While a lot of people seemed shocked to hear the news last week that Chris Moyles was stepping down from his breakfast show on BBC Radio 1 to join the arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, I had anticipated that this would be the case from the moment he was announced in the cast.
Performing in a show, especially a touring show, is no mean feat. It's a huge commitment - not only in time and energy once it's underway, but also the preparation. I know I'll be getting 'show fit' for my own arena tour in The War Of The Worlds: The New Generation by singing a little every day in the lead up to our November opening so that I am fully ready for the hectic schedule I'll be faced with.
Chris, as far as I am aware, hasn't done anything like this before, though he had mentioned that he was intrigued and fancied getting up on stage in this capacity at some point. I'm glad he is taking it seriously by stepping back from his other commitments and concentrating on it fully. Knowing from experience how much stamina you need for these things, it would have been incredibly tough for him to do the radio show in the morning and then get up on stage each evening.
When I'm doing a show, it takes over my life. From the minute I wake up I am preparing; making sure I don't do too much during the day so I don't wear myself out, and making sure I eat well and at the right time so I have enough energy but don't feel sluggish. A show like this is a lot to take on.
The reward however is unbelievable. The response you get from a happy audience is amazing. You are taking people on a journey and removing them from their day-to-day lives for a couple of hours. You see their faces light up, watching and listening to you as you tell them the story and it's truly the best thing ever.
I have been watching the hunt for Chris's fellow performer to play the role of Jesus on ITV's Superstar and the programme's nightly format is a great test of this necessary 'show stamina'. I've seen many familiar faces so far. We have to audition all the time in this industry however to do it live on TV is incredibly difficult - not only are you being judged by a panel but also by the nation, and the pressure is immense. It takes guts to put yourself in that position and I wish them all the best.
It's fantastic to see so many people excited about Jesus Christ Superstar coming back to the stage, however hearing that it's happening at a time when the much-loved Chicago is closing after almost 15 years in London brings about mixed emotions. Chicago is a true gem among musicals and it will be sorely missed. Sadly we cannot predict which shows people will go see and which they won't, however aside from all the frills, for me it boils down to a good story told well. The rest is icing on the cake.
I feel very blessed to be in theatre. Even though it has its challenges and you have a responsibility to give the audience a memorable experience, it's the best feeling ever when you get it right. And at the moment, the West End is in its element.
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