A NEW show is hoping to take people back to the 1960s when it comes to the region.
Save The Last Dance For Me is rockin’ and rollin’ its way to the North East next week. We spoke to one of the stars...
Young love and holiday romances are never as simple as they sound.
And that’s a lesson a pair of sisters learn the hard way in Save The Last Dance For Me.
The new show, from the creators of Dreamboats And Petticoats, is on tour around the country, and arrives at Sunderland Empire next week.
Set in the summer of 1963, it follows sisters, Jennifer and Marie, who for the first time without their parents, go on holiday to the seaside.
Full of freedom and high spirits, they meet a handsome young American who invites them to a dance at the local US Air Force base, but they soon find out that falling in love isn’t as easy as it seems.
Chris Coxon stars in the show as New Jersey airman, Johnny.
The 25-year-old, from Consett, County Durham, said: “The show is brand new and all I was told was that Johnny was American, and I decided that he should be from New Jersey.
“At first, it was just because that’s what accent I can do the best, but the more and more I read the script the more he seemed like a typical New Jersey boy.
“The show is going down really well with audiences so far and I’m having a lot of fun playing Johnny.
“There’s a great story and loads of great songs, so it’s no wonder everyone has loved the show so far. We’re hoping that it’ll go to the West End after the tour.”
Chris, who studied at Newcastle College’s Performance Academy before completing a degree course at Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Arts Educational Schools London, was a firm stage presence at the Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields, at the age of 13, appearing in Tom and Catherine, a musical about Shields-born writer Catherine Cookson.
After graduating from Lord Webber’s school, he made his West End debut in Monty Python’s Spamalot before landing a part in Dreamboats and Petticoats.
He said: “I played a character called Colin, and also played bass guitar, and had a lot of fun.
“But when the opportunity for Save The Last Dance For Me came up I was thrilled to be offered the part, especially since I got to create the role as well.”
The show is billed as a feel-good journey through music’s golden era and includes rock ‘n’ roll hits like A Teenager In Love, Sweets For My Sweet, Viva Las Vegas, Can’t Get Used to Losing You, and Save The Last Dance For Me.
Chris, who plays bass guitar in the show, said: “All the music in this show is played by the actors on stage, like in Dreamboats and Petticoats, so I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now.
“It is a real feel-good show but there are some darker issues in it as well.
“One of the sisters falls in love with a black man from Tennessee, and she doesn’t realise that there would be any problems with it, but at the time it was very controversial – there was a lot of racial prejudice in the 1960s.
“So the characters have a lot to overcome – it’s a very real show dealing with very real issues.”
Save the Last Dance For Me is on at the Sunderland Empire from Monday, to Saturday, May 19.
Tickets cost from £12. To book, call 0844 871 3022 or go to www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.
We’ve got three pairs of tickets to give away for the 7.30pm show on Thursday, May 17.
To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us which American state Chris’s character is from.
Fill in the coupon on this page and send your answers to Vicki Newman, Save The Last Dance For Me, Shields Gazette, Chapter Row, South Shields, NE33 1BL.