Dirty Dancing stage star Michael O’Reilly: ‘I believe hard work beats talent every time’

The male lead in the stage adaptation of Dirty Dancing, believes everyone who keeps trying will make it in the end

Michael O’Reilly: ‘When you’re in a show like Dirty Dancing and opposite someone as beautiful as Kira, the inevitable is going to happen – we fell in love.’ Picture: Jack Heasman

Take one look look at Michael O’Reilly’s barrel chested physique, and it should come as no surprise that the English actor’s earliest ambition was to be a professional rugby player.

“I was playing rugby for the Ivybridge elite rugby academy. I then auditioned for Matthew Bourne's Lord of the Flies and that’s what inspired me to move to London and pursue performing,” he says.

Since then O’Reilly has starred in West End shows including West Side Story, Man Up and A Clockwork Orange. He is currently playing the role of Johnny Castle in the stage adaptation of Dirty Dancing, starring opposite real life girlfriend Kira Malou (Baby). The couple met during auditions of the show and have been together since.