When Dancing with the Stars professional Maks Chmerkovskiy hit stages across America in 2016 with his brother, Val, on the Our Way tour, he was single and concentrating on his career.
Things have changed for the Chmerkovskiys. Val took home the Dancing with the Stars mirror ball trophy with partner/Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez. He is also preparing to release his first memoir, I’ll Never Change My Name.
Maks had the most profound change. He married his longtime girlfriend, two-time mirror ball champion Peta Murgatroyd, who gave birth to their son, Shai, in January 2017.
The brothers are hitting the road—this time with Murgatroyd with them—for a new tour called Confidential to share their stories of love, passion and dedication.
“We have Peta with us,” Maks says during a phone call with Murgatroyd. “So there’s comic relief now.
“Am I funny? I think I’m funny,” she responds with a laugh.
Maks quickly changes the tone: “Val and I went on the road two years ago. We did not have plans to continue. We wanted to put together this project, a life project for us. We got to have a big stage, speak our story and tell people who we are.
“It took off. It was bigger than we ever expected. The second part we’re embarking on now, it’s not something that was planned. Just in the last two years, a lot of life has happened to me and Peta. I’m a completely different person now. The last time you saw me on stage, I was a single man and that’s it. Now I’m a dad and a husband.”
The three entertainers will come to the Comerica Theatre on Friday, May 4, with a cast of fellow dancers for Maks, Val and Peta Live on Tour: Confidential. Maks describes the show as a dance show driven by a narrative of true family life and love stories.
“Our Way was just the beginning of the story,” Maks says. “This time I’m a husband, a father, in the best shape of my professional career and still learning on and off the dance floor every day. I’ve had two of the most eventful years of my life and I can’t wait to use my favorite medium to express what’s on my mind and in my heart. Sharing a stage with my wife and my brother, what could be better than that.”
Although their stories are challenging, sad and passionate, Maks says it isn’t burdensome to express those feelings in front of crowds, with stripped-down staging and simple production.
“We can really be honest and raw with our audiences and give them insight into things they didn’t know about us,” Maks says. “They’re going to appreciate it, and find it interesting and they’re going to love it. We decided not to spend money on pretty lights, but to spend on actual storytelling through the movement.
“I’m a big fan of dance productions, period. Having said that, I also realize there’s a lot of competition for that time spent. I appreciate people coming out to see our show.”
The couple described their show with Val as a traditional form of entertainment. It’s not racy; instead it appeals to all ages.
“It’s very hard in today’s age,” he says. “If you don’t post a pic of yourself naked, you’re not sharing, apparently. We don’t do that. You walk away understanding that the right type of sharing is harder to produce because it has to be real. That’s the kind of production we offer. This production is already shaping up to be something very special.”
After all, it’s the story of their lives.
“We’ve rehearsed our entire lives for this,” Maks says. “It’s literally being written as we go on. This show came up because life happened—and a lot of it, too. It’s important to me to spend time with my family, but I want to be productive with my career. Here, I get to do both.”
Maks explains he’s successful on stage and off, with Murgatroyd and Shai, who will join his parents on tour.
“I was never part of the grown-up table,” Maks says. “I was always on the kids’ table. For me, I get to play with my 1-year-old son with no problem. I can spend 10 hours with him. Then I can get up and run a corporation, walk into any boardroom and offer my 2 cents on a subject.”
Murgatroyd laughs, but elaborates on the point.
“We’ve expanded the family now,” she says. “I’m a Chmerkovskiy now. I thought I had a hard time with ‘Murgatroyd’! No, I’m excited to share my story, how I became a dancer, my journey in my dance life. We open with my story and it’s really going to be nice.
“This has been an amazing new chapter of life for both of us.”
Maks, who’s well known for his snarky sense of humor, has an answer for that.
“Let me leave the room so you can speak freely.”
Maks, Val and Peta Live on Tour: Confidential, Comerica Theatre, 400 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, 602.379.2800, comericatheatre.com, 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, $43.50-$198.