Ipswich: Gareth Gates wants to boogie with you at the Regent

The all-star cast of Boogie Nights The 70s Musical Concert

The all-star cast of Boogie Nights The 70s Musical Concert - Credit: Archant

Sometimes, being on a reality show pays off. Just ask Gareth Gates, who has sold millions of records and appeared in West End classics like Les Miserables, Joseph and Legally Blonde since coming second to Will Young in the first series of Pop Idol.

Will Young and Gareth Gates on Pop Idol

Will Young and Gareth Gates on Pop Idol - Credit: PA

“I think it was about 11 years ago (since Idol) and time’s just flown. I’ve been involved in lots (since) and so has Will; we’re still good friends and hook up every so often. The three of us (Boogie Nights co-stars Chico and Andy Abraham) all came from that sort of show. They are always a good platform for people who want to perform and make it in the industry. I think we all feel very thankful for shows like that.

“I’m very fortunate, I’ve sold millions of records. That then opened the door into theatre. I mean I work very hard and I think that’s very important. Those who become complacent and lazy often fall by the wayside,” says Gates, who plays the role of heart-

throb Dean in Boogie Nights.

Jon Conway and Shane Richie came up with idea for the 1970s musical in 1997. It became the first jukebox pop musical, way before We Will Rock you, Mamma Mia and Our House.

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The story of Roddy O’Neil became a massive hit, running for five UK tours after its London success before travelling to South Africa, New Zealand and America where it is now a fixture on several cruise ships.

This show is a remixed concert version featuring 15 musicians, singers and dancers recreating sequences from the original show alongside floor fillers of the decade.

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Other stars include special guests Jimmy, Merrill and Jay Osmond; with leading lady Debs being played by EastEnders, The Bill and Strictly Come Dancing star Louisa Lytton in her first musical.

Gates is enjoying being back on stage, singing a lot of his personal favourites.

“The show’s lots of fun; everyone’s on their feet, dancing and stuff. There are lots of great names, great singers, in the show. Working with the likes of The Osmonds is just a real treat for all of us.

“We all pile on the tour bus, obviously they’re somewhat older than us but somehow even more rock and roll than us youngsters,” he laughs.

Gates’ battle with his stammer was an inspiration to many Pop Idol viewers. He still struggles today.

“When I’m busy or (have) lots on in life I have to keep on top of it. I need to do breathing exercises and force myself to even do interviews like this; I struggle at times.

“As a stammerer at school it was always very hard, quite a lonely place, because I didn’t know of anybody else who had a stammer. I speak to lots of stammerers now who say ‘thank you’ for what I did. I think having been in the public eye, being successful, yet suffering with this affliction is encouraging. If I’d have had that when I was younger, at least you can relate to somebody, it becomes acceptable you know?”

He’s now part of a speech therapy system called the McGuire Programme which teaches stammerers a new way of speaking.

“It’s a new way to tackle the mindset of stammerers, which is often just fear of speaking to people. It forces you to do things you’ve been naturally trained as a stammerer to avoid. Go out there and speak to 100 strangers on the street, do public speaking.”

As busy as ever, Gareth misses being a recording artist after spending the last four or so years in the theatre. Post-Boogie Nights, he’ll be focusing on his next album and small acoustic tour.

“(I want) to try out some new songs I’ve been writing with my band and see how that pans out.”

Boogie Nights The 70s Musical In Concert comes to the Ipswich Regent on Monday, March 11. See today’s paper for more on the show, including chats with Gates’ co-stars Andy Abraham and Shane Richie Junior.

For more entertainment and events news, follow me on Twitter @WhatsonWayne

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