Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Small-screen star to make West End debut

Michelle-Ryan-as-Sally-Bowl.jpg

Having shaken off her EastEnders past, Michelle Ryan talks to Stylist about tackling the West End’s most sought-after role

With Sheridan Smith treading the boards as Hedda Gabler and Tamsin Greig playing the lead in Jumpy, it’s the stars of the small screen who are dominating London theatreland this autumn. And the latest to add West End stage actress to her CV is former EastEnders star Michelle Ryan, who appears as singer Sally Bowles alongside Will Young in Rufus Norris’ hotly anticipated reimagining of Cabaret.

After leaving Albert Square in 2005, Michelle headed to Hollywood, bagging the title role in the US series Bionic Woman. Blighted by the writers’ strike, it was cancelled after just eight episodes. “It opened up my world,” she tells Stylist frankly. “Hitting that high 18 months after leaving EastEnders took the pressure off. Rather than feeling I had something to prove, I had a career.”

ABOVE: Michelle Ryan and Matt Rawle in Cabaret

And now Ryan’s CV has reached a new pinnacle with the role of Sally, one of theatre’s most iconic characters. She’s following in the footsteps of industry luminaries Dame Judi Dench and Liza Minnelli to play the role most actresses hope to land. “I started doing musical theatre when I was 10, so I’m very excited,” she explains. “The writing is timeless; we are performing it years later yet it still has such impact and relevance.”

Another aspect of the role that appeals to Ryan is the chance to sing and dance every night. “I love the physicality,” she says excitedly. “My dream role is where I learn a new skill.” It’s a theme that runs throughout her acting choices; she learned the Israeli martial art Krav Maga for Bionic Woman, did her own stunts in Doctor Who and played a gun-toting bank robber in new Brit flick Cockneys Vs Zombies. But it’s acting that’s her true passion. “It’s always been a calling for me,” she said. “This role feels like I’m moving in the right direction. I’m starting a brilliant new chapter in my career.”

Cabaret opens 3 October at the Savoy Theatre; atgtickets.com/savoy

Related

masectomy.jpg

The Physical After-Effects of a Mastectomy

dancing.jpg

Top 12 dream courses to enrol on

vb-paparazzi.jpg

"We need to boycott the misogynistic paparazzi"

Comments

More

Alicia Vikander on why the world needs more female filmmakers

“It’s about equality” by Moya Crockett

22 Jul 2016

The star who almost landed Angelina Jolie's role in Mr & Mrs Smith

How the celebrity landscape could have changed... by Harriet Hall

22 Jul 2016

Zoe Saldana calls on women to stop funding man-made movies

“We’re going with our boyfriends to hold their fucking hands to go see a movie that we couldn’t care less about!” by Moya Crockett

22 Jul 2016

This week's best A-list Instagrams

From Adele's new look to Reese Witherspoon's fishing trip by Nicola Colyer

22 Jul 2016

“Why we should never legalise prostitution”

“It’s not work, it's exploitation” by Kat Banyard

21 Jul 2016

Meet Instagram's latest star (but she isn’t everything she seems)

by Harriet Hall

21 Jul 2016

“Why letting MPs breastfeed in the Commons is the only way forward”

No more boy’s club... by Moya Crockett

21 Jul 2016

Michelle Obama nails James Corden's Carpool Karaoke with Missy Elliot

“Get Ur Freak On” by Amy Lewis

21 Jul 2016

Teresa Halbach’s friend reacts to Making a Murderer Season 2 news

A close friend of the Making A Murderer victim has responded to news of a second series by Kayleigh Dray

21 Jul 2016

Actress documents shaving her head amid breast cancer treatment

Doherty shares a first-hand insight into one of the many emotional stages of undergoing breast cancer treatment. by Hayley Spencer

20 Jul 2016