Having worked on television for the past few years, HAYLEY TAMADDON is back on the boards in the touring production of Chicago. With Emmerdale and Coronation Street, not to mention Dancing On Ice, behind her, the actress now takes on Roxie Hart in the supremely successful musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb, with former EastEnders star John Partridge as Billy Flynn and former prison officer and X Factor winner Sam Bailey as Mama Morton. Here she answers some questions about her working life.
The first production of Chicago was not an immense hit on Broadway in 1975 or in London in 1979. However, after the New York revival, it took off again at the Adelphi in London in 1997 and ran for 15 years and has been a worldwide success ever since. Do you think that the first production proved that it was a show before its time?
Oh, absolutely. The style, the costumes, the lighting, everything was different to what people were used to seeing. It shocked people.
There are so many good numbers in the show that it needs performers who can sing, act and dance in what is a very energetic piece. Is Chicago a very taxing show to get right?
Ha ha! Yes it really is. Every finger and toe has a position and you have to get it right. It’s the style of Fosse, and you want to honour that.
Do you have any favourite numbers in the show that you just can’t wait to get on every night and perform?
I love them all, but I do get excited when I start the Roxie monologue. I mean, which girl doesn’t dream of performing a number – just her and a bunch of gorgeous hot boys?!
How have the audiences been so far – probably very responsive as it is now such an iconic show?
Yes! They seem to be loving it, and that means the world to us.
You are no stranger to musicals, having been in Grease, A Chorus Line, Boogie Nights, Mamma Mia!, Fame, The Rocky Horror Show and Spamalot. Do you have a particular fondness for any of those, or is the best show always the one you are in at present?
I’ve been so lucky. I’ve achieved so many dreams already in my career, but Roxie is one role I’ve been waiting to play, and I seriously never thought I’d get the chance. I’m still pinching myself.
Playing Delilah in Emmerdale and Andrea in Coronation Street for long periods meant you were not singing or dancing at the time. Did you miss the musical side of the business when working in television drama?
I love TV. I feel there’s something magical about being on set in a studio with lights and cameras. I was a latecomer to television, starting when I was 27, and it’s something I want to do a lot more of. But I’m lucky in the fact that I seem to be able to do both, TV and theatre. Hopefully I can continue to do that.
You were booked for three months in Corrie, but stayed for two years. Was it a surprise when the character of Andrea was developed and how she became later?
Yes! To be honest I was praying they would want me to stay because I fell in love with Corrie the minute I got there. The people, the crew, I loved the family bond and felt at home straight away.
As Craig Charles was leaving Corrie anyway, was that the reason that Andrea could not stay on the Street?
Sadly yes, but I can’t complain. I had the best two years, I loved working with Craig and we had the best exit!
You could of course go back into Emmerdale or Coronation Street should the call come, as the doors have been left open. Would you like to re-visit either role as Delilah or Andrea?
Never say never! Anything could happen, you never know.
You have been in other drama series on television such as The Royal, Where the Heart Is, Shameless, Accused and Waterloo Road etc. Do you hope to do more straight TV drama in the future?
I’d love to. I feel I’ve got so much left to do. I’d love to do a drama or a comedy sitcom. Or a film!
The tour of Chicago takes you through to July this year. Is there a chance that it may be extended at all?
The show will run for a year, but I think I’ll only stay for six months. Not sure my body could take a whole year!
Do you have any definite plans following the Chicago tour for TV or stage work?
It’s too soon to say yet. But that’s also what makes this business exciting.
Did you enjoy your time in Dancing On Ice and were you surprised to come out as Champion?
I loved it, best experience of my life. I can’t believe to this day that I won. I couldn’t have done it without my dear friend Dan Whiston though.
Are there any shows or plays that you would just love to be in?
Hmm, hard question. I’d love to play Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, or maybe create a new role, that would be nice.
You have sung a lot in your career. Have you ever considered doing cabaret or recording an album of your favourite songs?
Somebody once asked me to do that and I said no – I thought it might end up in the 99p bin in HMV! But now I’m older… maybe. It wouldn’t be very musical theatre though. More jazz/blues/cabaret style.
Apart from the numbers from the musicals in which you have appeared, what sort of music appeals to you just as a listener?
I love Stevie Wonder, Aretha, funk and soul, the old stuff.
Do you come from a showbusiness family or are you the only one to get the acting bug?
Nope, mum and dad are both in the hotel/restaurant business and my brother’s a chef.
Compiled by Michael Darvell
Chicago continues at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 9 July:
MONDAY 7 – SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2016
SOUTHAMPTON MAYFLOWER THEATRE
MONDAY 14 – SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2016
MILTON KEYNES THEATRE
(Sam Bailey will not be performing on 19 March)
MONDAY 21 MARCH – SATURDAY 2 APRIL 2016
MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE
(Sam Bailey will not be performing on 25 and 26 March)
MONDAY 4 – SATURDAY 9 APRIL 2016
MONDAY 11 – SATURDAY 16 APRIL 2016
EASTBOURNE CONGRESS THEATRE
MONDAY 25 – SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2016
PRINCESS THEATRE TORQUAY
MONDAY 2 – SATURDAY 7 MAY 2016
HALL FOR CORNWALL TRURO
WEDNESDAY 11 – SATURDAY 21 MAY 2016
BORD GÁIS ENERGY THEATRE DUBLIN
MONDAY 23 – SATURDAY 28 MAY 2016
ROYAL & DERNGATE NORTHAMPTON
(Sam Bailey will not be performing on 25, 27 and 28 May)
MONDAY 30 MAY – SATURDAY 4 JUNE 2016
HAWTH THEATRE CRAWLEY
MONDAY 13 – SATURDAY 18 JUNE 2016
MONDAY 20 – SATURDAY 25 JUNE 2016
WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE
(Sam Bailey will not be performing on 25 June)
MONDAY 27 JUNE – SATURDAY 2 JULY 2016
SOUTHEND CLIFFS PAVILION
MONDAY 4 – SATURDAY 9 JULY 2016