Nothing's sweeter than a musical, Sharon Millerchip tells REBECCA BEISLER

Sharon Millerchip is a self-confessed Energiser bunny.
    Which kind of helps for her latest gig as the lead in the sassy, high-energy musical Sweet Charity.
    For the 2 1/2 hours of the show, Millerchip is on stage for all but four minutes.
    "That time is spent getting changed; I'm not sitting up the back having vodka shots," she said, laughing.
    Taking the role of Charity Hope Valentine -- a girl who looks for love in all the wrong places -- Millerchip has to perfect the smooth-flowing script, sing and dance in six major songs and be funny all at once.
    But that is how she likes it.
    "I thrive on it -- it is my kind of energy," she said.
    Millerchip's energetic personality peaks in her enthusiasm for the show.
    She spoke to mX four days into rehearsals and was beaming, if somewhat exhausted.
    "It is going extremely well," Millerchip said.
    Her plug for the show includes sexy dancers, good laughs and guaranteed entertainment.
    "I get to deliver that New York fireman dialogue.  There is not an awkward sentence in it, it's all gold," she said.
    "They are sure-fire gags -- it's a pretty top-shelf show."
    Millerchip, a mother of two, has countless musicals under her belt.
    At 17 she did her theatre apprenticeship when she was cast in Cats.
    She played ballerina Meg Giry in the original Australian production of The Phantom of the Opera and receieved an Mo Award nomination for her performance.
    And you can throw in major productions of West Side Story, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast and, most recently, Pippin at the Sydney Theatre.
    But to be asked to play Charity is "really big".
    "It's one of those iconic roles you want to do before you die," she said.
    "But the icing on the cake was to be asked to do it by Nancye Hayes."
    Hayes, who shot to fame as Australia's original Charity in 1967, is the director of the new show.
    "Nancye is glorious," Millerchip said.
    "For the star she is, she is devoid of any kind of ego ... she is a pretty classy lady."
    Fans of the musical can expect a show that is true to the original with the brassy staple tunes Hey, Big Spender, Rhythm of Life and If My Friends Could See Me Now.
    "It's quality, even for those who don't like musicals," Millerchip said.
    But wait, there's more.
    "My theory is that musicals are coming back," she said.
    "When you've got something that been out of fashion for so long, it has to roll around again at some stage."
    She backs her claim with the return of The Phantom of the Opera and the Australian production of Billy Elliot.
    But also new stuff coming out like that from comedian Eddie Perfect, who is writing a musical based on Shane Warne, and Casey Bennetto, who composed Keating!  The Musical
    Who knows, if leggy dancers, punchy lines and fun songs are your thing, Sweet Charity could be the musical to seduce you.