X Factor’s Lola Saunders is looking forward to her theatrical debut.
The 21-year-old, from East Boldon, has joined the cast for a UK tour of musical Save The Last Dance For Me.
Lola, who made it to the live finals of the ITV1 talent show in 2014, will star as Jennifer, who goes on holiday with her sister – and without their parents – for the first time.
The siblings meet a handsome American who invites them to a dance at the local US Air Force base, and they find themselves caught up in holiday romances.
Lola said: “It’s insane, it’s totally new to me and I just can’t believe it.
“I never thought in a million years that I’d end up getting a part in a show like this. I feel really honoured.”
Lola will star alongside Blue’s Antony Costa as Milton in the jukebox musical, which is made up of the biggest hits of the 1960s.
She’ll be the second South Tyneside star to share the stage with Antony, after Joe McElderry starred alongside him in The Who’s Tommy at Blackpool Opera House last year.
She won the role after auditioning in front of the show’s director Bill Kenwright.
Lola said: “We’re in rehearsals in London at the minute and I can’t wait to get started with the run.
“I already knew all of the songs from the show. I love the music and my parents love it too.
“That sort of style has had a big influence on me.
“Auditioning for Bill Kenwright was a bit scary, but he pretty much gave me the part on the spot.
“It’s going to be so much fun playing a character, but so different to what I’m used to.”
The show starts at the Theatre Royal Windsor on April 6, and embarks on a seven-month tour.
It will be calling at the Sunderland Empire from May 9 to 14.
Lola added: “I can’t wait to get to Sunderland with the show.
“We’ll have had a few shows before that so we’ll be in the full swing, and all my family and friends will be coming along.
“It’ll be 100% more nerve-racking because of that though. I’m a big theatre, fan so getting to be part of a show is going to be amazing.
“It’ll be so weird in Sunderland because that’s where I’ve been so many times to watch shows, so being up on the stage is going to be a strange experience.”
To book tickets to see the show at the Sunderland Empire, go to www.atgtickets.com/sunderland or call 0844 871 3022.