Joe McElderry is ready to step into the role of the deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball.
The South Shields singing star has been hard at work for the past two weeks rehearsing for his starring role in The Who’s classic rock opera Tommy.
Joe, 24, will take on the eponymous role at the Opera House at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, from Saturday.
He’ll star alongside Blue’s Antony Costa as Cousin Kevin.
Joe, who has claimed victory on The X Factor, Popstar to Opera Star and The Jump, said: “Rehearsals are going great.
“We’ve been in London for the last couple of weeks but we’re heading to Blackpool now to get all our cues and everything down.
“It’s quite a full-on show and we’re in the last week of rehearsals now and I think everyone is just dying to get on the stage.
“We open on Saturday and I am nervous, but I’m just excited to get started.
“The show has got a real cult following and people who go along to see it really love it, and the music and the atmosphere really rubs off on you.”
Joe originally played Tommy at a one-off show at the Prince Edward Theatre in London’s West End in 2012.
Tommy began as an album for The Who in 1969. It was made into a film in 1975, with the band’s lead singer Roger Daltrey in the title role, and a Broadway musical in 1992.
Joe said: “Doing the show once before made it a little easier for me, although that was only a one-off and this is a two-week run, but I’ve also got the support of a great cast.
“The thing about this show is that people come to hear the music, but there’s also a really sad story to it, I mean, the poor kid goes through a lot.
“There’s a very heavy undertone to the show, it’s sad, emotive and shocking.
“The stage show is quite different from the film. There will be parts that people recognise, but there are parts that are completely different. I think people will really like it.
“The music is the main reason I’m so excited about it, because it’s so nice to be able to step out of my comfort zone.
“I’ve been touring recently and singing songs that I’m really comfortable with because I’ve either recorded them or sang them a lot of times before, but this is a real challenge for me and I’m really enjoying it.
“I’m also currently trying to perfect my Cockney accent, but it’s tough.
“My own accent is quite strong and trying to get a Geordie to sound like they’re from London is a difficult task, but it’s the thought that counts.”
• Tommy runs from Saturday, September 12, to September 26. Tickets cost from £20. To book, go to www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk