Handsome and talented, casting Daniel May in the lead role of ‘All Shook Up’ was a spark of genius.
He has a brooding look with a hint of Elvis, as well as charm and insatiable energy.
Somewhere in the midwest in the 1950s, Chad, a hip-swiveling, guitar-playing roustabout, is being released from prison (“Jailhouse Rock”).
And so the story of ‘All Shook Up’ begins.
Playing Chad is the latest in a string of shows Daniel has been part of in a career spanning more than a decade.
Daniel was born and raised in Clanrolla Park, Craigavon - far cry from the home of Elvis.
He’s a kind of mix between Elvis, The Fonz and Danny ZukoDaniel May
And besides living in Greece for two years and moving to Belfast a year ago he has always lived in the family home.
While a pupil at St Brendan’s and then Lismore Comprehensive he didn’t have a huge desire to tread the boards although his mum did send him and his sister Linda to ballet and Irish dancing classes.
“I only went because you got rewarded with sweets. I think I only lasted a few weeks,” he said grinning.
It wasn’t until his late teens, around 16/17, that his interests grew.
“I entered a few local singing competitions and then the local drama society MADS (Moyraverty Arts Drama Society),” he revealed.
His inspiration was going to watch local productions.
“I guess I just thought Id like to do that,” he said.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Daniel who suffered an horrendous arm injury eight years ago.
And with a high-flying media job, he is incredibly busy.
However his passion for the stage is inspiring and he fills every minute of his time fruitfully.
“I have been working in Media for over 10 years, I joined GNI Magazine in October 15, I work as Business and Operations Manager. Fancy title I know though really I look after all of the print and online advertising, I review play’s, restaurants, products etc and manage a small team of sales staff,” he said modestly.
“It’s hard getting things to fit in to be honest. There definitely aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week for that matter, It can be a juggling act at times and very tiring, though my boss is understanding so am able to work around pr and acting requirements.”
He has been involved with a myriad of wonderful plays however Joseph is close to his heart - a role he has played at least five times.
“Back in 2006 I was in the final 25 in BBC’s Any Dream Will Do, where Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber was casting the lead for the new west end production,” he said.
“Other roles I’ve really enjoyed are Jean Val Jean in Les Miserable, Roddy in Boogie Nights, Jesus in Messiah and more recently Willie Lopez in Ghost which I did in the Grand Opera House last October.
“These roles stand out because they are all so different from me. I have also done many straight plays and Pantomimes over the years. Its great to play the title roles i.e Aladdin, Sinbad etc and being a Prince - every boy’s dream right lol.”
Asked which role he would love to play, he had a few including Phantom of the Opera, Chris in Miss Saigon and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors all spring to mind. I love these shows, All have fantastic music and the characters are amazing.”
His role as Chad in All Shook Up is an exciting new adventure in Belfast and produced by Fortwilliam Musical Society.
“I am playing the role of Chad. He’s a kind of mix between Elvis, The Fonz and Danny Zuko. He’s a biker who loves his denims, leathers and the ladies, though he definitely isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. He plays on his looks and charm to get woman though there is one girl he just can’t get which drives him mad.
“Chad is a serial offender, he goes from town to town “spreading his loving”. The show is set in 50’s mid west America where music, tight clothes and public affection are all banned. As these are the epitome of Chad he always winds up in jail.
“All Shook up is a story based around the music of Elvis, and like Mama Mia is for ABBA and We Will Rock You is for Queen, therefore my character is by no means Elvis,” said Daniel.
What’s next for this talented Craigavon man? Broadway?
Daniel said: “OMG the dream is West End and Broadway though, in reality, unless I get a big break I’ll continue to work by day and tread the boards by night. Only other way around it would be to take a considerable amount of time of work to study across the water. This is a money thing and unfortunately would only happen if I was to win the lottery. Until then I can just dream,” he said, smiling.
The musical comedy All Shook Up will be in the Theatre at the Mill from Tuesday 28 Mar-Sat 1 April 2017.
For tickets call 028 9034 0202 or check out the website www.fortwilliammusicalsociety.co.uk/