Antony Costa’s such a chirpy chap on the phone, it’s hard to believe he’s soon to play the bad guy in The Who’s rock opera Tommy.
A self-confessed ‘charmer’ the singer, best known as one quarter of boy-turned-man band Blue, will play Cousin Kevin in the production at Blackpool Opera House in the autumn.
I haven’t done musical theatre for about four years, so I’m looking forward to playing another part - without being Antony from BlueAntony Costa
And securing the role had an extra challenge as he was up in front of director Paul Nicholas, who played the role in the story’s 1975 film version.
“I just went for the audition,” he said. “My manager phoned and said they were interested.
“Back in the day I trained in musical theatre and I have been a fan of the music - you have to know your trade.
“I love songs like Pinball Wizard, and See Me, Feel Me, and Paul Nicholas liked what he saw in my audition - and I’m playing the role he had in the film.
“I had to forget he was in the room, in the nicest possible way, when I auditioned. Like any audition, there were five people at a table in a massive hall, I had to fill that room and prove what I could do.
“I did watch the film, but didn’t want to be doing an impression of Paul, I wanted to put my own slant on.
“The audition was literally off the back of a week of touring, so my time-frame to prepare was really small.”
In recent years Blue have been back on the road, with gigs including the likes of Lytham Proms’ 80s Vs 90s night last year.
But three of its four members are all stage-bound at the moment, as Duncan James tours with Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, and Simon Webbe - who wowed the Blackpool Tower Ballroom audience in last year’s Strictly Come Dancing, is in new show Three Little Pigs as the big bad wolf.
“I haven’t done musical theatre for about four years, so I’m looking forward to playing another part - without being Antony from Blue,” he said, with past stage roles including Mickey in Blood Brothers, in London with Maureen Nolan and on tour with Linda Nolan, and the lead in Boogie Nights.
“With Blue, we got together as mates and we have remained friends for 16 years as a band.
“If we don’t know each other by now, we never will.
“We have so much respect for each other, so when the opportunity arose for Tommy, I pulled the boys aside and said I’d had and audition and would be away for a couple of weeks.
“You don’t want to live with regrets. But Blue are still very much together, but we can take time out to do other things - there are no rules for us now.
“There was a time when you couldn’t go to the loo without asking before, but we can do our things.”
* Tommy, Opera House, Blackpool, September 12 to 26. Call (01253) 629666 for details.