Euan Doidge and Melanie Hawkins are preparing to take on the roles of Tony and Stephanie in the musical Saturday Night Fever, which opens at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in March. While Euan Doidge was only recently added to the cast, it’s a secret Melanie Hawkins has been sitting on for many months. Finally, the news is out.

“It becomes real when you can be excited about it openly!” exclaimed Melanie Hawkins.

Euan Doidge and Melanie Hawkins in Saturday Night Fever (c) Daniel Boud-1

Saturday Night Fever was first released as a film in 1977, starring a young John Travolta and with a soundtrack featuring the music of the Bee Gees. The original film was rated R, but even those too young to see the film at the cinema, still purchased the soundtrack and grew up knowing the iconic music.

“I feel like the soundtrack is essentially another character in the piece. I think it’s the second biggest selling soundtrack of all time,” said Hawkins.

Going back to watch the film now, Melanie Hawkins is appreciating so much more than just the music.

“I went back to the movie and watched it again, and there’s so much more to it. The scenes are incredible. The characters are incredible. The story. The dancing obviously is iconic. I think, when you actually go back and watch it, there’s so much more to it that people forget about sometimes,” explained Hawkins.

While Euan Doidge only watched the film recently to prepare for his audition, he grew up with the music of Saturday Night Fever.

“It was something that was definitely around me as a child,” he said.

Saturday Night Fever is more than just the music and disco dancing. It’s a story that covers some heavy issues.

“Yes, they deal with some really serious topics, like mental health. There’s so many things going on. It’s a real snap shot of that time – the 70s – and what was going on in the world and in the clubs and for that age group – the older teenager – and how they were living their lives. I find that really interesting,” commented Hawkins.

Doidge agreed, noting the difference in family life in the 1970s compared to now.

“It was so different to what it is now. For me, I’m such a family boy, and to watch a show like that and see a family the way they used to treat each other is an awful thing for me to watch,” said Doidge.

Rehearsals for Saturday Night Fever commence in just two weeks and both are currently preparing for their roles, although with an open mind.

“I like to go in with an idea of what his journey is, but I also like to be creative with Mel and everyone else on stage. I can do as much prep as I can, but it’s all going to change once there’s a cast and direction and all that stuff, which is the best part about rehearsals, that you’re exploring and trying new things and experiencing things with each other. So for me, I’m just going to be hitting the gym, keeping fit, and just go listen to my mum I reckon!” laughed Doidge.

The chemistry between the pair will be an important aspect of their character development in the rehearsal room as they find their own version of Tony and Stephanie.

“Obviously, it’ll be coming from those iconic characters that you know, but we’ve gotta create it,” explained Melanie Hawkins.

“It’s lucky that we’ve known each other for a while – that is super important, because we do so much in the show together, and dancing with a partner is a whole other ball game. It’s not two people, it’s one person basically and you need to understand how each other moves and work with each other and not against each other,” added Euan Doidge.

This latest musical production of Saturday Night Fever will still have the same look and feel audiences can expect.

“It’s got everything that people want to see. No one’s going to come to the show and be disappointed. You’re going to see the famous classic white suit, you’re going to see the position that everyone knows, and also the cast is phenomenal: Paulini, Timomatic, Marcia Hines, Bobby Fox. Everyone in the show is just brilliant!” exclaimed Doidge.

“It’s the classic piece, but with this added freshness to it.”

For Euan Doidge it means taking on the role created by John Travolta. After Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Kinky Boots, Doidge laughed, “It’s nice not to have a glitter lip on and a red heel!”

Doidge is also looking forward to a lot more dancing.

“Going into a show like Saturday Night Fever is going to be quite a shock to the system, but I am so excited!”

He also knows Tony Manero is a big character to take on.

“I will try my best to deliver the goods!” laughed Doidge.

I asked Doidge if he had that famous John Travolta/Tony Manero walk down yet?

“Oh, he’s got it all down!” replied Melanie Hawkins.

Saturday Night Fever opens in Sydney next month.

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