Page last updated at 08:55 GMT, Tuesday, 15 June 2010 09:55 UK

Talking Shop: Adam Garcia

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Adam Garcia talks about adrenalin-fuelled Tap Dogs

Australian actor Adam Garcia has returned to London's West End stage in Tap Dogs, created by Olivier award winner, Dein Perry.

Tap Dogs is a contemporary dance show that combines highly technical tap dancing in an industrial setting.

The ensemble cast features Douglas Mills, Matthew Papa, Richie Miller, Donovan Helma, Jesse Rasmussen, Jason Lewis and Sam Marks.

Garcia tells us about working with Arlene Phillips, his role in hit show Wicked - and working with the "remarkable" Kylie.


Tap Dogs first started back in 1995, why do you think it has withstood the test of time?

I think Tap Dogs has lasted so long because people have a natural interest in tap dancing. This form of dancing can't be dated, it's such an intriguing form of dance because the feet are also an an instrument.

So what is the show all about?

It is about six guys who work on a construction site, and how their day goes, that is probably the simplest way of putting it.

The style of tap is very different from Broadway tap isn't it?

It is not the gentle 42nd Street tap dancing! It is very technical, very fast, very complicated rhythmically and is quite loud.

Adam Garcia star of Tap Dogs
Adam Garcia was a judge on the TV talent show Got To Dance

I spotted two girls in the poster, are there girls in the show?

We have been lucky enough to find two exceptional percussionists who are both based in London. We don't always have musicians but of course London has the best musicians all the time.

You started tap dancing as a child...

I started with ballet and then my cousin Sarah introduced me to her tap teachers. I started tapping and I was okay. Then after about two years my feet knew what they were doing! I really enjoyed it because you didn't have to stretch.

So when was your big break?

At 15 I auditioned for 42nd Street in Australia. Dein Perry was in that show. I actually got the job but I couldn't do it because I was only 15. Legally I needed to have another 15-year-old to cover consecutive nights. My headmaster said he wouldn't allow me and encouraged me to concentrate on my diploma.

And you met up with Dein Perry later down the line?

My first break came with Dein Perry who was choreographing a show called Hot Shoe Shuffle and he asked me to get involved. What started as a one month job ended up touring Australia and went to the West End and won an Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer.

Arlene Phillips cast you in Saturday Night Fever how did that feel?

Arlene Phillips is London dance! She had actually cast me in Grease as one of the minor roles, and really liked what I did. When she cast me in Saturday Night Fever it was unbelievable. To be the lead in the West End at 25 was daunting, but one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life, and probably a career highlight.

More recently you played Fiyero in Wicked alongside Idina Menzel, was that exciting?

I had known about the show of course because of how phenomenal a success it was on Broadway. Working with Idina Menzel in one of the best Musicals of all time was a real honour, I loved it!

You have worked with Kylie Minogue, what was that like?

I has known her sister Dannii for a while and worked with her. Australia now has another queen in Kylie. She is a remarkable human being, so to work with her was tremendous.

You were a judge on the TV show Got To Dance alongside Ashley Banjo from Diversity and Kimberly Wyatt from Pussycat Dolls - was it strange being on the other side of the desk?

Strangely I really love being a judge. I am always up for a new challenge, and had not been a TV dance judge before. It really made me realise how much I enjoy dancing. The reconnection with dancing drags you back and says, 'hey you are really a dancer'.

Did you find it difficult to criticise the younger contestants?

I found it really hard to be mean to the younger contestants. I just really like people to dance, whether it be at a disco or in someone's back yard at a barbecue or a theatre - I love it. So I was just happy that people turned up!

When you were growing up who were your tap heroes?

Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, obviously were enormous heroes and idols of mine. Sammy Davis Jr was my biggest idol because he could do everything. I loved what his feet did, he was so cool, so cool.

You have starred in Hollywood movies such as Coyote Ugly, theatre and television, what do you love the most?

I think out of all the things that I have done, stage is still my favourite because of the live element. It is right there right in front of you, and people get to see a different experience every time they come to the theatre. That is what art is all about.

Do you enjoy working in London?

I love working in London. I have been in London for 16 years. I first came to work in a Hot Shoe Shuffle with Dein and fell in love with the city. The state of theatre in London was mind blowing to me. I saw there was a phenomenal theatre culture that I wanted to be part of. I have stayed ever since. This is my eighth West End Show, and it never loses any of its excitement.

Tap Dogs is at the Novello Theatre. Adam Garcia was talking to BBC News reporter Claudia Redmond.



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