On her day off from starring in Annie Get Your Gun at the Crucible, next Monday Anna-Jane Casey will move into the Studio to present her solo show, A Life in the Day.
It is a mix of song, comedy and personal recollection from the performer whose career has ranged from West End shows such as Chicago, West Side Story, Sunday in the Park with George and Billy Elliot to voicing an episode of Family Guy,
I would come to the Crucible to sweep the stage
“When people do cabaret, unless you have originated a role or been chosen by Stephen Sondheim, it always seems self-indulgent somehow,” she says. “I wanted to do something different and, having seen a lot of shows, it works when it is based on truth about who you are and what you do.
“In my case it’s quite a story about how a market trader’s daughter from Lancashire ended up singing at the Royal Albert Hall.”
She starts with her childhood and moving to London as a teenager. “I talk about meeting my husband on West Side Story and about my children. There’s the past and what’s in the future. And I hope it will make people laugh, too.”
AJ has been developing the show over the past year or so and has performed it a couple of times at cabaret venues in the West End. “Paul Herbert who is musical director on Annie Get Your Gun has been my md for years and we thought why don’t we do it in Sheffield? Lot of people have said on Twitter they’d like to see the show outside London,” she explains.
She shows off her skills on the ukulele. “But I don’t play any George Formby. And it’s not all show tunes, she prefers pop songs and things she sang to her children.
They are two girls, now aged 10 and four, so there’s a balance to be struck between career and family.
“Children are more resilient than we give them credit for,” she believes. “It’s easier than you might think and we do have a wonderful au pair who’s Italian so they’re learning a bit of Italian and eating special pasta dishes.
“I have worked in Sheffield a few times and they are used to seeing me here on Facetime and know the place as well as I do. My baby was in my uterus when I did Company which means she has been on the Crucible stage already in a different capacity.”
AJ has also been here in Sweet Charity, Piaf, Flowers for Mrs Harris and now Annie Get Your Gun.
“Annie has been heavenly,” she enthuses. “It’s a great role but it’s been made by the support from Ben Lewis and a wonderful cast and ensemble. We have all become good friends and I know we are always saying this company is like family but I think it’s really true this time.
“I am always bigging up Sheffield but it is my favourite place and theatre to work and I know for saying that some of my fellow Lancastrians will want to beat me with a stick but I can’t help it.
“I would come here to sweep the stage.”
l Annie Get Your Gun runs to January 21. A Life in the Day is in the Studio on Monday.