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Answer Me Yes: A Q&A with Michael William Byrne  
In our latest interview with the Starlight Express Bochum cast, we speak to Swing Michael William Byrne.

Role in the Show: Cover Dustin, Flat Top, Hip Hoppers, Engines, Components and Dance Captain. As a Swing I play a number of characters, depending on what cover is needed.

How long have you been in the show in Bochum?
I’ve been in the show for 5 years

Had you seen Starlight Express before appearing in the show?
Yes, I’ve seen Starlight Express before.

What do you think of the show?
It’s amazing, a spectacular show!

What is it like playing in the specially-built Starlighthalle?
It’s fantastic and a real privilege to play here.

What are the Bochum audiences like?
They are always on their feet by the end of the show.

What is it like performing the show in German?
At first it was a little daunting, but I see it as another challenge.

How far does the skating element of the show make Starlight Express different from performing in other musical theatre productions?
It’s a big difference, because you have so much more to think about.

Did you know how to skate before you appeared in Starlight Express?

So you had to learn to skate! Any interesting stories from skate school?
It’s great! The group became very close and my better friends are from this group. It is so intense.

What are you like on your roller skates now?
I can fullfil everything required of me. However you can always be better.

Have you experienced any skating-related injuries?
Due to the nature of the show, yes I have. But we have a Physio in the Starlight Express-Halle at all times, so it’s no problem. Thankfully the health care system is especially good in Germany.

How do you get about offstage during the show – do you keep your skates on?
Yes, I do. It’s great!

What is your favourite song of the show?
I like “Starlight Express”.

What is your favourite part of the show?
I like certain races. But I can’t really tell which one I like most, because every show is so different!

What do you like most and least about performing this role?
I love so many elements of the show, but it can be so physically demanding.

Are there any other roles in the show that you would like to play?
I’d like to play Caboose! I love how his character develops.

Was appearing in the show a personal ambition for you?
Not at first, but now I’m so proud to be a part of the show.

What inspired you to pursue a career in musical theatre?
I always have been and will be a big show off!

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My mother.

What would your dream role be?
I really enjoy being a swing, because I can play many characters. It keeps everything interesting.

Do you miss anything about home when you are performing in Bochum?
I miss my family, but flights are quite cheap and it takes only 60 minutes to fly back. So it’s not too bad.

Are the cast in Bochum very close?
Like any workplace, some people are, some are not. However onstage we all work as a team, always.

How would you spend your perfect day off?
Relaxing, relaxing, relaxing! Maybe Physio or a massage. There are some great restaurants around, so lots of eating and coffee, too. And I love to walk my dog.

Posted on: 15th April 2010

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