16 April 2024

Theatre makes dream come true for actress

An actress from Roos has landed her “dream role” in the musical Crazy for You at Hull New Theatre.

The award-winning Hessle Theatre Company are about to perform their version of the hit Broadway musical that is packed with Gershwin showstoppers including I Got Rhythm, Embraceable You and Someone to Watch Over Me.

Elinor Kirby plays the lead female character, Polly.

She said: “Having seen the show in the West End, I couldn’t believe how much I wanted this part. The role of Polly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She is the best of both worlds, warm and open-hearted, while also feisty and strong. It’s everything I love about musical theatre in one role.”

“I never thought I’d get the opportunity to do so much dancing and tap, while also singing these beautiful songs. It’s the type of role I fell in love with in the golden-age musicals I always used to watch on television as a child.”

Elinor started dance classes at two years old, when her mother had to persuade the local dance school to overlook the normal age limit because Elinor was so desperate to start.

Elinor now helps to run the AB School of Dance and fell in love with musicals as a pupil at Hymers when one of her teachers introduced her to musical theatre.

She added: “Musicals are the thing I truly love”.

Elinor followed Hessle Theatre Company since being a teenager, seeing all their shows and being determined to be a part of the magic she witnessed on stage.

Joining the company in 2019, she has been the fairy in their local pantomimes and had featured roles in the company’s recent productions of Shrek and Our House at Hull New Theatre. She loves being part of such an ambitious and friendly company.

She said: “There’s a feeling you get in a show when everyone is on the stage and going for it. You’ve all got each other’s backs, and everyone is singing and dancing their hearts out. That energy! You can’t get it anywhere else. It’s the most beautiful thing.

“And with Hessle Theatre Company everyone is at the top of their game and so supportive of each other. The warmth we feel for each other is carried into all the shows Hessle does. So, to do a show that is about fun and heart and the joy of making shows – it’s a perfect match. I’m beyond excited to be taking audiences on that journey with us.”

Ben Bailey, from Hull, is playing lead song-and-dance man Bobby, who falls in love with Polly and persuades her to put on a show in her Wild West town.

A seasoned performer, Ben is appearing with the company for the very first time, having auditioned for the role last July.

He said: “I’m over the moon to have been cast in my first production with Hessle Theatre Company. The quality of their shows is truly remarkable, and I feel privileged to be taking on the leading role in the show.”

Ben is relishing the chance to dust off his tap shoes, having started dancing at the age of five. Of all the dance styles he learned, he fell most in love with tap, and went on to train in musical theatre.

Though recently he is performed more serious roles and focused his time as a creative director at Park Street Performing Arts Centre, the lead part of Bobby is a dream role for him, too.

He added: “When I saw Crazy for You in London last year I was blown away and went straight to the stage door so I could get to meet Charlie Stemp, who played the lead role in the West End. He gave an incredible performance, but he was also friendly in real life, and we had a selfie together.

“It’s such a cracking part. You can’t help rooting for Bobby: he’s passionate, funny, determined but also cheeky. He’s also hardly ever off stage – singing, dancing, and doing slap-stick comedy for two hours!

“Part of Charlie Stemp’s contract was to have an ice-bath in his dressing room so that after each show he could make sure he was fighting fit and ready for the next performance. It’s a marathon role for a song and dance man, but one I’m loving getting my teeth into. When else will I ever get to do the thing, I truly love.”

Crazy for You runs at Hull New Theatre from Tuesday, March 19, to Saturday, March 23. Tickets are on sale now. Book at the Hull City Hall Box Office, call 01482 300 306 or visit hulltheatres.co.uk.