Strictly Ballroom The Musical comes to Blackpool: Stars Kevin Clifton and Maisie Smith explain why it will be 'magical'
Eastenders’ star, Maisie Smith, told the Blackpool Gazette that her stint on Strictly Come Dancing in 2020 has prepared her for her first theatre role.
Maisie stars as Fran, a novice dancer with no skills who is thrust into the world of competitive ballroom, in a UK tour that is based on the classic movie by Baz Luhrmann.
Maisie said: “It helped me to get into the character of being an outsider and being thrown into the world of ballroom. I can really relate to Fran because she knows nothing about ballroom but she definitely doesn’t want to stick to the rules.”
The actress stars opposite Kevin Clifton - the former Strictly-pro with whom she was paired for the Children in Need Strictly special back in 2019.
Now they have reunited for her musical theatre debut - which she told Blackpool Gazette is very different to playing Tiffany Butcher in Eastenders.
“Working on a soap I'm used to a really quick turn around, you film a scene in an hour and then move on. It’s been great to really get to grips with the character and have time to work on the dances. It's really refreshing and it’s so much fun.”
Strictly Ballroom The Musical tells the beguiling story of Scott Hastings, a talented, arrogant and rebellious young ballroom dancer. When Scott’s radical dance moves see him fall out of favour with the Australian Federation, he finds himself dancing with Fran, a beginner with no moves at all. Inspired by one another, this unlikely pair gather the courage to defy both convention and their families – and discover that, to be winners, the steps don’t need to be strictly ballroom…
Having seen the film when he was ten, it’s the role that Kevin Clifton was born to play.
“He was a hero to me and such an inspiration. I was always getting in trouble at competitions as I was more interested in entertaining the crowd than impressing the judges.”
Kevin, now 39, was taught ballroom and Latin by his parents Keith and Judy. He once told the four times British Latin American Champions: “I guarantee
you that one day they’re going to make a musical out of this and I’m going to play Scott Hastings in it.”
Three decades later his dream has come true.
“It’s been a lifelong ambition of mine and I’m so excited that I’m getting to be in the stage version of my favourite film of all time.”
The tour kicked off at Portsmouth's Kings Theatre on September 26 this year, and has visited Sunderland, Liverpool and Llandudno.
And they are in Blackpool later this month.
Kevin remembers travelling from Grimsby to Blackpool for dance competitions, and said that being back in the resort will be ‘magical’.
He added: “Blackpool was the bigge event that you trained for and everyone wanted those magical moments to remember. Its the spiritual home of ballroom, and it’s going to feel really special.”
Strictly Ballroom The Musical is at Blackpool Opera House from Nov 21 - 26, 2022.
For tickets and information visit https://www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk/events/strictly-ballroom-the-musical/ or call the box office on 0844 770 0593.