'Saturday Night Fever' hits Norton stage Thursday

November 09, 2003|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

Heather Lea Bair always was meant to dance. An experience when she was 5 solidified her desire to kick up her heels, and she'll be doing just that Thursday in "Saturday Night Fever."

"When I was 5 years old, my parents took me to see 'CATS' in San Francisco," says the Cincinnati native, who plays Shirley in the musical. "It was one of my birthday presents.

"During the show, one of the CATS came up to me and petted me on the head and gave me a kiss. I was sitting on my dad's lap and said, 'That's what I want to do when I grow up.' They looked at me and said, 'What, be a cat?' I said, 'I wanna be a dancer, I want to do this.' We went back home and my mom signed me up for dance class. This literally has been my dream since I was 5 years old."


The musical "Saturday Night Fever" does not differ much from the film, Bair says.

"It's based from the film, and not changed a whole lot," she explains. "It's about a boy who is growing up in Brooklyn and absolutely loves to dance. He has kinda the hard life of living in the Brooklyn area in the '70s, and things are not going well. His escape is going to the discos, and have that be a relief."

Bair, who just turned 21, plays a "specialty dancer" in "Saturday Night Fever."

"Chester is my partner's name," Bair notes. "We're a specialty couple, which just means, very simply, that (we) do a number in the show, a duet called 'Open Sesame' - that's our song - at the disco. There's a competition between three couples (during the show). I'm in one of the couples who is competing in the disco competition."

Tony, the main character, and his partner are another couple, while a Puerto Rican pair rounds out the trio of competitors. Bair says her duet/dance is "really funky," a Soul Train-esque dance.

"It's a lot of fun. We're very confident we're going to win and take first place, but the judges are very biased. Tony (the main character) is from there and wins, even though his dance is not the best. He gives the trophy to the Puerto Rican couple because he thinks they are more deserving."

"Saturday Night Fever" is Bair's first national Broadway tour, and playing Shirley requires a lot of endurance, she says. But she loves every minute of her time on-stage.

"You're just going all the time and the show is very demanding," she explains. "It's a great show, a great dance show, and just very challenging for me on a physical level because the dancing is so intense.

"It's fabulous. I get to sing, dance and act, all at the same time. But probably the hardest is having lots of energy all the time."

That's also part of the positive side of performing, Bair adds - being able to perform every night.

"And the amazing people I have met - there are just fabulous people in this company," she says. "I expected things a lot differently because ... you could work with very difficult people. But everyone is just very nice - it's a very, very good cast. We really have a great group of performers with us.

"And we're in front of a live audience, where you never know what happens. It's just fabulous."

Bair encourages everyone to see "Saturday Night Fever." "Because it's the best, most entertaining dance and singing musical," she explains. "It's just, gosh, I can't describe it."


"It's a party on stage every night," Bair continues. "We have a fabulous time with the show. The audience gets into it - the audience is dancing in the aisles at the end.

"It's fabulous, like a concert. The audience is involved as well as the dancers on-stage. All the people who come, afterwards, they want to go out and dance. It's very uplifting, and so much fun."

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