How to create your own cruise ship cabaret by West End star Michael Quinn


Would you like a lead role in a major musical? Cats, We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages… the list of West End shows on cruise ships is growing all the time. In this week’s Cabaret Secrets Podcast I talk to Michael Quinn. He went from starring in West End shows to cruise ship production spectaculars and finally created his own headline cabaret act.

Michael is no stranger to the West End. After years of success in shows like Jailhouse Rock, Joseph and Beauty and the Beast, he decided he wanted to perform at sea. He successfully auditioned for a leading role in Hairspray on the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. It was a journey that led to two successful contracts and finally his dream of creating and performing his own headline cabaret.

In this interview Michael talks candidly about his journey and shares valuable lessons he’s learned along the way. How did his agent feel about him going to sea? Did working on a ship harm his West End prospects? How did working on a ship compare to the West End? What was the workload like? Was it more or less professional than theatres on dry land? What was it like ‘living’ alongside your audience? How about the rules and regulations you have to follow at sea?

“Rather than jumping on the train from Lewisham and sitting with everybody at rush hour, you go to the beach, get back to the ship and perform in the evening.”

If you’re creating your own cabaret show for cruise ships, here are some tips from Michael:

  • Have great band charts. They need to be clear and accurate.
  • Understand your music properly so you have the confidence to run your rehearsal.
  • Get a great website.
  • Be prepared for long periods of time on your own. It can be lonely not being in a cast.

If you’re a production singer thinking about working on the cruise ship, either in a show or with your own act, this is a great Podcast packed with valuable advice.

Recording 5th November 2014 in London.

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