SURREY â€” Siblings Suzanne and Juilia Bazso have already seen some amazing places during their song-and-dance careers, although life aboard a cruise ship isn’t always blue skies and warm sunshine, apparently.
The pair, who grew up and continue to live in South Surrey, have worked as performers on several Disney cruises in recent years, with adventures in Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico and more â€“ and rarely on the same ship at the same time.
"It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked, because you’re just going, going, going, doing several shows a week â€“ really big productions," Juilia explained. "You’re really isolated on a ship, too, without much communication with the outside world.
"But," she quickly added, "Disney is such a great company to work for and treat you so well. I’m glad I did it, for sure."
Juilia, 21, followed in the dance footsteps of her older sister Suzanne, 25.
This week, together they begin a rare run of local shows as part of the ensemble of a lavish My Fair Lady production.
Growing up, the Bazso girls trained at White Rock’s Spiral Dance studio, located not far from their classrooms at Earl Marriott Secondary.
"I remember auditioning for the high school musical," Suzanne recalled with a sigh, "but I couldn’t really be in it, because of all my extracurricular activities. I was in so many competitions and at dance rehearsals, after school until nine or 10 at night, that I had no time for the school production. I probably got farther staying on the serious dance path than had I done the high school musicals, so it was a good thing, I guess."
At age 18, Juilia was the first of the sisters to land a role in a cruise-ship show, followed soon after by Suzanne.
"That first audition, we weren’t expecting much and were told to prepare for rejection," Suzanne said. "They called Juilia first, my little sister, and I was like, ‘What?’ She was crying about not wanting to leave home and I told her, ‘You are taking that job!’" Aboard the ships, the Bazso sisters expanded their performing chops to include some singing and acting, leading to an increased appreciation for musicals.
With their recent Disney cruising on hold for the time being, they’ve turned their attention to the iconic musical-comedy My Fair Lady, a Royal City Music Theatre show that opens a two-week run tonight (Thursday, April 9) at Massey Theatre in New Westminster.
"A big reason we auditioned for My Fair Lady is because we hadn’t done a show like this in Vancouver, and we really wanted to, together," Suzanne said.
"It was weird, too," Juilia added with a laugh, "because even though we had these huge resumÃ©s with the Disney stuff, I really didn’t know many people in the local scene, in Vancouver, and they were like, ‘Who are you?’ I was so sure they weren’t going to hire me, no way â€“ even though I had a fairly good dance audition, but then there was singing, too."
In conversation, it’s evident these sisters are more supportive of one another than they are competitive.
"We’re always happy for the other person if they get something, a part, but it’d be a different story had we not both gotten parts in My Fair Lady," Suzanne said, sparking laughter from both of the Bazsos.
"Yeah," Juilia added, "that would have been a little awkward. I don’t know, I think our parents (Les and Lori) think there’s this competitive thing, so they worry about it more. Like, if there’s an audition for one of us, it’s always, ‘Did you tell your sister about it? Make sure to put in your sister’s name!’"
The two say they’re thrilled to hit the stage in the Max Reimer-directed My Fair Lady, the story of Cockney girl Eliza Doolittle and her speech lessons with Dr. Henry Higgins. Show tickets range in price from $26 to $47 at Masseytheatre.com and 604-521-5050; for details, visit Royalcitymusicaltheatre.com.
"I think our family and friends are pretty excited about this show," Juilia said, "because for the longest time, they haven’t been able to see us perform in anything. You know, they’ve supported us as kids at all these fundraisers over the years â€“ very supportive.
"This is close to home," she added with a giggle, "so now they don’t have to buy a whole cruise to watch us perform."