South Shields singing star Joe McElderry has set up residence in Blackpool to star in The Who’s musical Tommy.
The 23-year-old X Factor and Popstar to Opera Star champ is taking on the eponymous role in the rock opera penned by Who guitarist Pete Townshend.
The show opened at Opera House within the Winter Gardens on Saturday, September 12 and runs until Saturday, September 26.
Joe, from Westoe, said: “It’s fabulous. We’re two weeks into it now so it’s all settled in which means we can just go out and enjoy it.
“It’s a very full-on show so I kind of tend to come off after and I don’t want to speak.
“It’s really draining and I never thought it would be because I’m used to doing a 1hr 45mins to 2hr show a night, singing, not leaving the stage, quite intense, but this, with the story line and the part I’m playing, I come off and I can’t really speak for an hour afterwards, it kind of drains me and it takes a while to switch off from it.”
The show follows Tommy, who as a youngster, witnesses something terrible and is left unable to see, hear or speak, yet becomes known as the Pinball Wizard after displaying an incredible knack for the game.
Joe said: “The part I’m doing you definitely have to treat it like sections because at the start I’m the narrator and I’m almost Tommy’s alter-ego in his mind and his form of communicating in the show and then I turn into the 22-year-old Tommy as he grows up and then I break out into this kind of God-like figure who all these people are just fascinated by and hang on every word that he says and he’s a bit of a rock star, so I treat it in sections but by the end of it I’m just like, ‘get me to bed’.”
Joe is better known for singing pop and classical songs rather than the rock songs that the Tommy soundtrack is laden with.
He said: “It’s such an iconic show and it’s got such a cult following, but the style of music that it is is very different to what I sing, so I can imagine when it was first announced people were thinking ‘how does this work?’
It’s been great to be a part of and I get to be a little bit of a rock star for a couple of weeks.Joe McElderry
“But it’s a really fun sing. To sing all of those songs every night and see people’s reactions.
“Some of the songs are quite heavy and emotional but they’ve got that strong guitar riff behind it and the drum beat and it lifts the whole thing and you can see it takes the audience’s breath away, so it’s been great to be a part of and I get to be a little bit of a rock star for a couple of weeks.”
Joe has also just announced that he will take on the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on a UK tour next year.
He said: “I’ve spent the last two years touring with my stuff and doing all the pop stuff and going out on the road and these two opportunities came up, this one came along at the start of the year and Joseph recently, and I thought it would be nice to try something different.
“It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop the music, it doesn’t mean I’m going to just do musical theatre now, but I think it’s nice to do a little bit of both. “It shows me in a different light and it’s impossible for me to tour every year all year round so it’s a nice breather to do something else.”