Graham MacDuff is Puttin’ On the Ritz

Puttin' On the Ritz.
Puttin' On the Ritz.

MUSIC theatre performer Graham MacDuff has an impressive West End resume but it is another stint in his career that has become a conversation starter at parties.

He was once a backing dancer for English female pop group Bananarama.

“I had a fantastic time as a 19-year-old man going round and doing TV and stage performances and having fun with the girls,” MacDuff said.

“It was great and only for, Nathan Jones, where Bananarama overtook The Supremes with that song as the biggest selling all-girl group in the UK.”

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Graham MacDuff.

Growing up in Kent, MacDuff was introduced to music theatre in 1978 when he and his brothers answered a newspaper ad for child cast members in Lionel Bart’s Oliver on the West End.

“All three of us got in, so that was my first outing on the stage,” he said.

“From there I went to stage school in London and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Having previously worked with producer David King on Thoroughly Modern Millie, MacDuff was invited by King to perform as lead male singer on this year’s Australian tour of Puttin’ On the Ritz.

“He asked if I was interested in popping over to Australia for five weeks and singing some fantastic numbers,” MacDuff said.

“I couldn’t really say no. It’s my first trip to Australia apart from a brief stint when I was about four years old, but I slept for most of that.”

Puttin’ On the Ritz.

MacDuff said the show was a singing dancing spectacular featuring some of the greatest music ever to come out of America and the music theatre world.

“It’s songs from the 1920s and 1930s that then became even more famous in the 1940s and 1950s when they were made in to film musicals,” he said

“It’s a great nostalgic feel and I get to sing some absolute corkers.

“Personal favourites I sing are Al Jolson’s Swanee at the end of Act One and I do Birth of the Blues, which is an old Sammy Davis Jnr number. That’s the kind of music I grew up on.”

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THE ESSENTIALS

What: Puttin’ On the Ritz

Where and when: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, June 27

Regal Theatre, June 28 and 29

Tickets: www.manpac.com.au

www.ticketek.com.au