Currently reprising his role of Mickey, Ryan Hughes is touring the UK in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, having made his West End debut in the original cast at the Apollo Theatre in 2017, and he also covers the role of Dean. Whilst in the West End cast, Ryan performed at events including West End Live and the Olivier Awards and it has recently been announced that he will be playing Mickey when the musical is set to open in Los Angeles in January. As a dancer, Ryan has a duet during Everybody’s Talking About Jamie to If I Met Myself Again and, at 14, he joined ZooNation Dance Company where he trained for five years. We chatted to Ryan about touring with Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, making his West End debut in the original cast at the Apollo Theatre and training at ZooNation Dance Company.
You are currently in the UK Tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie as Mickey, reprising your role from the West End, what is the character like to play?
I love playing Mickey, I see him as what I would’ve been like at that age. Chilled yet loud, not dumb but not smart and just doesn’t take himself too seriously. I’d like to say I don’t really have to act that much to get into character for him!
How did you feel returning to the show and how is the tour going so far?
It was great coming back! There were only three or four people I knew already from doing it in the West End! So it was nice to have a completely fresh take on it with a new cast! The tour is going great.
What are you most looking forward to for continuing your run?
I’m looking forward to sharing the show with more people across the UK and getting to explore each new city we’re travelling to.
As an original West End cast member, how was it having the show as your professional West End debut?
I remember feeling extremely grateful for where I was, at the age I was and with the people I was doing it with. Knowing now how far the show has come, it feels cool knowing that I got to be a part of it from the start!
Whilst in the West End, you performed at events such as West End Live and the Olivier Awards, how was the experience?
I wasn’t really aware of either event before I started Jamie. So turning up and seeing the sheer size of them both was quite overwhelming! The Olivier Awards were especially cool as I got to perform in front of loads of people I’d seen and looked up to over the years. The after party was held in the Natural History Museum too, so having a little boogie underneath a huge skeleton of a blue whale was pretty sweet.
Do you have any favourite memories from your time at the Apollo Theatre?
I had a lot of laughs with the boys in my dressing room and worked with a lot of amazing people. In hindsight, the workout of travelling up and down five stories in between scenes from the stage to my dressing room as it kept me in a lot better shape than I thought it did, haha!
What is the dance duet of If I Met Myself Again like to perform?
The duet was my first ever experience of dancing outside of an ensemble piece. On top of that, it’s more of a lyrical hip-hop style which is definitely not my go to, so had to learn a bit when it came to lifts etc. However, now I’m on this tour, this is the eighth person I’ll have performed this duet with. So I feel fairly comfortable doing it now, haha!
You’ve also covered the role of Dean, what is this like to do?
I only have about three lines as Mickey, so going on to do Dean was my first proper time doing long chunks of dialogue by myself on stage. I remember being very spooked the first few times I did it, especially any scene I had to share with John McCrea. But also the Dean track is a lot less physically demanding as mine so that’s always a bonus, haha!
How different are you finding touring with the musical opposed to performing in one theatre?
Probably not the answer you were looking for, but I’ve travelled everywhere so far by car. So the travelling side is slightly exhausting, but I’m enjoying my road trips and the change of scenery. As opposed to the exact same route into work every day. I’m enjoying that every week is different!
Can you tell us about training at ZooNation Dance Company and what shows have you been part of with them?
I joined ZooNation when I was 14. I spent every Saturday for five years training for seven hours. Every week we would have three/four different teachers and every week we’d be learning a new Hip-Hop style. I’d definitely say that without Zoo I would never have been able to get the amount of good quality training that I did. I was a swing in Groove on Down the Road, Into the Hoods: Remixed and The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Do you have any favourite theatre shows to watch?
The ones that make me laugh the most will always usually be my favourite. So The Book of Mormon or anything that the Mischief Theatre guy come up with are always great.
Where does your love of dance come from and how did you get into it?
In the early days of Britain’s Got Talent, I loved groups like Diversity and Flawless. I’d never seen anything like it and just thought it was so cool. However, living in Bedfordshire, opportunities to be training in that style were very limited for me. I managed to join a local street dance class where the teacher of that then invited me to join his group in London where I received a much higher level of training. However, that training used to finish at 1pm, which would leave me feeling like I should be doing more training elsewhere as I was already in London so may as well! ZooNation came about shortly after that!
How do you like to spend your time away from theatre?
I’m definitely a takeaway and chill on the sofa type of guy as opposed to going out all the time. I love films, as does my girlfriend, so we’re always going to the cinema!
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
For me, I’d say the most rewarding part is being able to go to work and not think/see it as work! ✌🏼
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