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Jason Donovan

Jason Donovan

Jason Donovan really doesn’t need any introduction from playing Scott Robinson in Neighbours to topping the charts with hits such as Too Many Broken Hearts and Sealed With A Kiss to becoming a West End sensation in shows such as Joseph, Priscilla and The Kings Speech. 

Clearly not one to rest on his laurels, Donovan is planning three visits to the Manchester area in 2017, all in very different guises, he is currently starring in the smash tour of Million Dollar Quartet, he will be headlining Irlam Live in the summer and in the autumn sees him take to the road with Jason Donovan and his Amazing Mid Life Crisis Tour where he will answer questions from the audience and look back over his career. 

He took time out to speak to Canal St Online’s Chris Park about his future plans, getting older and how social media is changing the way we view the world.

1. How are you doing?

I’m quite relaxed here in Llandudno, the weather here is great so happy days

2. Tell me about Million Dollar Quartet

It’s a wonderful piece about Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley  and Johnny Cash. I play a character called Sam Philips who was instrumental in bringing those characters to American music and more importantly, set the tone for American culture and culture around the world to a certain degree in the 50s. He broke a lot of barriers because that music at the time was a bit like my Dad’s attitude towards rap in the 90s. It was sort of looked down upon and seen as risky and anti-religious. He was breaking boundaries and it’s his story about his business and trying to keep these egos happy, together and maintaining a sense of vision of music and culture and art.

3. Is it daunting to play someone real as opposed to fictional?

Not really, to a certain degree a lot of it depends on what’s written on the page and this is well written. It’s quite factual, there are a lot of words in there but the character really comes through and he’s a really interesting guy to play. 

4. What have been your highlights of the tour so far?

I think every place has its own special quality. The audiences are the best thing. Saturday night is always pretty special, it really is a bit of a night out for everyone and the show encourages people at the end to get up and enjoy the songs and celebrate that period in time. 

I’m not going to lie to you, touring is tough, 8 shows a week is not easy but when you have an audience that loves the show so much it makes it a lot easier. 

5. Do you get any musical numbers in there?

No, I don’t sing in this one. For some people it’s probably a good thing and for others maybe not.

6. Tell me about your Mid Life crisis tour, what can fans expect?

That’s an interesting one for me. I turn 50 next year but we keep that quiet. I’m just at a point in my life where reflection is a good thing. It’s a bit of therapy probably for me. I feel I have a lot of stories to tell and I think people might be interested in those. 

My life is not just performing, it’s about what I do and I think my fans have followed me as a result of the person I am and I’ve always been quite honest and up front about my personal life and my professional life and my ups and my downs. I think it just sort of was a landscape for a tour, I could have done a book but I’ve already done that and I think this is more personal. I was looking for something towards the end of the year. I wasn’t really keen on doing panto which I’ve never done, so I figured a nice opportunity for me to get out there and do my own tour and finish off the year with a bit of therapy.

7. Are you nervous of the questions you might get?

There’s not a lot about me that isn’t public knowledge anyway. I believe in being honest. The problem you have these days with social media, anything you say that can be slightly construed in the wrong way becomes a newspaper straight away.

8. You were slightly a victim of that following the Good Morning show this week and the gender equality question following the MTV awards.  How do you feel about that?

I didn’t pay too much attention to that, it was very much Piers’ (Morgan) off the cuff comment but I think if you’re not honest in what you say then you’re not true to yourself and I think it is important to emphasise this.

In that situation, I am pro gender equality, of course, but I think sometimes those things go too far and we’re all so afraid of treading on toes that we’re not really living. Whether got construed the wrong way, I don’t know. 

News is twenty four hours, seven days a week where we would normally read a paper in the morning and that’s all the news we would digest. But now we’ve got Good Morning Britain, then we switch to BBC News then we have Sky News then we look on our phones and it’s out of control. I think our own appetite for news is killing our sense of keeping things in relative calm and perspective.

9. You’re doing Irlam Live, any surprises planned?

Irlam Live is more about my pop career and singing songs that people know from that era whereas the Mid Life Crisis tour is far more me personally. I think it’s going to be an hour of great pop songs and some singalong favourites, it’s on a Sunday and I’m excited. The great thing about what I do, because I don’t rely on those songs completely, by doing things like Million Dollar Quarter I diversify and so don’t get sick of my songs. If my career was just 1989, I think I’d go insane.

My creative juices are very much satisfied by Million Dollar Quartet or Priscilla or The Kings Speech so when I go on tour it means something and I get excited by that.

Jason Donovan is appearing in Million Dollar Quartet at the Palace Theatre from 15th to 20th May, tickets can be found at the link below.

He will also be appearing at Irlam Live on 4th June, for more information visit www.irlamlive.co.uk 

His Amazing Mid Life Crisis Tour will be at Stockport Plaza on 11th October, for more information visit www.jasondonovan.com.

By Chris Park for Canal St Online 

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