Flappers, bobs, Charleston and lots and lots of tap dancing ?it could only be the 1920s.

And it鈥檚 being recreated on stage at the Liverpool Empire next week when the new touring production of Thoroughly Modern Millie taps in to town.

The musical, which won six Tony Awards on Broadway, is based on the 1967 Academy Award-winning film starring Julie Andrews.

And it will take Liverpool audiences back to the height of the Jazz Age in 20s New York City, when 鈥榤oderns鈥?including Millie Dillmount were bobbing their hair, raising their hemlines, entering the workforce and rewriting the rules of love.

Strictly professional Joanne Clifton is starring in the title role, and we caught up with her to talk all things acting, singing and, of course, dancing.

Thanks for sparing time to talk between shows. So, how is the tour going?

Joanne Clifton is playing Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Liverpool Empire

I鈥檓 sitting here just in a shirt and my show tights and a wig!

It鈥檚 like a dream come true for me this.

I didn鈥檛 know how I鈥檇 feel being on tour. I鈥檝e done the Strictly tour before, but it鈥檚 short and just one day or two days maximum in each place.

This is a week in each place, and I鈥檓 actually really loving it.

How did all this come about?

Well, I鈥檝e always wanted to do musical theatre. When I was a kid I was always singing and acting. I had a lesson every Monday night acting, and Friday night singing.

But it came to a point where I wanted to go to a theatre school in London. But my parents couldn鈥檛 afford both (dancing and acting).

They sat me down and said 鈥榣ook we鈥檒l support you in whichever you choose, but you have to choose between either dancing or musical theatre鈥?

So I chose the safe route, because obviously all my family were dancers, my big brother and my parents, my auntie, grandparents.

It鈥檚 what I know, and I wouldn鈥檛 have to move away from home.

Then at 16 I DID move away from home! To Italy to carry on with my dancing career. But I couldn鈥檛 carry on with my singing and acting lessons over there.

As soon as I came back to do Strictly, I thought any spare time I鈥檝e got I鈥檓 going to get back in to singing and acting.

Joanne Clifton is excited about her role as Millie - as this tweet shows

I got a role in a production called Face the Music, which was a small fringe production, and then Marilyn Monroe in Norma Jeane the Musical - and then I got this.

How much did you know about Thoroughly Modern Millie - and was the role on your wishlist?

Funnily enough, the first song I sing in the musical, Not For the Life of Me, when I started at my singing lessons again, that was the first song we worked on for auditions.

It鈥檚 just so weird.

It was a role I wanted to do because obviously I鈥檇 heard the songs and really liked them, and I loved the era.

Being in musicals is hard work. Has your background of long hours of dance training helped?

It鈥檚 helped me in the sense that I missed a week or so of rehearsals of this because of Strictly.

And it鈥檚 not as though I had that much time ON Strictly to be able to work on the script and stuff!

So the kind of training I had with my dancing did help me.

As soon as Strictly was over I was on it with the script, getting into rehearsals, taking in an avalanche of information. Everybody had already practised the dances and songs, and put it together in scenes.

I just had to quickly put it all together and learn it.

What has been most challenging aspect?

Jenny Fitzpatrick as Muzzy Van Hossmere and Joanne Clifton as Millie Dillmount

Shall I admit it? The most challenging thing is to tap dance!

You wouldn鈥檛 have thought so. And I get so frustrated with myself, because I鈥檓 like - I SHOULD be able to do this.

Not many people realise ballroom dancing is very different from every other style because basically you鈥檙e just attached to a man in ballroom hold.

People don鈥檛 realise it when they ask you to do other things, they鈥檒l say 鈥榞o on, do the splits鈥?and I鈥檓 like, I can鈥檛 actually do it because I鈥檝e never had to do it really.

Also in ballroom and Latin, we have to really have strong ankles, and stretched ankles, and in tap you have to free off your ankles.

So overall I鈥檓 finding it hard. But I鈥檓 doing it.

I went up to the director and I was (whispers) 鈥榙on鈥檛 put taps on the bottom of my shoes will you? Just in case I make it all sound wrong.?/p>

She was like ?no you are having them, and you鈥檒l learn it.

The Strictly gang have been out on tour too. Have you been missing them?

Joanne won the Strictly title with Ore Oduba who has been on the Strictly Live tour dancing with her sister-in-law Karen Clifton

Well, obviously after I鈥檇 won it there was a little bit of me that went aaah, you know.

But this is my dream, this is what I want to do, so I鈥檓 just over the moon to do this.

But we have a WhatsApp groups, with all the pros, so I鈥檓 updated all the time, I鈥檓 getting all the pictures of them and everything.

How about the Millie cast? Are you all getting on?

We鈥檙e a really tight group actually, a proper family, it鈥檚 a really nice company, everybody is already really good friends.

There are things organised. Like bus tours and sightseeing things, which I am enjoying in the daytime.

And then occasionally we鈥檒l go out. Our day off is Sunday, so Saturday nights we鈥檒l go out.

Is there anything you鈥檙e looking forward to when you get to Liverpool?

The Liverpool Empire
The Liverpool Empire

The accent (she says putting on a Scouse accent). I love the accent. (still in Scouse) Thoroughly Modern Millie!

What else is on the wishlist? What about the West End?

That鈥檚 my next goal, but I know I鈥檝e got a lot of hard work to do to get there.

But in terms of roles, I鈥檝e got two kind of dream roles. I鈥檇 be ANYTHING in Wicked actually. My favourite is Glinda, but I do like Elphaba鈥檚 songs. But I would be anything in it.

Then when I鈥檓 older I want to be in Gypsy, I want to play Rose. I鈥檝e seen Imelda Staunton do it and she鈥檚 my absolute idol.

Back to Millie ?what can people expect if they come to the show?

Damian Buhagiar as Ching Ho, Michelle Collins as Mrs Meers and Andy Yau as Bun Foo in Thoroughly Modern Millie

Oh they鈥檙e going to have a right laugh.

Honestly, the second half is SO funny. We鈥檝e got Graham MacDuff who plays my boss in it, and he鈥檚 hilarious. I won鈥檛 say what he does, but he鈥檚 hilarious.

It鈥檚 about a 19-year-old girl who moves away from Kansas, leaves her family behind to pursue her dreams.

And her dream is to really marry her boss. But on the way she falls in love with somebody else.

I won鈥檛 give too much away, but there鈥檚 a lot of silly moments, there鈥檚 a lot of singing, there鈥檚 a love story, a lot of tap, a lot of dancing, some pearls, some beads...all bloomin鈥?sorts!

Anything you can have from a 1920s musical, we鈥檝e got it.

Thoroughly Modern Millie is at the Liverpool Empire from February 20-25. Tickets from the website HERE