Theatre

Interview

Get the inside scoop on Magic Mike Live before its Australian premiere

We sat down with Dayton Tavares to get the inside scoop on Magic Mike Live before its Australian premiere this December

When it comes to live performances, Magic Mike Live really is the whole package. Bringing together dancing with acrobatics, live music, comedy and more; there promises to be surprises around every corner and something for everyone in every performance.

Based on the world created in the hit film franchise of the same name, and conceived and co-directed by Channing Tatum himself, this thrilling, sexy spectacular is one of the most unique, immersive live-entertainment experiences in the world.

But don’t just take it from us.

Before the show makes its Australian debut in Sydney this December, we sat down with one of the shows incredible cast members Dayton Tavares to go behind the curtain and get the inside scoop about what we can expect once Magic Mike Live arrives in Australia.

“It’s so crazy. The show itself, before you have an audience in there, has so much energy and then when you add a live audience in and they’re all encouraged to become part of the show and be as loud as they want to be, and as interactive as they want to be – that creates so much more energy,” Tavares says. “It’s a huge adrenaline rush and it is going to be wild. I don’t think there is another show like it.”

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The team behind Magic Mike Live have done an incredible job of pulling together the show’s cast, and with even a quick look at their resumes, it’s hard not to be impressed. 

With performers from right here in Australia, as well as England, New Zealand, America, and Russia and highlights including a So You Think You Can Dance runner-up, dancers who have performed alongside Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, Backstreet Boys, Calvin Harris, Nicki Minaj, The Jonas Brothers, Snoop Dogg, and credits including The Bodyguard, Dirty Dancing: The Immersive Experience, The Illusionists, X Factor Australia, The Voice AU, The Masked Singer, Australia’s Got Talent – this really is an elite group.

Tavares, himself, has an eyebrow-raising list of achievements – from his first lead role in the musical Billy Elliot, to joining the cast on Broadway, performing at The White House for Michelle Obama, and working with artists including Ricky Martin and Kelly Rowland.

“I remember auditioning for Billy Elliot and I was just going wherever Mum took me, but I had no idea what a musical was. Even while I was auditioning, I didn’t really know why I was there until just before rehearsals when I got to see the show – that was the first moment where I was like, ‘This is something I can do as a career,’” Tavares says.

“That was the dream from then on, to be able to have a career while doing something that I love. From a young age, I’ve had that feeling of wanting to be a performer, and after Billy Elliot that changed to backup dancing and commercial dance work, and it wasn’t until the beginning of last year where I decided that I wanted to pursue live stage shows and musical theatre again.

“I love the theatre, I really do. As much as it is for the performers and we get to act and become someone different, it really is a nice experience to take an audience on a journey and have a break from the reality of people’s everyday lives. They get a few hours of being transported to somewhere else.”

After countless auditions and working on some of the world’s biggest TV shows and productions, it’s his experience with Magic Mike Live that continues to stand out.

“I was doing Bring It On: The Musical at the time. I was playing a 16-year-old that was just getting into the world of cheerleading. Going to the Magic Mike Live audition, it was a completely different vibe, it’s not what you expect at all. The audition process was the most supportive and fun environment that I’ve ever been in,” Tavares says.

“It didn’t feel like an audition at all. It was one big party, and the creatives really want to get to know you as a person, as well as what your individual skills are. Which is why the show leaves people surprised and is very unexpected, because it’s catered to who they end up casting. If you went and saw the show in Vegas or Berlin or London or here in Australia, you’d have completely different experiences. It would feature different music and different routines because it really is created based on the cast, and plays to each of our strengths.”

With the countdown to Magic Mike Live’s Sydney debut ticking down, rehearsal time in Belgium helped Tavares and the rest of the Australian cast get prepared for what they can expect come opening night.

“Before COVID lockdown happened, we had put the show together in Belgium. We have the whole show prepared and ready, and we were fortunate enough to have a dress run in front of a live test audience there. In preparation coming back to it, we are going to have some time in rehearsals again to make sure everything is clean and ready and better than ever,” Tavares says.

“People come to the show and they’re expecting a steamy night – which you definitely get – but, I think what people aren’t expecting is how athletic and entertaining the show is. It is the most sensual circus experience you can find and there is a lot to offer. There is a lot of dancing. There is the most incredible singer. There’s live music, comedy. There are aerialists, a lot of acrobatics. It’s very athletic.”

If you’ve seen the Magic Mike films ­– and let’s face it, who hasn’t? – then you may have a taste of what you can expect from Magic Mike Live. A group of incredibly talented men dancing on stage, while showcasing their individual talents. For you. The audience. 

For Tavares, it’s the piano, but there’s also comedy, acrobatics, live music, and more. There really is something ­– or someone ­– for every audience member.

“This show being interactive is the coolest thing about it. Whenever I think about the show, of course you’re expecting a sensual experience, but I love how, as an audience member, the show is really for you,” Tavares says. 

“It is really cool to have that sense of empowerment and to dictate how much or how little you receive during the night, and being able to feel empowered through that. The show is very safe and very respectful in that way. There’s something for everyone, it has got everything, and it is so impressive. Everyone in the cast is so talented and I don’t think that anyone could come and see the show and leave disappointed.”

What you can’t possibly be expecting though, is the venue. Stepping inside The Arcadia – specially built by the legendary tent building family at Het Spiegelpaleis in Belgium for Magic Mike Live in Australia – is like walking into a mythological land, a modern-day Eden, if you will. Where else could you possibly indulge in such a night out?

As intimate as it is breathtaking, the three-story venue – designed to bring you into the show no matter where you’re seated – has to be seen, and experienced, to be believed.

“The Arcadia is the largest Spiegeltent in the world. And it is incredible – everything about it, the finishes on every seat, every single detail, adds to the vibe of stepping into a different world and getting to experience something where you feel comfortable. But also, it’s a nice, romantic night.” Tavares explains.

“The stage is set directly in the middle of the whole tent. So, no matter where you’re seated, you can see everything. We perform on the stage, but we also move throughout the venue. We perform around the seating areas. There are mini-stages in the bleacher section of the tent. We perform on the stairs, on the balconies, on the railings, on the bar. It’s the most incredible venue that I’ve performed in because of how different it is and how the audience gets to experience that 360-view. 

“The scale of the production is enormous. One of the things I remember during rehearsals was how impressive the lighting is and how every detail of this show has been meticulously created. No one is left leaving the show and thinking, ‘Oh, I didn’t get to see that, or I couldn’t see what was happening or I didn’t feel like I was part of the experience because I was seated up the back.’ We move throughout the whole venue and make sure that everyone feels included and everyone has a chance to feel involved in the show.”

For audience members, there is a lot to anticipate in the lead up to Magic Mike Live’s Australian debut. And for Tavares, who is just about ready to take you inside the world of Magic Mike Live for the first time, what is he most excited about?

“I’m looking forward to Australian audiences because I know that they’re going to get involved. The energy we receive from the crowd fuels our performance. That energy and adrenaline rush you get from people so willing to be involved and loud and interactive – that is probably the thing I’m most looking forward to. Especially after being in isolation for so long, being able to get on stage and perform and do what we love again. The whole thing is so exhilarating and fun, whether you’re a cast member or an audience member. I’ve seen the show a million times and you just can’t get bored of it.”

Magic Mike Live will land in Australia, opening in Sydney, on Thursday 17 December 2020. Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.au.