In a new and exclusive interview, we talk to Ronan Keating all about his brand new role on the West End as Guy in the much-loved musical Once. He tells us all about first rehearsals in Australia, the challenge of taking to the stage in such a unique role and more.

Ronan Keating / Credit: Hugo Glendinning
Ronan Keating / Credit: Hugo Glendinning

What was it about the lead role in Once that drew you to the production?

I think it's a simple, touching love story that anyone can relate to that's interspersed with great songs and music. I'm obviously biased too that it's set in my hometown of Dublin.

For those who haven't seen the musical before, can you give us a little background?

It's the story of a struggling busker/songwriter on the streets of Dublin who's fallen out of love with music. He then meets a kindred spirit whose warmth and passion reignites the flame inside him. I don't want to say too much more as I'm sure people want to see the story unfold for themselves.

This is your first time on the West End stage - are you nervous?

Of course! I'm really nervous but equally excited by the challenge of taking on the role. The opening night still seems a way off but the closer it gets the more real the whole thing is becoming.

What are you expecting from this experience?

I'm looking forward to the challenge of doing eight shows a week but also excited about working in the same venue for a run of shows. I'm obviously used to being on a stage in front of an audience but part of me is expecting it to be very different than anything I've ever done before.

Ronan Keating / Credit: Hugo Glendinning
Ronan Keating / Credit: Hugo Glendinning

Does it rank as one of the more challenging things you've done in your career?

For sure! I've never called myself a guitar player but there's lots of playing in the show, so it's been really tough to get that to the level I need it to be.

You join the show in November - have you started rehearsals yet?

Yes, whilst I've been in Sydney for X Factor the Once creative team have been in Melbourne working on the new production there. So on my days off I've been commuting up there and back for rehearsals.

What's the chemistry like with your fellow castmates?

It's been great though it will be a different cast I'll be working with in London. I can't wait to get into full cast rehearsals when I'm back from Australia.

Aside from the show what should we expect going forward?

It's crazy busy just now as we have a new Boyzone album ('Dublin To Detroit') coming out at the end of November. Looking forward to next year - I'll be working on a new solo album and who knows what else might come off the back of 'Once'.

Ronan is in Once from 17 November until 21 March 2015 at the Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP (0844 871 7629). For more information visit

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