Gareth Gates was finally announced as Lee Mead’s successor in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat this morning (finally dispelling that oh-so-convincing Gethin Jones rumour) and it has to be said that he looked just a little nervous.
As he was symbolically handed the coat in front of the press, the photographers urged him to hold out the coat so that the ‘many colours’ would be displayed. That, unfortunately, just had him grasping at random bits of material until finally turning to the wings and asking “how does the coat work?!”
Of course, he has every right to be a little apprehensive about the prospect of going into Joseph, considering the workload he is faced with over the next couple of months. Although this will be Gareth’s first regular musical role (after appearing in the Stiles & Drewe gala earlier this year), he will have to get to grips with the show at the same time as performing in Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre twelve times a week. And on top of that, he and his wife, the choreographer Suzanne Mole are expecting a baby in April…
You get the feeling, though, that rehearsing and performing the show will be a labour of love for Gareth, as — just like his predecessor Lee Mead — it was the first show he was ever involved in as a child, and in fact cites it as the moment he realised he could sing. He said today that “it is an honour to be asked to play this part” and visibly lit up when talking about putting the coat on for the first time — which, as was pretty clear, really was on stage just a few minutes earlier.
He also said that, now that he’s actually allowed to talk about landing the role, he will certainly be turning to Will Young (who acted in Noel Coward’s The Vortex) for some tips, and that he’s exchanged numbers with Lee Mead.
As for the outgoing Joseph, Lee certainly has rather a lot of fans (our lovely Loppies included) who’ll be sorry not to be able to experience the Loin Cloth Moment many more times before he leaves the show in the New Year. Not that they should be concerned; I don’t think that Lee will be falling off the theatre radar anytime soon.
The most prevalent rumour concering Mr Mead doing the rounds at the moment is that he’ll be starring in a UK tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s other Bible-led rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, in 2009. As yet, nothing has been confirmed, but anyone who saw his performance of the titular track during the final of Any Dream Will Do? will know that he’s certainly up to the task.
Lee leaves Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat on 10th January, but — probably much to Gareth’s relief — understudy Ricky Rojas will be performing the role for a month until Gareth joins the cast. Plenty of time to perfect his coat technique, then…