The next interview in our stagey chat series is with the wonderful Charlie McCullagh, who's about to reprise his role as Larry, in brand new musical, 42 Balloons. 42 Balloons opens at the Lowry in Salford from 18th April 2024. You can book tickets here.

Get yourself comfy and join us for the next segment of Stagey Chat!

Hi Charlie, how are you? Thanks so much for chatting to Stage to Page today! Would you mind introducing yourself and telling our readers how you first got into acting?

Hey! My name is Charlie McCullagh and I’m an actor from Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. I was in the Original West End Cast of Bonnie and Clyde and am currently taking a break from being Alternate Jesus in the U.K. Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar to do an amazing new show called 42 Balloons which is having its World Premiere in the Lowry. 

I’ve always been obsessed with stories since I was a kid regardless of if it’s told through a book, film, show or even verbally! I was drawn to theatre because I wanted to tell stories and what I love about theatre is that we do it as a community. The company onstage and offstage with the audience that particular night comes together to share in the experience! 

From 18 April, you'll be playing Larry in the Lowry production of 42 Balloons. Can you tell us more about the show and what it is that drew you to the role of Larry?

The show follows Larry Walters and his girlfriend Carol Van Deusen as they attempt to make Larry’s teenage dream of flying come true, using 42 balloons and a Lawnchair. I was initially drawn to the show through the stranger than fiction story but Jack Godfrey’s amazing writing is what solidified my love of the show alongside Joe Beighton’s phenomenal arrangements! 

I love playing Larry and sharing this man’s incredible tale and achievement with audiences. We all know what it’s like to want something that we’ve been told we can’t have and have all felt like the outsider at some point , so this man who sets out to claim his dream for himself with the help of those close to him is beyond beautiful and inspiring! 

In 2022, you played the role of Larry in the staged concert performances of 42 Balloons. How does it feel to be reprising the role with returning cast member, Evelyn Hoskins?

It’s amazing to be returning to this show in general but to be returning with Evelyn is amazing. Creating these roles and this relationship with her was such a special shared experience, I’m beyond grateful to continue developing these roles and this story with them. 

You're currently playing alternate Jesus in the the Jesus Christ Superstar UK tour. How is that going and are you enjoying the run?

It’s amazing! It’s my first time touring and doing it in a rock show is beyond cool but I’m leaving a trail of glitter across the U.K. in every home and hotel I stay in, so I’m grateful for a break from the blood and glitter! 

From Bonnie & Clyde, to Jesus Christ Superstar, to Annie, Get Your Gun - it's been a busy year for you! Is there a particular standout moment from the past 12 months?

I worked on my first ever television set but I can’t say anything on that, just yet! However getting to return to Dr Zhivago which was one of my first big jobs was an amazing experience, especially returning with familiar faces who’d given me such good advice when I was first starting out. The show has such a beautiful score and it was lovely to revisit it and celebrate Lucy Simon

A question I ask everyone we chat to - my blog is called Stage to Page. But if you could turn any book, from page to stage, what would it be and why?

Oh that is tough! I love fantasy, so I would love another fantastical musical, especially after the recent success of Lord of the Rings at the Watermill! Something like Stardust by Neil Gaiman or 11.22.63 by Stephen King. I think Stardust is a beautifully fun adventure that would be phenomenal onstage and 11.22.63 has the thriller aspect of attempting to stop the JFK assassination and a beautiful romance at its core! 

And finally, why should anyone reading this book tickets to see 42 Balloons?

It’s a show and story like no other, it’s uplifting and beautiful. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this production and share Larry’s story with audiences in Salford and I know everyone will love it as much as I do. Also the music is banging, you’ll love it. It’s got everything you could want in a musical.

No comments