Nominated for five Tony Awards and winner as Best Actor in a Musical for his unforgettable performance as "Barnum" in 1980, Jim Dale has been a star in his native Great Britain and in America for over six decades. From a kid performing in England's famed Music Halls, Dale went on to a successful career as a popular recording artist and star of close to 30 British films including the wildly popular Carry On series. Segueing into Britain's legitimate theatre, then crossing the pond, Dale wowed New York audiences in "Joe Egg," "Candide," "Me and My Girl," and "The Road to Mecca." Dale may be best known to American audiences as the "voice" of Harry Potter, having recorded all seven audio books in the Harry Potter series.
Dale premieres his one-man show, "Just Jim Dale," at Club Helsinki on Sunday, April 6 at 7 pm, part of the Helsinki on Broadway series. The show is directed by Tony Award-winner Richard Maltby, Jr. ("Ain't Misbehavin'"), and will have a 12-week run at the Roundabout Theater in New York City after the performance in Hudson. Tickets are $50 reserved table seating, $30 barstool. (518) 828-4800; Helsinkihudson.com.
As producer of Helsinki on Broadway, I am very happy and proud to be presenting you in this world premiere. Why "Just Jim Dale" and why just now?
Well, it is just me up on stage along with my pianist Mark York and it's more than just a cabaret act; it's truly a one-man show exploring through song and dance and story my seven decades in show business. We toyed around with lots of titles including "Jim Dale—Still Carrying On" as a nod to my Carry On films but "Just Jim Dale" seemed more to the point. And I have a great collaborator in Richard Maltby. I feel very safe in his hands, which is always so important. Great material to work from and a great director are the keys to a successful theatrical venture.
I am a very big fan of your work. And I especially loved "Barnum." What a thrilling show. You looked like you were having such a good time up there.
That show was a lot of fun to do. In addition to a great cast that included Glenn Close, we had real life circus performers on stage every night. I remember walking through Central Park while we were holding auditions for "Barnum" and I came across a young chap with red hair, red beard, and a bloody (literally) red face. You know, a street performer trying to make a few bob—dollars. He had been practicing walking a wire between two trees while playing his fiddle and two thugs came by and beat him up a bit. I offered some help, nobody else was around and then asked if he'd like to come and audition his act. He did, he got the job, and every night at the St. James Theater at the finale of the show there was Bruce Robinson walking the tightrope in his tights while playing his fiddle at the top of the theater. I often wondered if those two hoodlums that roughed him up a bit were in the balcony watching him in a Broadway show saying, "Doesn't that guy look familiar?"