INTERVIEW: Martin Harvey – Dirty Dancing

Last Updated on 3rd June 2016

Martin Harvey in Dirty Dancing
Martin Harvey is back at the theatre where he made his stage debut.

Martin Harvey first performed at the Aldwych Theatre at the age of six. Now 24 years later he is back playing the lead in Dirty Dancing. He drops in for a chat.

You made your stage debut aged 6 at the Aldwych in Peter Pan. How was it playing Michael at such a young age?
Like a big adventure, I got to fly around the stage

Leap ahead 24 years and you’re back performing on the same stage as the lead in Dirty Dancing. I imagine that must be rather poignant?
It felt like it was meant to be. I recalled the theatre a bit but the thing I remembered most from Peter Pan was how big everything was. That has now definitely changed when you see just how Dirty Dancing has been shoe-horned into the Aldwych Theatre.

You were something of a child star, but unlike others, you don’t seem to have burned yourself out. What’s your secret?
Not sure about ‘child star’ but I’ve worked constantly since the age for six.  My secret? I would say hunger and periodic reinvention.

Even though you trained at the Royal Ballet School, you have said you felt like “a faker”. What was holding you back?
You have to have a blinkered focus to be a ballet dancer and there were always other things that I wanted to do. My physique also presented certain problems.

Was there a specific moment when things slotted into place for you as a performer going through training?
Too many different moments to specify, it was a constantly evolving process.

Everyone knows the film Dirty Dancing. It must be terrific playing such an iconic role in ‘Johnny’?
It is a fantastic role that means so much to so many people. I am having a blast.

I remember the press night of Dirty Dancing – it was wild! Are audiences still as outrageous three years on?
Even more so! They are one of the best things about the show. Their appreciation is a significant factor in the overall atmosphere of the performance.

What advice would you give to a yourself as a young boy going into the industry?
Trust your instincts, work hard and be a really good company member.

We hear you’re a bit of a footie fan. Who’s your team?

Dirty Dancing is running at Aldwych Theatre in the West End.

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