Michael Ball says it’s “pretty much a dream come true” to be returning to the West End with the musical that made him a household name and gave him a chart-topping song he’s still heckled in the street about to this day.
“I get ‘Michael! Does love change everything?!’ Oh yeah, yeah, yeah!” the theatre star laughs.
In 1989 Love Changes Everything – the Andrew Lloyd Webber ear-worm – hung around in the charts for 15 weeks, introducing the world to musical theatre pin-up Michael Ball.
Now over 30 years later he’ll be singing it again as Aspects Of Love gets a London revival.
“This show literally changed my life on every level,” Ball insists “to be doing it again 34 years later is pretty much a dream come true.”
The production is a little more problematic to stage now.
In order to resurrect the tale of lust, which skirts at the edges of propriety – without it seeming predatory, it needed tweaks.
“In the original production the role of Jenny, my daughter, was 15,” Ball explains.
“She’s awakening sexually and everyone felt that was tricky in this day and age, so by moving her age to 18 and also by making the show about her empowerment, she’s not being coerced, she’s not being groomed, what she’s doing is discovering her own agency as a woman and is in control of that. That was important
“It’s weird, isn’t it? This is not something that was ever a feature in 1989, but now it very much is. And we have to be sensitive to those issues and change the narrative. It’s important.”
What also wasn’t talked about much then was mental health. It isn’t widely known that, as his career took off back in the late 80s, so too began a period of anxiety, depression and panic attacks.
“Everything should have been amazing, but my world imploded, and I made the error of not talking about it, not getting help.
“It’s the worst thing that you can feel on a stage, stood there with people staring at you, and suddenly you feel your world collapsing.
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“It’s an awful feeling…it makes you vulnerable, and it makes you very aware that you need to be well. A lot of it is is is about finding the way to trick your mind, to not go into this spiral.”
Thankfully, he didn’t need to be anxious when Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber came along to see an early preview of the Aspects revival.
“He came up afterwards with tears in his eyes, put his arms around me, and just thanked me and said, ‘the only time I felt this was on the first preview of Phantom’.
“It really was so unlike him!” Ball cackles, before adding, “but we want to make him proud, he’s the boss.”
He also wants audiences to “behave themselves” when they come along to watch.
Back in April, in Manchester, a performance of The Bodyguard was stopped because of people singing over the lead during the final song.
“There will be murders,” he says, musing over the prospect of audiences joining in with Love Changes Everything. “They can’t hit that top note!”
“I hope it doesn’t happen because there is nothing more disruptive….behave yourselves, you’ll have a better night!”
Theatre goers, you have been warned.
Aspects Of Love runs at London’s Lyric Theatre until 11 November.
Source : Sky News