off 2023, Dirty Dancing is back for another run... or shall we say, dance. The classic story will take to the stage featuring some old cast, and some new, with Danny Colligan joining them. He has kindly answered a few questions about the production, so read on to find out more.
What is your role, and what does it mean to you to play this character?
I’m going to be playing Billy Kostecki in Dirty Dancing at the Dominion Theatre. To be playing a part like this is absolutely brilliant, firstly because I love the film and secondly, I get to sing '(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life' which is iconic.
How have you prepared for the part, and have you drawn on much inspiration from the film?
I had my first audition for Dirty Dancing back in June 2022, so I put a lot of preparation into learning the material for that. Since then, I’ve watched the film a few times to draw as much inspiration from Neal Jones’ portrayal of Billy, as well as trying to put my own spin on the character. I’ve spent a lot of time working on the songs I have in the show to try and get my vocals up to the high standard needed. They’re all absolute bangers so it’s been a lot of fun.
Do you feel additional pressure when recreating such an iconic piece?
I think there is an additional pressure recreating such an iconic piece, but the script is brilliant, the music is brilliant, and the dancing... well, everyone is in for a treat on that one. We have an amazing creative team around us who have worked on the show for years, so I can assure you it’s in very safe hands.
Do you feel the themes in Dirty Dancing are still relevant, and how do they keep bringing
in audiences today?
I think the they are very much still relevant, especially themes such as social class. Kellermans is a holiday resort for rich people who spend their money relaxing, learning the cha-cha, gambling and drinking. On the flip side, we see Johnny and Penny who are working tirelessly but still struggle to make ends meet, whilst also being treated poorly by Max, the owner. I think especially now with the current cost of living crisis, we see on a day-to-day basis the struggle that the working-class people are facing, while the rich people are still able to stay warm, eat well and go on lavish holidays.
This links to another theme in Dirty Dancing. Love. Despite the difference in social class, Baby falls for Johnny. We see the love between them blossom, as well as the love between the Houseman family, and the real love of dancing from pretty much everyone. The show really reminds you to never judge a book by its cover.
What importance does the legacy of the show hold when performing it to a new
It’s a classic, so pretty much everyone knows it, but it’s about reaching out to those who haven’t seen it. Especially the generations who weren’t born when the film came out in 1987. I think if I’d have seen this musical when I was younger it would have spurred me to pick up my dancing shoes a lot sooner.
How do you prepare yourself to go on stage?
A good company vocal and physical warm up is always the best start. It gets the blood flowing and also wakes me up. I like to have a steam with my Dr. Nelsons in the day time, and try to not speak too much if I don’t have to, which my friends will know is difficult for me. I drink as much water as I can which keeps me well hydrated.
What has been a highlight of your stage career, and what would be your dream role?
The highlight of my stage career so far would have to be performing with Sir Ian McKellen in Les Misérables on tour. He came to see the show a few years back, and afterwards he came backstage for pictures, and then on his way out I asked for a selfie and wondered if he wanted to come to the pub over the road. To which he said yes, several pints later and we convinced him to join us the next day. To perform on the same stage as someone with a career like his was an absolute dream.
I’m not 100% sure what my next dream role would be. I try not to get my mind set on any
particular job in case I’m not seen for it. Saying that, I’d love to get on the big screen, and if I
could do it in a musical film then that would be class.
Huge thanks to Danny for taking part and discussing the show; best of luck with the run, and I can't wait to be back seeing it again this month.
Get your tickets to the iconic hit here:
Additional thanks to Caitlin Plimmer for coordinating this interview.