Gareth Gates is currently starring in Mad About The Musicals with Michael Courtney and is set to arrive at the Parr Hall in Warrington on 5th May. We caught up with him to ask him about the tour and his early experiences of musicals when he was just a young boy.
Please can you tell us what people can expect Mad About Musicals?
Mad about musicals is pretty much a greatest hits of musical theatre. We perform the best-loved songs from the best-loved shows all in one night. If you like an evening at the theatre, this showings perfect for you!
There are classics penned by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber so do you have a favourite song among them to perform?
I love performing Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. I have the privilege of playing Marius is Les Miserables for over a year both on tour and in the West End of London. Singing this song brings back all those happy memories of performing in such an iconic show.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I had a meeting with Michael Courtney, the producer and performer of the show, and he asked me to be a part of their 10-year anniversary tour. I loved the idea.
Tell us about the first ever musical you appeared in - at school/drama club? What did you play and how did it go?
I played the role of 'Joseph' in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the age of eight in my first school production and it was here my love of theatre began. I then went on to play the role in the West End for Andrew Lloyd Webber some 17 years later.
Of all the musicals that the evening features, which one has a special place in your heart and why?
Les Miserables. I loved my time in this show, would love to play Val Jean when I'm older and have a beard! The music and dialogue is both moving and epic. It has a very special place in my heart.
Why do you think musicals continue to pull audiences, even ones that have been around for a long time?
Theatre is live. It's tangible - you can feel it, touch it, hear it... The audience feel like they're a part of the journey. It's this live aspect I think that brings being back to theatre. - it's much more intimate than watching a performance on TV.
You joined director and producer Michael Courtney for the 10th anniversary of the show, so how have you found working with him?
He's amazing. Great voice and a great boss. We have a lot of fun both on and off the stage.
What was your first 'professional' musical theatre job? Was it post Pop Idol?
My first professional theatre job was the lead in Joseph, in the West End, post Pop Idol and just after I did Dancing on Ice. It was actually the first role I played in school too - so from the school stage to the West end was an ambition fulfilled!
Since Pop Idol you have had such a varied career in song, theatre, documentary, reality TV, so do you have a standout moment from all of these experiences and what has been the most challenging one for you?
I've loved my journey and every part of that journey has made me who I am today. Getting to number 1 for the first time was a highlight.
Filming a documentary on stammering was also a challenge and highlight.