… on Making his Stage Debut in Grease.
Grease is one of the best known musicals around, thanks to the movie that celebrates its 40th birthday next year, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in the lead roles.
The show is coming to Llandudnoʼs Venue Cymru on the 14-19th August, so YES Magʼs Carly Roberts caught up with Tom Parker, who plays the iconic lead role of Danny Zuko, alongside a cast that includes Eastenders star Louisa Lytton.
Tom Parker shot to fame as part of boy band The Wanted, which was formed in 2009 with Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Nathan Sykes and Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness. However, Tom was performing long before that, when he found singing success as part of tribute band Take That 2.
We were keen to ﬁnd out how Tom is ﬁnding life on-tour, while starring in a fast-paced, all-singing, all dancing musical. With the cast going through a total of 140 costume changes and numerous set changes during the show, itʼs a world away from boy band lifestyle!
Youʼve just got back to rehearsals after a two week break, how was that?
“Oh it was a dream, it really was. For me doing this tour is so diﬀerent to the tours we did as The Wanted. Iʼm doing shows six days a week, sometimes for a 10 week run, so itʼs really good to have time to unwind before going back to rehearsals. I ﬁnd it gives me a much greater appreciation to take time out, stops me getting complacent. Going back, having had time to replenish and reﬂect, reminds me why I do what I do!”
So at just 28 years old, youʼve had an incredibly successful career, what advice would you give others who want to get into the industry?
“I think you have to have the conﬁdence and belief in yourself. Your brain and the human body is capable of so much! Itʼs a very tough and demanding industry, but you need to keep the end goal in mind. There is no rule book – you just have to get out and do it! Be adaptable, we all have to face diﬃcult circumstances and itʼs being able to stay focused that counts. Having a good team around you and surrounding yourself with great people – to help keep a sense of normality.”
So whatʼs it like touring with a stage and production crew of 26, compared to being with the lads in the Wanted and doing your own thing?
“Well ﬁrst oﬀ – Iʼve had to really learn self-discipline, which was hard for the ﬁrst few weeks! The Wanted wasnʼt as high pressured. When you are performing 8 shows a week, you have to be so mindful of what you do outside of work, as you have to deliver a consistent performance to an audience the same evening! Itʼs still heaps of fun though, itʼs a young cast and we have a great laugh.”
What do The Wanted lads think of your career change? Have they been to see any of your shows?
“They are really surprised by it! Jay had actually trained in musical theatre and he just couldnʼt believe that I have adapted so well to the theatre stage – with just 3 weeks to learn the entire show! It was so good to hear Jay full of praise.”
Who has inﬂuenced you musically?
“Liam Gallagher. Iʼm a huge Oasis fan, being from Manchester! From the age of 16, I wanted to perform and command the same stage presence that he does. I know what I do is so diﬀerent, but itʼs still such a great feeling to get on that stage – it just feels like a place I belong.”
What can we expect from you following the Grease the Musical tour?
“More musical theatre, possibly not on the same scale though. Iʼm due to get married next year too – so less time away would be good, or shorter stints at least!”
Itʼs been amazing chatting to you, before you go can you tell me quickly what we can expect from the show?
“The show moves in a slightly diﬀerent way to the original ﬁlm to ﬁt the theatre stage. Itʼs non-stop, fast paced and it keeps you completely hooked all the way through! You most deﬁnitely wonʼt be looking at your watch wondering when it ﬁnishes! Hope to see you there! You wonʼt be disappointed!”