ANITA HARRIS STARS IN CABARET
Kander and Ebb’s legendary musical Cabaret comes to the Wales Millennium Centre this month, in Rufus Norris’ smash-hit production presented by Bill Kenwright. Set in early 1930s Berlin, the glamour and decadence of the Kit Kat Club provides the backdrop for the travails of would-be writer Clifford Bradshaw, as the decline of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazism simmers away. One of the production’s stars, Anita Harris, first rose to fame in the 1960s as a singer and actress on stage and screen – most notably in two Carry On films. Here, she takes the role of Fräulein Schneider, landlady of the boarding house.
“When the offer came through, I really had to think about it,” Anita tells me. “I’m finding it a huge challenge but loving every minute of it.” Harris has had plenty of experience in showbusiness, from dancing in Vegas as a young showgirl to recording numbers with Burt Bacharach. In this, however, Anita has found “a different voice for herself,” as she puts it.
“Schneider’s songs are more recitative; they keep within the framework of the story. The richness of the lyrics works better for me in a slightly deeper voice, which is interesting because I’ve been up and down the scales a few times!”
The demanding role of the Emcee – which has had previous iconic portrayals from the likes of Joel Grey and Alan Cumming – is here taken by ex-Eastenders star John Partridge. “We’ve done a couple of things together – his cooking is better than mine!” laughs Anita, who appeared alongside Partridge in Celebrity Masterchef, which he won in 2018. “He’s just phenomenal in this – he’s made the part his own.” Kara Lily Hayworth, whose performance in Cilla The Musical garnered rave reviews, also features as Sally Bowles.
With such a glittering career, it’s a wonder that Harris hasn’t lost that “feeling of excitement” when performing. But what’s her advice to aspiring performers? “I use the word ‘believe’: believing in yourself without being a big time about it… A lot of it is luck, but keep learning, keep training, keep believing – and if it is meant to be, then your day will come.” SAM PRYCE
This event is now cancelled.