West Side Story Star Interview

Michael Rouse stars as Tony in Dubai’s production of West Side Story. We find out what the leading man thinks of Dubai, disco and stage fright…
Wednesday , 13 July 2011
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse
Michael Rouse

Michael Rouse is an actor, singer and a dancer who has starred in just about every theatre production from Lord of the Rings in London to Saturday Night Fever in Germany. It was only a matter of time before his considerable talents brought him to Dubai. Rouse is set to play the lead in DUCTAC’s West Side Story from next week, bring his winning vocals (that have made beautiful music with London’s Philharmonic orchestra, no less!) to the role of Tony.

To help warm up his vocal chords, we got the star chatting about his love of disco, his first impressions of Dubai, and what the crowds can expect from his performance in West Side Story…

West Side Story is set in 1950s New York. If you had a time machine, which place and era would you travel to?
I think it would be the 1970s as I’m a bit of a disco fan. I’d definitely want to have a huge afro and flares.

What are your impressions of Dubai in 2011?
It’s an amazing city. I’m looking forward to exploring!

Back in London you sang solo with the Philharmonic Orchestra. On a scale of 0 to 10 how nervous were you?
I’d say eight out of 10.  It was such an amazing experience but nerves are inevitable. You just have to get past them and try to enjoy it. A performance like that doesn’t happen every day.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you on stage?
When I was starring in the Lord of the Rings musical in London I was running backstage between fight sequences when my wig got caught on a piece of the set. It was pinned so tightly to my head that I got whiplash!

Greatest stage moment ever?
It has to be the first time I stood alone on the stage at the London Palladium.  I was singing Immortality and it really was one of those unforgettable moments.

What’s your favourite West Side Story number?
It’s hard to pick one song, but if I had to choose it would be the Tonight quintet. It’s comes at such an exciting moment in the show – something major has happened to all of the main characters and we see them all isolated on stage, reflecting on everything that has occurred up to that point. It pre-empts the ‘rumble’ so it has a real feeling anticipation and suspense. It’s also the most complex song in the show musically. It is beautiful, exciting and climactic!

What can we expect from the Dubai production of the show – any twists or turns?
It’s going to be brilliant. I’ve been so impressed by the level of talent among the local cast.  West Side Story is just such a brilliant story and it’s still so relevant today.  No matter who you are or where you’re from, you will have heard at least one song from the show before as it is such a classic. Also, the dancing is going to blow people away.  We have a troupe of professional Latin dancers from BNF dance company and the things they can do are just unbelievable.

INFO: Tickets cost Dhs135 for balcony seats, Dhs165 in the stalls and Dhs1,000 for a VIP box seat for four; 7.30pm, 19 to 21 July; 2.30pm and 7.30pm, 22 and 23 July. DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, 04 341 4777, www.timeouttickets.com.

WIN! Dinner and tickets to West Side Story! MAXX Music Bar
and Grill in Al Barsha’s City Max Hotel is serving up a West Side platter of burgers,
nachos, fries and drinks to coincide with the production of West Side Story at
DUCTAC, MoE. We have a pair of tickets and a platter for two to give away for opening
night (Tues 19 July). To win, tell us which era West Side Story star Michael
Rouse would travel to if he had a time machine. EMAIL the answer to Editor@AhlanLive.com – DO NOT POST IT
HERE. Clue: you will find the answer above.

Styling by Shannon Wylie

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