Posted by Sarah
Who would have thought that Gareth Gates would go from the stammering teen we saw on Pop Idol all those years ago to a fully fledged West End Star? This week’s news that Gareth is going to be the newest Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat has me absolutely shaking with glee.
As a teenybopper in the early 1990s, I actually went to see then-heartthrob Jason Donavon play Joseph in the musical’s first ever West End premiere and the memory is permanently etched on my brain. From the soaring notes of “Any Dream Will Do” to the depths of despair conjured up by “Close Every Door”, it was one of my first experiences with musical theatre and I’ll always be grateful to my mother for taking me – thanks mum!
Gareth’s definitely got large boots to fill, as Jason was just the first in a long line of top class entertainers to portray the biblical character. Past Josephs include This Morning’s Philip Schofield, Donny Osmond (who played the role from 1993 to 1997), Ian Watkins – better known as H from Steps – and Boyzone’s Stephen Gately. And let’s not forget the wonderful Lee Mead, winner of last year’s BBC talent competition Any Dream Will Do, from whom Gareth takes over.
But I for one think he’s up to the challenge. In addition to his effortless boyish charm and endearing demeanour, he seems to have a real passion for the role – as well as a history of playing Joseph outside the West End. Following the announcement, he said: “Joseph is something I have wanted to do since I was a kid – the first time I was on stage [at school] I was Joseph, so for me to be here now on the West End stage as Joseph is the most amazing feeling in the world.”
Gareth will be taking to the stage at the Adelphi Theatre in his Technicolor dreamcoat in February 2009. But if you can’t wait until then, or you’re just looking for theatre break this Christmas, go see him play Prince Charming in Cinderella at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre from December 5th. If you look closely, you might see me in the front row!