The guy with the package is ready to strut his stuff as a leading man.
Mike Snell is possibly best known to audiences as Kyle, the UPS guy from Legally Blonde … the guy with the package. Yes, that guy. The guy who had women’s hearts fluttering.
“Yes, that’s me – I’ve got a package!” laughed Snell. “I loved that role as Kyle, the UPS guy.”
It was a role that earned Snell a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, which he regards as one of the biggest achievements of his career.
“It’s funny – that role required absolutely no dancing from me. I just did lots of dead lifts at the gym and lots and lots of weights,” said Snell.
Now, the guy in the tight shorts is about to step up as the leading man in the white suit when he struts his stuff across the stage as Tony in StageArt’s production of Saturday Night Fever.
“I’ve been working on my strut!” laughed Snell.
“It’s probably the biggest role I’ve ever played. I’m getting stuck into the script and stuck into the choreography and stuck into the character and it’s all happening.”
Snell was already very familiar with the movie of Saturday Night Fever, but admits he has never seen the musical version.
“Being a huge John Travolta fan from Grease the musical, I kind of started following him when I was a kid. I’ve always known the movie and the music of the Bee Gees and things that spring to mind straight away are the disco floor, the white suit, Brooklyn in the 70s … it’s quite iconic,” Snell explained.
Playing the role of Tony in Saturday Night Fever clearly requires a strong dancer and Snell is up for the challenge, after being part of the cast of Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom.
Snell only started dancing at the age of 17, doing a 12 month full time course at The Edge Performance School in Eltham, before being cast in a show on a cruise ship at the age of 18. He then went straight to Tokyo Disney but following this gig decided not to take any other contracts unless it was a musical. Freelance and club work followed until he was cast in The Boy From Oz with Hugh Jackman.
“That was one of the highlights of my career, still to date, working with Hugh Jackman each night and touring the country in my very first show. I was so privileged to be cast in such a high calibre show, with (choreographer) Kelley Abbey being my dance idol.”
“I went from unemployment to onstage with Hugh! I had to pinch himself!”
Snell then followed with roles in Miss Saigon, Wicked and Hairspray before Legally Blonde then Strictly Ballroom.
“I’ve been very lucky and very blessed,” said Snell.
As part of his preparation for the role of Tony, Mike Snell invited his co-star and leading lady, Sheridan Anderson, who plays the role of Stephanie, for an Italian dinner.
Putting on his best Brooklyn accent, Snell quoted his invitation to his leading lady, “Stephanie, we’re gonna have dinner on Lygon Street, let’s go!”
Snell says he is not trying to replicate the performance of John Travolta, explaining that StageArt are creating a completely unique production that has never been done anywhere else in the world. There will be instruments on stage, bringing in some similar aspects to Once The Musical, but the main focus will be on the script.
“People should not come expecting a juke box musical with a bit of a 5, 6, 7, 8. It’s gonna have depth, it’s gonna have heart, it’s gonna have sex, it’s gonna have aggression. We’re really trying to heat things up in the rehearsal room at the moment, so we’re not just putting on a dance concert,” said Snell, adding, “We’re really tapping into the essence of the characters and the story.”
However, Snell also comments the show does have some fun and light-hearted moments to it … and it has disco!
Snell says he never became a performer for the money or to be famous. He regards it as a life calling and so he wants to choose projects he is passionate about.
“I just want the audience to feel something. I want the audience to leave having felt something. At the risk of sounding cliché, you have to do things for yourself or you’ll lose your Mojo!” Snell explained.
There’ll be plenty of Mojo when Saturday Night Fever opens. Plenty of it.
Saturday Night Fever opens at Chapel Off Chapel on Thursday 11th February. Click here for tickets