Ballroom dance champion and Broadway actress Victoria Regan, who has been cast in the leading role of the famous aging Russian ballerina Grushinkskaya in Grand Hotel at TheatreZone next month, still dances on her tiptoes.
"Victoria brings more than 25 years professional experience in ballroom dance and musical theatre earning 10 U.S. championship titles and nine international titles," says director Mark Danni, who previously directed Ms. Regan in the role of "La Fleur" in TheatreZone's 2007 production of Nine. "She a brilliant dancer, actress and singer who combines the romance and style of ballroom dancing with the excitement of live theatre to create magic," he adds.
Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, Ms. Regan began ballet lessons at age seven. A move to Daytona Beach introduced her to a studio that taught her theatre dance and ignited her desire to pursue a career in the performing arts. Her first major achievements were in ballroom dancing, capturing the titles of the United States Latin Champion, Canadian Ballroom and Latin Champion, North American Ten Dance Champion and was a Latin finalist in the Blackpool Championships one of the largest competitions in the world.
Encouraged by her success in dance, Ms. Regan moved to New York and her first audition landed her in the original cast of the Broadway hit 42nd Street, directed and choreographed by Gower Champion. From 42nd Street, she joined the company of American Dance Machine traveling throughout Japan including for three months as a choreographer for The Takarazuka Company (female counterpart to the Kabuki).
Upon returning to New York, she played the secretary in the musical George Mat the North Carolina Theatre. Ms. Regan then spent the next 10 years studying, auditioning and performing in industrial shows, soap operas, commercials, and concerts featuring the music and lyrics of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and many others.
In 1989, Ms. Regan received a call to audition for role of the blind countess in the Broadway musical Grand Hotel based upon the film, directed and choreographed by Tommy Tune.
"The Countess was an ideal role because it required the art of ballroom dancing with some beautiful lifts that my dance partner Arte Phillips ensured were all seamless and as light as a feature," remembers Ms. Regan. "Arte and I shared the Broadway stage for a short while and then joined the national tour for two years," she adds.
Soon after the tour ended, another production of Grand Hotel was opening at the North Carolina Theater, and this time, Ms. Regan was offered the lead role of Grushinskaya originated on Broadway by Tony award winning actress Lilianne Montevecci and her replacement, the legendary American dancer Cyd Charisse.
"Grushinskaya was an aging Russian ballerina who spoke with a French accent and was desperate for love," explains Ms. Regan. "While the part of aging was not unfamiliar, dancing around on pointe certainly was a challenge, but so well worth the great effort as there were some great love scenes that made up for the pain," she recalls.
Ms. Regan then created her own cabaret act, Hats Off, featuring a host of Broadway show tunes with a trace of ballroom dancing. Following this engagement she participated in a series of concerts and tributes including Lyrics and Lyricistsseries at the 92nd St. Y, The Gershwins, Jerome Kern, Astaire & Rogers and An Evening with Marvin Hamlisch. During this period she also appeared in the films A Chorus Line and Annie.
Ms. Regan maintains residences in New York City and Tampa, FL. She is a traveling consultant for Arthur Murray, Inc. and spends much of her time today coaching professional and amateur dance competitors, judging major dance competitions as a Dancesport coach and judge while providing commentary for many of the televised Dancesport competitions. She is the only tap examiner for the U.S. Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (USISTD) and a guest artist with Broadway Theatre Project in Tampa. In addition, she has her own series of ballroom dance DVDs entitled "You Can Dance."