South Shields star Joe McElderry says he’s loving life on the road in musical Joseph as he heads closer to home.
The 24-year-old is starring in the leading role in a UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The X Factor and Popstar to Opera Star champ is at the Forum Theatre, in Billingham this week with the biblical tale of Jacob and his dozen sons.
He said: “We’ve had incredible audiences all over and everybody seems to be really enjoying it. There seems to be a really big buzz about the show, which is wonderful. It’s always nice to know that people are enjoying what you’re doing.
“I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I thought I would have found it quite difficult. I went in mentally prepared, thinking ‘this is going to be really hard’, and because I went in with that kind of head space I’m feeling really good about it.
“I’m really enjoying it and having great fun. The schedule is tiring, but we only sing and dance for two hours, it’s not that hard.”
The show calls at the Sunderland Empire from May 31 to June 4.
Joe added: “I always say it’s lovely to do a show and be able to drive five minutes down the road, I never get to do that, so that’ll be lovely.
“It’s the first time I’ve actually performed properly in Sunderland. I’ve never done a gig in Sunderland. I did one performance there, a surprise at Dirty Dancing for a Teenage Cancer Trust gig, but other than that I’ve never performed there.
“It’s a beautiful venue and I’m sure they’ll be as loud as ever which will be brilliant, and I can’t wait.”
Joseph is Joe’s latest theatre role, but he’s also starred in pantomime for the last three years and took on the eponymous role in The Who’s rock opera Tommy in Blackpool last year.
He said: “This show is like a polar opposite to Tommy. This is a really fun show, although there are a few serious moments in it, but there’s a lot of comedy in this show as well.
“It’s a really nice story and the atmosphere’s great. At the end we do this big singalong and all the audience are up on their feet clapping along, so it turns into a bit of a pop concert at the end, which for me is nice because it feels like I’m not missing too much of my stuff.”
Joe is following in the footsteps of stars like Jason Donovan and Donny Osmond who have previously taken on the role of Joseph.
He said: “I definitely felt the pressure at the beginning, I had a few sleepless nights, when I thought ‘oh my God I can’t do it’. You don’t want to take on a role that’s as iconic as this and ruin it.
“With my shows it’s me, and although you want it to be the best it can, when it’s your creation you feel less pressure because I know what I’m doing in my area of work.
“When I’m stepping into this I’m like, ‘oh my God what if I can’t do it?’ I had a lot of doubts and questions but it’s been wonderful and I think having all that means you care about something and you want to do a job. So although I was really scared I used it to my advantage and told myself I had to just get on with it.”
To book tickets for Billingham, go to wwww.forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk or call 01642 552663.
To book tickets for the Empire, go to www.atgtickets.com/sunderland or call 0844 871 3022.