Hip-shaking Savanna Darnell said it was the ‘best feeling ever’ to land a role in Thriller Live, a globe-trotting West End musical which celebrates the career of Michael Jackson.
Savanna, aged 20, who landed the role on the day she graduated from college, beat hundreds of applicants at London auditions to become a dancer in the production.
But, in a twist of fate, the role means Savanna will perform four nights at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre – where her mum Karen Smallwood met pop-star dad Kid Creole in 1982 which led a romance.
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Savanna said: “It’s totally crazy that I’m performing on the same stage my dad did the night he met my mum. If she hadn’t gone to that show, I wouldn’t even be here – let alone performing here.”
Mum Karen said she was working at Grooves record shop, in Worksop, aged 16, when she discovered her favourite act was playing at The Lyceum.
Karen, 49, said: “I absolutely loved Kid Creole and the Coconuts and made sure I got to meet him after the show to get a vinyl signed.”
That Christmas, Karen sent Kid Creole a letter and, to her surprise, the star wrote back.
Karen said: “We were pen pals for about eight years after that. Then when I was 24 he invited me to work as his personal assistant in New York.”
One year into the role, the pair formed a relationship. Four years later, Savanna was born – and soon showed a flare for performing.
Aged three to 16, Savanna danced with SDK, in Dinnington, and then progressed to the Midland Academy of Dance and Drama, in Nottingham.
On the day she graduated from the academy – July 24 – Savanna found out she had landed the prestigious role.
Savanna, of Dinnington, said: “It was the best feeling ever to get the role – I was thrilled.
“I was in rehearsals in college at the time and could see that my agent was calling. I knew it was about Thriller, so I snuck to the toilets and took the call.
“When I found out I’d got the part, I burst into tears. I was so happy.”
Savanna will complete her four nights at The Lyceum on Saturday, before hitting the road again with the production.
Her dad Kid Creole – aka August Darnell, who has been active since 1980 and has performed on-stage duos with Savanna – flew in from Hawaii to watch his daughter in Sheffield.
Karen and Kid Creole married and lived in Dinnington for four years. They are now divorced.
n To learn more about Thriller Live, visit: www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/thriller-live