The fabulous run of shows at the Broadway Theatre continues on December 9 with Scrooge starring Tommy Steele. ESP’s Mikey Clarke caught up with him for a chat…
Direct from its West End run at the London Palladium last Christmas, Tommy Steele will reprise his role as Ebenezer Scrooge in Bill Kenwright’s spectacular production, Scrooge, based on A Christmas Carol. Tommy was recently in the city to promote the show (which runs from Monday December 9 – Saturday December 14) and I was lucky enough to grab a few words with him.
For those that have seen the poster, you have to admit that Tommy is looking extremely young for his age. I asked him the secret to his youthful looks. “The secret is that I’m happy every day,” he told me. “I love what I do. Whether I’m in a television studio, film studio, or on the stage, I love being there. I wake up every day looking forward to performing and that keeps me young.”
This is not the first time Tommy Steele has performed in Peterborough. He explained – “I remember coming to this city in 1957 to perform for a week. I don’t remember the place too well, after all I was only 19, but I do remember the crowds being extremely enthusiastic and welcoming. I’m hoping to see the same atmosphere during my time as Scrooge at The Broadway. In fact, whilst I’m in the city I’d love to talk to anyone who saw me here back in the 50’s. If you see me out and about, please say hello!”
With Tommy performing in the Boro in the 50’s, he’s obviously been in the entertainment industry for a long time. The actor and singer told me – “I still get nervous before performing. I’m constantly going over my lines and dance routines to make sure the audience are satisfied. If the audience go home happy, so do I.”
Tommy’s legendary career also includes over twenty hit singles, Hollywood movie hits such as The Happiest Millionaire and Finian’s Rainbow, and countless award- winning stage musicals such as Half a Sixpence, Hans Andersen and Singin’ in the Rain. I asked if there was a highlight amongst his colourful years performing. “Wow, there has been so many,” he said. “If I had to choose one moment, it would have to be the first time I ever performed on stage back in 1956. It just felt so right and I was so happy. I knew there and then that this was the life I wanted. I look at my life as crossing beautiful rocks in the river. It’s easy to slip but luckily I haven’t. I feel very lucky.”
This critically acclaimed hit production has been described as a real feel- good family musical, packed with timeless songs but I asked Tommy why he felt people should head along to watch Scrooge. “I think people over 70 will come to watch me perform to see if I look as old as I should. Middle-aged mum and dads may want to see me as they’ll remember me from their childhood, and the kids probably won’t know who I am but they will love the fact there’s a lot of frights in the show,” Tommy said.
“Plus, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever done… and I’ve done a lot of shows. The music is fab and the set is amazing – not to mention the magic!”
Some of the special effects are created by Paul Kieve, the guy who worked on the Harry Potter movies, and Tommy says they’ll amaze the audience! “Even after so many shows I have no idea how the ghosts appear on the stage. They won’t tell me how it’s done because of the magic circle rules. The Director once said you’ll know when the ghost is behind you on the stage when you hear her voice. I looked around the stage and thought there’s no way she could appear within a few seconds, but there she was!
“After one of my performances of Scrooge at the London Palladium, the manager came over to me and said that this is one of the only shows he’s witnessed where you don’t hear paper rustling from sweets wrappers and popcorn bags – it’s complete silence because the audience are so engrossed in the show.”
To book your tickets for Scrooge and the other fantastic shows coming to the Broadway Theatre, Joseph and Blood Brothers, call the box office on 01733 822225 or visit www.kenwright.com
Production shots from previous peformances. Photos of Tommy Steele at The Broadway by Chris Brudenell for ESP Magazine.