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    HOME ENTERTAINMENT THEATRE From Torchwood to torch singer... Theatre [] FROM TORCHWOOD TO TORCH SINGER... John Barrowman is taking over the lead role of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2009
      HOME > ENTERTAINMENT > THEATRE > From Torchwood to torch singer...


      John Barrowman is taking over the lead role of
      Albin and his drag alter-ego in La Cage Aux Folles

      Sunday September 13,2009
      By Mark Shenton

      A LOT of people say I should take six months off
      but I'm in this business to work," says John
      Barrowman, sitting in the stalls bar of the West
      End's Playhouse Theatre. Here, tomorrow night,
      he'll take over the lead role of Albin in the hit
      musical La Cage Aux Folles and don a wig and
      frock for his drag alter-ego Zaza. "No actor
      wants to be resting. If someone is in the
      corporate world, you wouldn't say to them, 'Why don't you take a year off?'."

      He seems to work nonstop. This is his first West
      End appearance since he starred in the play A Few
      Good Men four years ago at the Theatre Royal,
      Haymarket but he seldom seems to be off our TV
      screens. He's starred as Captain Jack Harkness in
      Doctor Who since 2005; three series of the
      character's own spin-off series Torchwood since
      2006; been one of the judges on the Andrew Lloyd
      Webber-led star searches for West End musicals
      The Sound Of Music, Joseph and Oliver!; skated on
      Dancing On Ice and hosted his own Saturday night
      show, Tonight's The Night, on BBC1 earlier this
      year. "Its motto is wish fulfilment through
      performance," he says of a show that provided
      ordinary people with the opportunity to realise
      their performing dreams. Barrowman's own life
      story is proof positive of living his dreams as a performer.

      Glasgow-born but raised in America from the age
      of eight, he returned to Britain in his early 20s
      and made his professional West End debut as a
      complete unknown, taking over the lead role in
      Anything Goes opposite Elaine Paige in 1990. He
      quickly proceeded to ascend through the ranks of
      leading men, starring in the musicals Miss
      Saigon, The Phantom Of The Opera, Beauty And The
      Beast and Sunset Boulevard (reprising the latter
      on Broadway) and earning a nomination for an
      Olivier Award for a 1998 musical The Fix at the Donmar Warehouse.

      "I would have been perfectly content to still be
      doing what I was doing, which was playing leading
      roles in musicals, and would have been happy to
      watch my career change as I became the father and
      older man and then the granddad in musicals as I
      got into my 60s and hopefully beyond! But then,
      Doctor Who came along, and because I'm not one to
      let opportunities pass me by, I jumped at it, and
      it took me down a completely different path."

      BARROWMAN has had a foothold in the theatre world
      in the four years since by doing an annual (and
      highly lucrative) stint in pantomime, which this
      December will see him appearing in Robin Hood in
      Cardiff. "People sneer at it but I ask them why
      are they behaving like this? It's a great
      introduction to theatre for children. I don't buy
      into the whole snobbery of the entertainment
      world, where something is beneath you. That's not
      the work ethic I was raised with."

      Yet he says it's simply been difficult, until
      now, to fit in a longer-term return to the
      theatre. "I haven't had the time to commit to any
      West End productions. That's not to say I wasn't
      still being offered them. Last year I was offered
      six shows on Broadway, and there was talk of
      doing a production of Barnum here, all of which I seriously considered.

      "I'm talking as a businessman also because John
      Barrowman is a business, and I want to have a
      career that is diverse and has longevity. At that
      point the BBC was giving me my dream of my own
      Saturday night entertainment show and I couldn't
      take off a Saturday night from the theatre to do
      it. I've grown up in the theatre and you just
      can't, unless you're really sick. Audiences are
      paying to see you, and you've got to be there."

      His increased profile also helps to bring in those audiences.

      "I remember when I started out in this business,
      there were big theatre names that people knew they wanted to see."

      Now fame, in a reality TV age, is more fleeting,
      and part of his desire is to put theatre names
      back into popular currency, which is partly what
      the reality TV castings for musicals have achieved.

      "I want to be part of the resurgence where it's
      not the shows that are famous but the people in
      them who are. It's the people who actually make
      those shows work, who sing those numbers every
      night and deliver the dialogue eight times a
      week, and they need that recognition."

      Barrowman, 42, has also openly spoken out for the
      recognition of gay relationships, making no
      secret of his 16-and-a-half years with his
      partner, architect Scott Gill. "He has a desk
      job, then goes on site and wears construction
      hats and workmen's belts and brings them home!"

      It gives him a special understanding of his role
      in La Cage Aux Folles, where he plays a man who
      has been in a long-term relationship with another man.

      "Albin and Georges have been together for 20
      years, so I can relate to an awful lot of it.
      It's a show about hitting a bump and moving on
      from it, and it happens to us all."

      Despite the openness with which he has lived his
      own life, he was turned down for a role in camp
      American sitcom Will And Grace for being "too
      straight. It's a total irony isn't it but how
      fabulous," he says. What's the secret of his and
      Scott's own longevity? "If I had a formula for
      it, I'd bottle it and sell it and I'd be really,
      really rich, Andrew Lloyd Webber rich! What you
      have to remember is that we're two men with very
      individual personalities. You have to let those
      personalities live. You can't ask the other
      person to put it away. And if there's a bump in
      the road you're travelling down, is it worth
      giving up everything you've worked and believed in for so long?

      "We all make mistakes. If you get a little drunk
      one night and give someone a snog, it's not the
      end of the world. It's silly but it's not going
      to destroy who I go home to at night, or the actual person I am in love with."

      Home for Scott and John, plus two spaniels and a
      Jack Russell called, not surprisingly, Captain
      Jack ("He's a thug!") is a London house and
      another just outside Cardiff, where Doctor Who and Torchwood are both filmed.

      "We have a house on the beach there. Scott always
      said it was his dream to have a house where you
      look out the back window and it's like Peter
      Grimes. I said that's fine, as long as he didn't
      expect me to be a fishwife drowning herself in the middle of the water!"

      The supremely self-confident Barrowman doesn't
      seem to be out of his depth wherever he is. He is
      currently in discussions for a fourth series of
      Torchwood and doesn't rule out a return to Doctor Who.

      "All I can say is that if and when the Doctor
      needs the assistance of Captain Jack, he will be there."

      And Barrowman himself will be anywhere else he is
      asked to be, too: "Celebrity has come with what I
      do and I welcome it and embrace it but I'm here
      to work. If I'm asked to do a gig, I'll do it!"

      John Barrowman is appearing in La Cage Aux Folles
      at the Playhouse Theatre from tomorrow until
      November 28. For tickets, call 0870 060 6631 or visit www.lacagelondon.com

      Andrew Lloyd Webber Confirms Search For WIZARD OF OZ Cast

      Friday, September 11, 2009; Posted: 07:09 AM - by BWW News Desk

      The BBC have confirmed that the next talent
      search programme led by Andrew Lloyd-Webber will
      be based around The Wizard Of Oz, seeking a girl
      to play Dorothy and a dog to play Toto.

      The new show, also called The Wizard Of Oz, will
      be presented by Graham Norton, who also presented
      How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, which
      cast Connie Fisher as Maria, Any Dream Will Do?,
      which cast Lee Mead as Joseph, and I'd Do
      Anything, which cast Jodie Prenger as Nancy in Oliver!

      John Barrowman told BWW:UK earlier this week that
      he too would be involved in the judging panel.

      The show will begin auditions in early 2010 and will air later in the year.



      John and the Marias

      John and fellow judges for 'Any Dream Will Do'


      John and fellow judges Solve the Maria problem for Canada


      John and fellow judges searching for Nancy in "I'd Do Anything"

      13th-Sep-2009 08:12 am
      jb listening for the train


      BWW INTERVIEWS: Actor, Singer, TV Presenter John Barrowman

      Wednesday, September 9, 2009; Posted: 08:09 AM - by Carrie Dunn

      Hello, John, and welcome to BWW:UK. You're a very
      busy man and we've got lots to talk about, so let's make a list first!

      Yes, OK! In particular and most importantly is La
      Cage, and then while I'm in La Cage, I'm also
      releasing my second book, which is not an
      autobiography, it's more memoirs over the last
      three years, and also a reflection on letters and
      things that have been sent to me by people and
      the questions they've asked regarding the first
      book, regarding my opinions on stuff, so it's my
      insight into things. And then in November the DVD
      of my concert tour comes out, so that's something
      to look forward to. I'll start recording my new
      album for release on Mothers' Day next year, and
      that begins recording while I'm still doing the show.

      I talked to Daniel Boys a few weeks ago and he
      said what an amazing time he'd had on your tour,
      where he supported you. I take it you enjoyed it as well!

      I loved doing the tour because it's a time for me
      to be able to go out on the road and connect with
      the people who are supporting me in all aspects,
      because my audience ranges from young kids to
      teenagers all the way through to nans, poppas and
      grandmas. So it's a way for me to connect. And I
      have fun because I let them into my life and my
      world even more, more so than anything you see on
      television. It's completely different than when
      I'm on a talk show. I have family pictures that
      come up, and I really give them a special night. I think. I hope!

      You write your books with your sister, is that right?

      What I actually do is I dictate the stories and
      tell all the facts. I basically do it all into an
      iPod, and then I send her the files. She then
      takes that voice and puts it into word form. For
      some reason she's able to do it, she captures my
      voice incredibly. She picks it up and gets my
      rhythm and everything right. Each book we've
      done, she's lived with me and Scott for three and
      a half months. She goes to all my meetings, all
      my rehearsals, all my shows - everything I do
      during that time, she lives that with me, so she
      understands how my life is. She's not a ghost
      writer. It's with my sister rather than being a
      ghost writer - she doesn't do it without me giving her any information.

      That must be nice for you, because I imagine you
      can't get to see your family as much as you'd like.

      Even though I'm so busy, I'm not unrealistic. I
      make time for my family. As I've said before,
      family is extremely important to me. In this
      current book, what I do is take the phrase
      "family values" back from all those conservative
      jerks, people who are looking at my life and
      other people I know as being wrong. I do have
      family values, they're just not exactly the same
      as everybody else's. That's what makes a family
      unique. I see my parents every three months, and
      they're coming back over for La Cage. They're
      coming over in November, I think it is. My best
      friend and her husband are coming over, my
      friends from the States, so I do get to see my
      close friends and myfamily quite often.

      Your parents had a starring role in the documentary you did - they seem lovely!

      My parents are great! In fact, we were just
      talking with a TV company about doing a TV show
      involving the entire Barrowman family.

      Like the Osbournes?

      Yeah! [realises what he's said, laughs] Well,
      hopefully not! Yeah. We said no. I like them having their anonymity.

      Are you entirely relocated to London for the run in La Cage?

      No, no, we have a house in London. We've never
      given up our house here, but we also have a house
      in Wales. It depends. Now, I'm here for most of
      the week so we go back for the weekend in Wales.
      When I'm filming Doctor Who or Torchwood, I'm in
      Wales so we come back here for the weekend.

      And is your QVC addiction still going on?

      Yes, it is! I don't know if it's so much a QVC
      addiction so much as I just love certain products
      on QVC. I'll rattle them off to you. I love
      Northern Nights bedding. LOVE that. I absolutely
      love Cooks' Essentials for the kitchen. I think
      that's absolutely brilliant. And also Joan Rivers
      jewellery, because I buy it for my mother. She
      thinks it's incredible. Also Butler and Wilson -
      listen, if you want really good jewellery and
      watches, do the Butler and Wilson on QVC. I've
      called in to QVC and been on the air, when
      they've been doing shows on products that I like.
      It's hysterical you say that. Actually, I'll show
      you this RIGHT NOW and you will LAUGH. [He gets
      up and begins trawling through his rehearsal bag
      and eventually produces a wallet, which he opens,
      and then brandishes a small plastic card.] Tell them what it is.

      A purple QVC membership card, Mr J Barrowman!

      Yep! Thank you very much! [laughs]

      What else do you watch on TV apart from QVC?

      I don't get to watch television as much I'd like.
      I watch it on iTunes or iPlayer after they've
      gone out. I love Desperate Housewives, I love
      Weeds, I love Dexter, I love movies - the one I
      watched most recently on the plane for the third time is Enchanted.

      I LOVE that film.

      It's brilliant, isn't it? I actually love that
      song, So Close, when they start dancing. That
      whole sequence is a lift from Beauty and the
      Beast, the animated sequence, and it's just brilliant and beautiful.

      Let's chat about La Cage. When did you first start talking about it?

      They spoke to me when the Cagelles were on
      Tonight's The Night [his Saturday night BBC
      television programme], which was March, April
      time last year. We were trying to find a slot
      where I could fit it in. We knew we had to do
      three months, it would be silly to do any less,
      and also not viable for the production company. I
      would like to do it longer, but I just can't. I'm
      loving the rehearsal process. I'm excited to see
      what it's going to be in another week. We've not
      got long left to rehearse. [mock gasp]

      Have you seen it before?

      I saw it with Graham [Graham Norton], and I saw
      it just the other evening, just to go in and
      watch it for blocking reasons, just to see the
      transitions between the different songs and
      different scenes. I don't go and watch shows in
      order to see how to do things, because I'm not
      that person. It will be completely different -
      Simon and I are younger men in comparison to what
      people are used to seeing in these roles, but
      that's not to say it can't be played by younger
      men. I'm in my early forties, so we will look at
      things a little bit differently than others have.

      I was going to say the age thing has been brought up quite a lot...

      Well, of course it has, but the age thing, it's like - can I be honest?

      Of course!

      I think people are looking for something to pick
      about, and I think it's a load of sh*t. Because I
      know Jerry Herman, and I know Jerry said when he
      wrote the songs and when they were working on it
      he had in mind someone in their mid-forties.
      Maybe not early forties, but mid-forties. It can
      be someone on the cusp of a change in their life.
      He also said the reason that older men played it
      when they first did it was because a lot of
      younger guys didn't want people to think they were gay.

      Do you think some of the talk about the casting
      has been because it's YOU who's been cast in the role, like a big name?

      I'm going to sound a little bit pompous here. I
      was a theatre name before I was a TV name. I have
      a huge track record in the West End. Why
      shouldn't I play a role like this? I am a West
      End leading man. That's how I started my career.
      I've never given it up. It's just that a show
      came along that took me on a different path.

      The funny thing is that different demographics
      know you for different things. People my age have
      always remembered you from The Movie Game and Live And Kicking!

      Yes, and you guys wouldn't have known that I did
      anything else. That was before this crossover
      thing happened, and that was something I wanted to change.

      Yes - do you think there is perhaps a demographic
      that doesn't actually know about your theatre
      background and sees you as a television person?

      Yes and no. One thing I have done in my
      television shows is that I've made sure people
      know I'm an entertainer. I've made sure they know
      that I can sing. I've made sure they know that my
      roots are in the West End. That's why I got
      involved in the judging shows. I think now most
      people know. If you'd have asked me five years
      ago when I started Doctor Who, for the TV
      audience who only knew me as Captain Jack on
      Doctor Who, that would have been the case. Now, I don't think so.

      I'm just playing devil's advocate!

      I know you are! And that's great, because that
      gives me a chance to speak out and answer truthfully the way I'd like to.

      How are you getting on with the dresses? Are they lovely?

      All my dresses are brand new. All my dresses are
      different. They're styled differently for a
      younger and a slimmer man. That's not to say that
      I don't have my muffin top, my love handles. I'll
      be 43 in March, and I am aware of it! Things have
      changed with me, so I can relate to strapping in
      my gut and my arse in a corset. The dresses look
      great, though. One thing I do have from my years
      of dancing is a good set of pins. [He stretches
      out his legs and points his toes.] And the
      high-heeled shoes - they look good. I'm just
      being totally honest with you - they look pretty damn good. [laughs]

      You've sung I Am What I Am before.

      I sing it in my own show, my concerts. It's
      become my signature song with my audience who
      know me from recordings and telly stuff. I've
      never sung it in the context of this show, which
      is completely different to how I sing it in my
      concert. In my concert I sing it as a celebration
      of being who I am, whereas in this show it's a
      little more angry, it's a little more defiant.
      Funnily enough, we've only done it once, because
      I already know it. That's the one I probably need
      the least amount of work on vocally and
      word-wise. What we need to do it meet it up, add
      it to the scene, and see where that takes me
      emotionally. I'm really looking forward to it
      because it'll be nice to sing the song in a
      different manner, in a different context.

      And how is your "son"?

      Gabriel [Gabriel Vick] is calling me "mother"
      already, which is really bizarre - I could
      conceivably have a son that old. I could. We have
      an answer for all of it! We've got it all worked
      out. Let anybody come and say, "Meh meh meh meh."
      Let them say whatever they want. The bottom line
      is I'm not doing it for those people.

      You've been involved in the BBC talent search
      shows since the very first one, How Do You Solve
      A Problem Like Maria?. How did you get involved in that?

      I was asked. I was auditioned. I talk about it in
      my book, I do a whole chapter on the judging
      shows, and answer a lot of questions, even to the
      point of discussing some things that happened off
      camera. I won't go into depth about that because
      I want people to read the book! I'm also honest
      and blunt about my opinions on people. I've loved
      doing those shows. I feel honoured that I was
      asked by the BBC to represent the West End as a
      leading man. I feel a lot of pride in that role
      because I have been asked to help choose a new
      leading lady or a new leading man to possibly have a career in the West End.

      So when I'm looking at them, although certain
      people are looking for the financial gain and the
      aspect of looking at them just for that
      particular show, I'm looking at them for their
      career. I want to look beyond this one particular
      show. I'm there as a leading man; I want to make
      sure the leading lady has the gravitas and talent
      to carry them through this show and the next. In
      the theatre world we very rarely have one-hit
      wonders. Do you know what I mean? People like to
      build their careers. That's what I'm looking at
      when I see them. It's up to the person who wins then to continue that.

      One of my favourite bits of I'd Do Anything was
      you and Denise Van Outen hugging each other when
      the results was announced - it was just such
      utter glee. It was real, genuine, investment in it.

      It was, and again I talk about that final and
      where that glee came from. We had watched that
      particular person be slashed and demeaned by the
      rest of the judging panel in the final, and
      Denise and I chose not to do it. I chose not to
      do it for a reason. I'd done two other shows
      prior. I know how the audience is. I think I
      understood the audience well. I said to Denise,
      "Look, we give our comments. We are honest. We
      say who we like, we say who we don't like, and
      when we're asked at the end of the show, we do
      the same thing, we say it, and that's it, because
      the others are going to try to chomp in their
      bits and opinions. You know what I think will
      happen? The audience will think that's not very
      nice, and they'll do the right thing." And they did.

      The British viewing public often does that with
      harsh judges on reality TV shows.

      Yeah, but also, you know what? They liked Jessie
      [Jessie Buckley], but they liked Jodie [Jodie
      Prenger] more. They also saw that Jodie was a
      talent that was ready for that role. Honestly,
      and I'm being truthful, Jessie wasn't. Jessie
      didn't have the emotional depth that Jodie had
      shown the growth with. That's what you want to
      see in a performance. You want to see them start
      somewhere and grow to the end, to the 11 o'clock number.

      Actually, Liza Minnelli said something similar in
      the programme, when she did her masterclass,
      saying that Jodie obviously had much more life
      experience than Sam and Jessie. Andrew Lloyd Webber's face there was a picture.

      Yes! He was mortified! Because they all wanted
      Jessie! I can't even comment because I don't
      think she could have done it. I really don't. She
      could have sung it, but she couldn't have done
      it. But then she came in to do the role in A
      Little Night Music and was wonderful. It was
      right for her, and right for her age. She's a
      young ingénue, and that's what she should play.

      Are there any more judging shows coming up? There
      was talk about The Wizard Of Oz.

      Yeah, but I don't have an answer as to if it is
      or isn't going to happen. If it does, I'll be
      involved. I've already had a conversation with
      the BBC. I'd love for there to be another one.

      The one thing in musical theatre that we're all
      waiting for is Love Never Dies. What can you tell me about that?

      I recorded some of it before they decided to go
      in a different direction, and so did everybody
      else. It's lovely, it's a beautiful score, but I
      don't know what's happening - I wish I could tell you more.

      So a three-month run here, your book, your DVD -

      And pantomime!

      Of course! Is it Robin Hood this year?

      Yes, it's Robin Hood, in Cardiff, because I
      wanted to be near my own bed. I've been in
      Birmingham for the last two years. The first year
      was a massive success for them. The second year
      it was the biggest-selling pantomime in the history of the UK.

      I spoke to Paul Elliott last week, and we talked about your panto then.

      I love Paul! I don't know what he said about me,
      but I admire him as someone who's able to take
      something like a pantomime and make it open and
      genuine for children and adults alike. He's
      involved in other productions that are also doing
      well. Also, he's great to work with; he lets you
      have your ideas and if they work, he lets you use
      them; if they don't, he tells you. He's like me,
      he's really blunt, which is something I really appreciate about him.

      He was saying it's nice to have a team that works so well together.

      I'm proud to be in the position where he calls me
      up for casting approval and who I want in shows.
      When we did the first pantomime, the cast was so
      wonderful I said I want the same people back, as
      many as you can get. Anybody who's worked with me
      in a West End show knows that I treat them like a
      family for the period that I'm there. They are,
      you're spending upwards of five hours a day with
      them, from the moment you come into the theatre
      to the moment you leave. If you have a good time
      once, you're going to have a good time the second
      time, and there's loyalty there. People
      appreciate that loyalty to them. First year we
      had one cast, second year we had the same cast,
      third year we've got the same cast again.

      After that, into 2010 - a musical episode of Torchwood, maybe?

      Ha! I'd like to say yes, but it's not going to
      happen! There's going to be hopefully a series
      four of Torchwood. Frankly and bluntly I would
      say they'd be stupid not to. It's so massive
      everywhere. It's a great representative of
      British television around the world, and how
      further on we are in television than other
      countries. I've got another concert tour planned
      - the Albert Hall have already tentatively booked
      me for next year again; I had such a great time
      there, I'm pleased that they called me and asked
      me back. 2010 is actually almost booked up. We're
      now looking into 2011 and 2012. I've also got
      series three and four of Animals At Work which is
      a children's TV programme I do for CBeebies and
      Canadian Broadcasting, and I go over to Canada to
      do a show for CBC. Yeah, it's just all go!

      John Barrowman appears in La Cage Aux Folles at
      The Playhouse Theatre from September 14.


      Precious and rare all Love is, gender matters not.
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