I Will Survive – Interview With Legally Blonde Star Mike Snell
Mike Snell is currently on our screens on the reality show on I Will Survive, but he is one of the contestants on the show who is a bona fide musical theatre star, and he is currently getting cracker reviews (see WA Today and here) in his turn as Kyle the sexy UPS delivery guy in Legally Blonde.
For reality TV fans in Legally Blonde there are other alumni of the genre in the show including Erica Heynatz, Rob Mills, Lucy Durack and Cameron Daddo.
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Mike who is the nice guy, on I Will Survive. We talked disappointing ratings and why the viewer should tune back in, playing yourself versus playing a character, Legally Blonde and future plans.
RR: Did you get the part of Legally Blonde before I Will Survive?
Mike Snell: I was fortunate to be cast in Legally Blonde just before the auditions came up for IWS. When IWS came through I was a bit unsure of the dates overlapping , but the producers of Legally Blonde were kind enough to let me go on the show and if I needed to take the over lap days the producers would have let me.
RR: Why did you audition for I Will Survive or were you approached?
MS: My best friend, Sam, he saw the audition on Facebook and told me about it. I thought I am never going to do that as I have never done drag before and the thought of doing drag on national television was just terrifying to me. My best mate forced me out the door and auditioned and never looked back.
RR: Obviously ratings have been not as high as everyone would have liked. Do you think there is anything that could have been done to obtain a wider audience?
MS: I think they could have done more dancing as men rather than all the dancing done in drag. The drag element is obviously very important and vital because it is so about Priscilla. But I think if the viewers had seen us do masculine hard hitting routines as men we would have captured a wider audience members. Being up against The X Factor is ridiculous. The time slot would have made a difference as well. They could have put it in the time slot made it more adult based and a bit cheekier. We got up to a lot of mischief. For a 7.30pm time slot they have had to clean it up.
RR: For a show based on finding then next big musical theatre star there have not been many show tunes?
MS: None. I entered the show thinking music theatre lets go. We were not doing show tunes but it was great to opening us up to different styles. You find these days with musicals there is not many shows coming out anymore that are Phantom. There are so many shows on Broadway at the moment that are pop based. Legally Blonde is very pop, where you are fighting against that classical tone and the show was really good about opening up the pop side of our voices and they were really trying to get us to play with different styles.
RR: Because of the different styles did you feel that any of the stronger singers went home early?
MS: For example Matt McFarlane went a couple of weeks and they were always grilling him about his classic training and bravado. The judges were not just looking for a musical theatre star they were looking for someone who could do a musical, then a movie and then a soundtrack. It was not about just finding the musical theatre performer but the triple threat like Hugh Jackman. He bounces from Les Mis to Wolverine to hosting award shows, they were wanting someone who could do it all and have a modern edge.
RR: As this was your first reality show was there anything that surprised you about it? Was it what you expected?
MS: No I was very nervous and I found the cameras quite nerve wracking. I am used to going out on stage and leaving my personality at the door and becoming a character. So for the first few weeks I was really self-aware as I was wondering what sort of character should I play right now? Tell me or give me a script and I will act. Tell me which character to play that is what I do, I leave myself at the door when I go to work. Just having cameras in my face surprised me how nervous I was. I thought I would be quite entertaining but I found myself quite boring and I was trying to work out how to be more natural in front of the cameras as just me.
RR: What would tell readers why they should clock back into watch IWS?
MS: The show is about to head over to LA, Vegas and New York. I think people have seen enough of the outback. Now it is going to move to Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills, the Vegas strip and New York City. The challenges are pretty amazing. It switches into a faster pace.
RR: Tell me about your role in Legally Blonde?
MS: I am playing Kyle the sexy UPS delivery man and he has a package. You will be seeing a different side of me has he plays the butch delivery guy who falls in love with Paulette. The run is until the end of January and has the possibility of being extended to March. Lucy Durack who plays Elle Woods is amazing, just come to see her.
RR: Have you got anything planned post Legally Blonde?
MS: I am thinking of trying my luck in New York City. The show really inspired me to go for it.
RR: The show [Legally Blonde] has been very successful on Broadway and the West End.
MS: Musical’s reflect what is going on in the world. They want to be stimulated by lights, set changes and costumes. Look at the blockbusters like Wicked, Mary Poppins and Legally Blonde all have huge set changes and tricks, like Wicked has flying witches and Mary Poppins had flying and dancing on the ceiling.
RR: If you could go on another reality show what would it be, regardless of talent?
MS: I would love to go on Project Runway, or The Biggest Loser as I put on weight when I was away. I really love Loser and I really into fitness and could do with a few boot camps.
I Will Survive is on Tuesday nights on TEN, and Legally Blonde is currently on at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.