It’s the new jukebox musical that’s bringing the melodies and mayhem of the 60s back to life – and this September the show will be rocking and rolling its way to Southend for a whole week – ladies and gents, get ready for Save the Last Dance for Me.
From the same team that brought us Dreamboats and Petticoats, this new musical tells the story of two sisters who embark on their first holiday without their parents.
Meeting a handsome young American who invites them to a dance at the local US Air force base, the girls soon discover that young love and romance isn’t as simple as it sounds.
And who better to play the leading role than one of Essex’s own?
“It’s a very fun and light hearted story,” explains Verity Jones, who plays older sister, Jennifer and grew up in Chelmsford. “But it’s also a show for all ages. The older audience will recognise the songs and the younger audience will be able to enjoy the fun storyline – it’s just good fun.”
Described as ‘Dreamboats meets Dirty Dancing’, the show features tracks including Sweets for my Sweet, Viva Las Vegas, Can’t Get Used to Losing You and of course Save the Last Dance for Me.
“My favourite has to be Viva Las Vegas,” says Verity, a former student of Chelmsford High School for Girls. “It’s such a classic and it’s in the megamix finale too.”
Having attended the Grosvenor School of Dance in Braintree and Weston School in Chelmsford, Verity has since gone on to star alongside the likes of Rupert Everett in Pygmalion and Craig Revel Horwood in Chess – not bad for a former Essex girl.
Now living in London with her husband, the 25-year-old has been performing in Save the Last Dance for Me since January as Jennifer – the older and wiser sister, who is out for a good time.
“She’s a very sassy, mouthy character, which, to be honest, is far removed from how I am,” she giggles. “But that’s what makes playing her so much fun.
“Although, when you’re doing eight shows a week, you’ve got to have good stage stamina,” she adds. “I’m a bit of a gym bunny myself, so I do keep in shape, but the show in itself is a pretty good workout.”
Coming to the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend for a week long run next month, Verity is looking forward to coming back to the Essex seafront – a place she spent most of her years as a teenager.
“I loved spending the summer in Southend,” she says. “I was always heading to the seafront for the Southend Airshow and Adventure Island, so it will be great being back for a week.”
Save the Last Dance for Me shows at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend from Monday, 2 September to Saturday, 7 September. For tickets, call the Box Office on 01702 351135 or visit southendtheatres.org.uk.