Kurt re­sponse to Danc­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage -

KURT Phe­lan de­scribes the feel­ing of fin­ish­ing the Aus­tralian tour of Dirty Danc­ing last year, where he starred as Johnny Cas­tle, as like go­ing through a break up.

“Es­pe­cially with Kirby (Burgess) and Mad­die (Peat) who played Baby and Penny,” Phe­lan said.

“We spent so much time to­gether, danced so closely and be­came such good friends, and then af­ter a mati­nee one Sun­day, all the clothes and set were packed up and ev­ery­one went their sep­a­rate ways.

“I also soon re­alised, af­ter a friend pointed it out, that I missed ev­ery­one cheer­ing for me ev­ery night.”

It was dur­ing the last six months on the pro­duc­tion that Phe­lan started work­ing on his next gig, writ­ing cabaret show Phe­lan Groovy.

Phe­lan said the show started off au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal be­fore mov­ing into mus­ings and other things that in­ter­ested him.

“I learnt when I was 18 or 19 that I should say only about 10 per cent of the out­ra­geous things I think,” he said.

“So this show is that other 90 per cent, but with songs.

“I’ve been work­ing in the in­dus­try for years and Dirty Danc­ing was my first big shot; it doesn’t mat­ter what you do as an artist, you’re kind of mea­sured by the last thing you’ve done.

“Peo­ple got to know me as Johnny but I’m very dif­fer­ent to the type of per­son I had to be ev­ery night while on stage.

“This show is an ex­cel­lent chance for me to take off the mask and show the au­di­ence there’s a bit of a strange, funny, awk­ward hu­man be­hind the fa­cade.”

Seated in cabaret style at Down­stairs at the Maj, au­di­ences can ex­pect 13 re­worded songs from the likes of Lorde, Tina Turner and John Farn­ham, with a few mu­si­cal theatre treats too.

“I talk about how I was born on the laun­dry steps while we lived on a mango farm,” Phe­lan said.

“There’s a lot of stuff to make fun of and coming from Ir­ish her­itage, that’s what we’re re­ally good at.

“The tagline for this show is never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

When asked about the show’s ti­tle, Phe­lan said it was all about tak­ing back his name.

“Grow­ing up with the last name Phe­lan, you get teased a lot in dif­fer­ent ways – ‘How are you Phe­lan?’, ‘You Phe­lan good?’,” he said.

“Ev­ery Phe­lan in our fam­ily gets a dif­fer­ent nick­name by their friends and mine was ‘Phe­lan It’.

“It wasn’t easy to be a boy in north Queens­land who wanted to grow up to dance and sing; now I’m re­claim­ing my last name.”

Kurt Phe­lan

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