Take That musical heads to Northampton
It is safe to say that life has gone a little mental for one of the stars of the show The Band.
One minute Curtis T Johns is cleaning sick up at a rugby club in Leeds and the next, he is being whisked off to headline a major UK tour of The Band, which is coming to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Tuesday.
The show, written by Calendar Girls scribe Tim Firth, is a new musical about what it’s like to grow up with a boy band.
For five 16-year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything. Twenty-five years on, we are reunited with the group of friends, now 40-something women, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes, whose music became the soundtrack to their lives.
Curtis, one of the winning members of the band Five to Five, who were top in the BBC’s Let It Shine talent search, explained that the band in the show are not Take That, but they are playing songs by the famous boy band.
You would think that a prerequisite for getting the job would be to be a fan of Take That.
Curtis said: “I wasn’t a huge fan when I auditioned up in Manchester for the show. My sister is and my mum was thrilled about being part of this show.
“But I did like a lot of Mark Owen’s solo career and Gary Barlow’s writing.
“Even when I auditioned, I didn’t think they would pick someone like me as I am funny looking and can’t dance that well.
“The tour has been extended until March next year and we are going to perform in London’s West End, it has been wonderful.”
However with Take That having performed on and off for nearly 30 years, there comes a huge expectation.
Curtis said: “The fan attention has been something that has taken some getting used to. You see people waiting at the stage door and asking for us to sign things and you get a lot of attention on social media.
“You have to try and not let it go to your head. I was back in Leeds on the tour quite recently and managed to help out at the rugby club which is nice to keep it grounded.”
Although the passionate fans of the show are also helping to keep him grounded.
“Take That fans are very honest in what they do and don’t like and tell us when there is something they don’t like.
“They have such enthusiasm for the music because it has played such a huge part in their lives. But their support is absolutely fantastic and the show has been going down really well.”
And with songs that are so well loved, is it possible to perform them without simply copying what Take That do?
Curtis said: “As we get more and more comfortable with the songs, you do start to get a little more confident in how you approach them, You can start putting your own twist on them.”
And while the show features the songs of Take That, people might think the band members wouldn’t be too involved. Curtis said: “At the start of the show, they were very involved and we still get them coming to see the odd date on the tour. They don’t tell us when they are coming. I think it might be off-putting if we knew in advance that they were in the audience.
“We were doing one show, and there is a bit when I am supposed to be dancing and I look into the wings and could see Mark Owen tapping along. I think I might have forgotten a few of the dance moves in that moment because I was thinking this is how crazy my life has become.”
The show runs until Saturday, June 9.
For tickets visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811