CORONATION Street star Tupele Dorgu is swapping the famous cobbles for the streets of Stoke as she brings to life a double-murderess in a tale of corruption, greed and adultery.
Better known as mouthy Kelly Crabtree, Dorgu is set to fight against death row as Velma Kelly as Chicago The Musical is performed at Stoke’s Regent Theatre from Monday to Saturday.
The international award-winning musical is based on real life events back in the roaring 1920s where nightclub singer Roxie Hart, played by Hollyoaks star Ali Bastian, shoots her lover and along with Cell Block rival Velma Kelly, they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth talking lawyer, Billy Flynn, played by Eastenders Stefan Booth.
It also stars Bernie Nolan as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton and features a host of hits including All That Jazz and Razzle Dazzle.
Speaking to The Mail, Dorgu said the role of Velma is a ‘dream come true’ after seeing the show six times and after 200 performances, she is still enjoying bringing in new aspects to the character.
She said: “The tour has been really good, I have been to some great places and had great audiences. I have really enjoyed it.
“It is the first time I have had the chance to play Velma Kelly but I have seen it six times and it has always been my favourite entrance of a character.
“I love the numbers and love the character but I never really thought I would have the opportunity to play her.”
Dorgu said she is looking forward to performing in Stoke and it allows her to commute to see her family in Manchester.
Comparing being on stage to a longrunning soap, the popular actress said: “It is a big difference. It is hard to compare them both really.
“In the start I wanted to be in musicals and my first part was on the stage. I knew the part of Velma and really wanted to play her. I am getting into the role and it is everything I wanted it to be.
“Velma has a great opening number and I am really enjoying it. Much as it is the same role in each performance you get to add something every night and I always have something different to do.
“That is the difference and it is great to be able to do that. Initially there is more pressure in being on the stage but it depends what the part is.
“On television you can do scenes again but it can take a few months to settle into the part and try different things and build on the chemistry with the other characters.
“You hone the craft to get it how you really want with television and you get to take a scene again but ideally you want to get it right first time. It is a very fast paced show which whizzes along but it has some lovely moments.”
Of working with the cast, Dorgu said: “I knew Ali Bastian and Stefan Booth as you meet them on the soap circuit so it is great to be working with them. I never knew Bernie Nolan but she is lovely and I get to do a duet with her which is really good.”
Since leaving Coronation Street, she has kept herself busy, appearing on an episode of The Accused, The Case and Waterloo Road and various cooking shows as well as appearing in pantomimes and doing voiceover work.
Dorgu added: “It has been two-and-half years since I left Coronation Street and the whole point of leaving was to do new things and it is great to be able to audition for other parts like Velma.
“It is always good to embrace new roles and helps propel your career.
When I first left there was not a lot of new television shows being made but things evolve.”
After the Chicago tour, Dorgu will have a week off before appearing in Snow White as the Wicked Queen at Mansfield Palace Theatre.
Tickets for Chicago are available from the box office on 0844 871 7649 or by visiting www.atgtickets.com/shows/chicagothe- musical/regent-theatre