A lorra, lorra surprises in Cilla's popÂ story forÂ star Kara
Surprise, surprise '“Â starring in the show Cilla introduced young actress Kara Lily Hayworth to a whole new side of theÂ star as aÂ 1960s chart topper.
Kara said: 'When I was growing up '“Â I was born in the late 1980s '“Â Cilla was the star of Blind Date and Surprise, Surprise. I didn't know much about her pop career.
'She was incredible.I didn't realise how massive a pop star she was ad how many hits she had.
'People of my generation know her as a TV presenter.'
Kara was fascinated by the story of the coat check girl at the famous Cavern club in Liverpool who was discovered by Brian Epstein, who also managed The Beatles.
The Fab Four also feature in the show.
'I think the secret of her popularity was that she had this way of connecting with everybody and making them feel they knew her. That was a magic she had.'
Kara learned Cilla's distinctive singing style and speakingÂ voice by watching lots of videos online and recordings.
'I tried to get the accent right, and her way of speaking.'
She described Cilla's ongoing popularity: 'I think she became a national treasure and I think people felt they knew her.
'She was so down to earth. That was why people fell in love with her.
'She was so relatable, she represented the normal family and the normal woman, rather than being a sort of superstar you couldn't relate to.
'It was a proper rags to riches story.'
Kara said that Cilla's eldest son, Robert Willis, is executive producer of the show and has been involved right from the auditions and rehearsals.
'It's been so lovely and amazing. Other members of the family have been to see the show and loved it.
'It's great to know I'm doing it well and doing her justice.'
The show follows the story of Cilla and her great love, her husband Bobby, and their break-ups and reunions.
'It's really a love story between Cilla and Bobby,' said Kara.
Brian Epstein is another key character in the story, which also portrays his struggles with drugs before he died aged only 32.
Kara said: 'It isn't just this happy story, it really shows you all aspects of that time, the ups and downs of all the relationships. You see it warts and all.'
The show has been very well received, said Kara, and has won standing ovationsÂ every night.
Kara, who fought through 10 auditions to land the role,Â talked about the show's appeal: 'If you loved the Sixties, you'll love it.
'There's all the fantastic music, so people are goingÂ to love that.'
The story has 18 songs woven into it, including Cilla's hits such asÂ Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie and Something Tells Me, plus other greats of the era, suchÂ as Twist and Shout and Roll Over, BeethovenÂ by The Beatles andÂ California Dreamin' by The Mamas and The Papas.
'I'd say it was more like a play with music than a musical. All the music is live on stage and the actor-musicians are so fantastic,' said Kara.
She also has 24 costumeÂ changes to portray the era's famous fashions.Â
Cilla the Musical is on stage at the Lyceum until Saturday, October 6. Tickets from www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk