Elvis Stojko Talks About His Broadway Debut as Billy Flynn in CHICAGO
Elvis Stojko is no stranger to performing in front of an audience, having gone to the Olympics representing Canada in figure skating. Now, Sotjko is trading in the skates for a pair of dancing shoes to star as the fast talking lawyer Billy Flynn in the Broadway Production of Chicago.
Last night Stojko made his Broadway debut - and this morning he shared his thoughts with me.
"It was pretty exciting and nerve wracking at the top of the show, but once I got the first number out of the way and started to settle in I was able to enjoy it more. It was better than I ever thought I could be. It's hard to know what the first show will be like. That's part of the nerves, the unknown!"
Stojko and I also spoke about his stint in Chicago came to be.
"A producer by the name of Steve Disson, who puts together skating shows in the US is friends with the producer of the Chicago show. They had asked Steve if they could get a skater to play a role in the show and my name came up because of my background. I did an audition and got the part."
Stojko has a reputation as a role model - having inspired many people to pursue their dreams, so the role of Flynn is a little bit of a stretch for him.
"Billy has this dark side which is his manipulation of people to get his way. He does it effortlessly to the point that some people don't even realize he is doing it. But the characters that do know his personality - even if they don't like it, they still need him for his ability. Hi confidence comes from this knowing how to play the people."
While Elvis Stojko isn't known to be a song and dance man, he credits his work ethic and ability to focus, as well as his father for helping him prepare for his Broadway Debut.
"My background with singing has definitely helped me here. I am not a pro but my ability to focus has helped me improve quickly. My father is a classically trained tenor and he worked with me when I was younger. [He] sang for many years in the Slovenian Church. Little guy with the big voice. I worked with a classical coach as well, so over all I had a good base coming into this."
Stojko and I next discussed the process of joining a long running Broadway show.
"My work visa came late so I had to do the first 2 days via Skype from home. It [the rehearsal process] was less than 2 weeks overall, but I came prepared knowing my lines to make the process much smoother. I was working with the musical director, stage director, and dance director for the first week. They helped me through lines, music and choreography. Once I was comfortable I was put in with some of the cast to get a feel with the actors energy. I got notes and stuff to work on and I did extra work on the side on my own to get things as comfortable as possible. I didn't sing with the full orchestra till the day of the show, so that was a bit nerve wracking, but everything worked out fine."
Following his run in the Broadway production of Chicago, Stojko will cross the border to play the role of Flynn in the Toronto stop of the Chicago National Tour. I asked Stojko if he thinks the transition from one company to the next will be difficult.
"Thankfully I will have some time with the new actors in rehearsal to get a feel of timing and energy. It's only one day though."
When asked about the possibility of us seeing Stojko in another Broadway show, he said "I think being on stage is such a great experience and I enjoy performing, so I would love to continue this journey."
"Broadway is the best of the best, and working with the pros is such an honor. I have learned so much and that experience cannot be learned anywhere else. No matter what I do in life I want to be the best that I can be! And what is better than learning on Broadway?"
Stojko is also looking forward to returning to Toronto to perform for his friends, family and fans. "It will be a totally different energy and coming home to do the show will be exciting."
To end off our interview, I wanted to know how difficult performing on Broadway was relative to Stojko's figure skating past, and asked him what was more difficult - performing a toe loop, double toe loop combination jump (a move which Stojko was the first man to ever perform in competition) or singing and dancing on Broadway.
"They each have their challenges of course, but I would have to say the Quad combo is tougher."
Elvis Stojko will be with the Broadway production of Chicago through March 23 before joining the National Tour in Toronto from March 26-30.
Broadway Tickets for Chicago are available from Telecharge, and from TicketKing/Mirvish Productions in Toronto.