I love the music of Kurt Weill, so needless to say I was excited to learn a new cabaret-play Love For Sale was coming to New York City celebrating this brilliant composer. I rang up this order and British actress Kelly Burke, answered my call to talk more about this show.
1. You are about to star in the US premiere of Love For Sale, a 1930's cabaret-play celebrating the music of Kurt Weill & his contemporaries. What made you want to be part of this new show? I’ve always been fascinated with the period — and with the music of the period, which I think was a real golden age in songwriting. To be working with such meaty songs, especially as a soprano, is a real gift.
2. What do you relate to most about your character? What is one characteristic your character has you are glad you don't possess? She’s working hard to make a life in a new country, and dealing with all the challenges of living in a foreign place (being a stranger, finding legal work, etc.) — which I’ve also done. She then goes on to fall under the influence of a fairly shady man...though so far I’ve managed to avoid that part.
3. What do you love most about the music of Kurt Weill? There’s an edginess to it that I find really thrilling. It’s exciting, almost dangerous…and treats love with a certain amount of toughness. It’s not sentimental. I like that.
4. If you could star in any Kurt Weill show, which one is your dream role? We don’t have any Lady in the Dark songs in the show, so I’d love a shot at "Liza Elliott." (It would also be a lot of fun to do Mahagonny…)
5. What are you looking forward to most about performing in NYC? There’s actually a lot of New York material in the show — Porter, Suesse, Blitzstein, some of the later Weill — so I think it will be interesting to work that material here. I’m also excited to see what the New York cabaret audience is like. I’ve never worked in the States before, so it’s all an adventure at the moment!
6. Since the show is called Love For Sale, what's the greatest price (meaning what's the biggest sacrifice) you've paid for love in your own life? Would you believe me if I said I had’t made any sacrifices for love? (At least any that I’m willing to admit to online!)
8. If you opened a pop-up store called "Love For Sale," what kind of items would you sell? Aphrodisiacs, voodoo dolls and sleeping pills?
9. What's one or two of your favorite love songs that you could listen to on a loop? I’m torn between "Could I Leave You" from Follies and Joni Mitchell’s "That Song About the Midway." There is also a totally delightful YouTube video of Elaine Stritch and Margaret Whiting singing "I Wish I Were in Love Again." I promise, you’ll watch it on loop, too.
10. On "Call Me Adam" I have a section called One Percent Better, where through my own fitness commitment, I try to encourage people to improve their own life by one percent every day. What is something in your life that you want to improve by one percent better every day? Well…I know the girl in the show would like to be one percent richer every day! I could probably survive that if I had to… but in the meantime, I’d settle for more yoga.
More on Kelly:
Kelly Burke was most recently seen at the Finborough Theatre (London), playing "Pierre & Margaret Trudeau" in Maggie & Pierre. Other London theatre includes Passion Play & Zelda (West End), Marie & Bruce (Royal Court), Our American Cousin, Blue Surge, The Sluts of Sutton Drive (Finborough), the world premiere of Neil LaBute’s Exhibit A (Theatre Delicatessen), Lady Windermere’s Fan (Tabard), As You Like It (Jagged Fence), Avocado (Kings Head) & $<0RP!0 (Theatre 503). Film includes Justice League, The Mummy (2017), Macbeth, Kill Your Friends. Radio includes Alfred Hitchcock’s The Blind Man (opposite Hugh Laurie), Tender is the Night, The Corrections, Hombre & The Big Sleep (opposite Toby Stephens). Kelly trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art & was a finalist for the 2012 OffWestEnd Award for Best Actress.