Star interview with Chicago star Bernie Nolan

Bernie Nolan in Chicago

Bernie Nolan in Chicago

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‘I’ve never heard that before,” groans Bernie Nolan, when I tell the star of stage, TV and music, that several men in my office have requested I ask if she is “in the mood for dancing?”

“I think people will always sing that song whenever they see me, even though there are a lot of things I have done since,” she said.

For many Bernie, who is currently starring as Mama Morton in Chicago at Milton Keynes Theatre, is most memorable as the lead vocalist of The Nolans (Nolan Sisters).

Together with her sisters they had hits such as I’m in the Mood for Dancing, Don’t Make Waves and Gotta Pull Myself Together selling millions of records worldwide.

But being a member of The Nolans is certainly not Bernie’s only accomplishment.

Over the years she has been a presenter on BBC Saturday morning children’s show, On the Waterfront, joined the cast of soap opera, Brookside, as Diane Murray, has taken on numerous TV and stage roles and released her own solo album, All By Myself ,in 2005.

“It is great to have such a diverse career,” she said. “I was very proud that I released my own album. I like doing everything all for different reasons.

“When you’re on stage the adrenaline is great, but I am keen to do more drama on TV and I have never done a sitcom before. I am told I have got a good sense of humour, so that’s something I would
really like to have a go at. I would like to stay in the business as long as possible. It’s what I do, it keeps me young.”

Bernie recently took a break from showbusiness – something she has been in since she joined The Nolans at the age of 13 – to battle breast cancer. “I took a year off when I was diagnosed in February 2010. I decided not to work when I was having the chemotherapy and I took about six months off,” said Bernie, whose sisters Anne and Linda Nolan have also fought and recovered from the illness. “I just kept concentrating on being positive and getting better and hoping the treatment worked.

“I actually had a great summer with my family. I felt like a mum and a housewife, I had never just been that before.

“I’ve had the all clear now. I did my first show, after my operation, in Calendar Girls which came to Milton Keynes.”

In her latest role at Milton Keynes, Bernie takes on a role very different from the bubbly persona many associate with her: “Mamma Morton is a formidable and powerful figure. She gets to boss everyone around which I enjoy as I’m not normally bossy.

“She’s more of a strong woman and I have played Mrs Johnson [in Blood Brothers] a lot, who is quite a weak character, and although that’s still one of my best roles for lots of reasons, it’s great to play someone very different.”

Chicago is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday. To book tickets call: 0844 871 7652 or visit: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes