Nothing fazed Coronation Street villain Tony Gordon as he lied, cheated and murdered his way through three years on the cobbles.
But his alter ego, actor Gray O’Brien admits he will be “having kittens” when the curtain goes up on his musical theatre career in Peterborough in five weeks’ time.
The former soap star is to join Bill Kenwright’s spectacular five-star production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC as Captain von Trapp, which opens in Peterborough on December 2.
He has been cast alongside BBC One’s The Voice runner-up Lucy O’Byrne, who will star as Maria for the 15-show run at The Broadway.
So how did the one-time Villain of the Year at the British Soap Awards and Best Actor at the Inside Soap Awards, land himself a role in the iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical?
“I got a phone call from Bill (Kenwright) a while ago and he said he thought I might be really good in the Sound of Music as the captain. but he wasn’t sure if I could sing.
“So I went to meet his musical director, sang through it a few times and that was that.
“I have sang before at charity functions and I did All I Care About from Chicago on Children in Need during my Corrie days, but it was still quite scary - the market is saturated by some fabulous singers.
“But for me Captain von Trapp is an acting role, a dramatic performance, as opposed to one for an outstanding singer. But I am really excited by the prospect.
“ I thought this was something that had passed me by but it is, or will be, another box ticked.”
And what of the show, and going out on tour?
“When I was growing up The Sound of Music was one of the staple films over Christmas, and everyone knows and loves the songs.
“This is a true musical -a great story based on a book, with beautiful music from Rodgers and Hammerstein and knockout songs. (‘Edelweiss’, ‘My Favorite Things’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, ‘So Long, Farewell’ and of course, the title song, ‘The Sound of Music’.)
“Touring and living out of a suitcase can be tricky but it is also very rewarding. The beauty of touring is that you can take productions to an audience that hasn’t had to travel to London to see it, and you get a great response.”
And of the leading lady, Lucy?
“Well I did see her on the The Voice and thought ‘wow, who was that’, said Gray.
“She has a stunning voice, so it will be exciting working with her, although I think we only sing one piece together.”
Gray is no stranger to leading television roles. Previously, he has starred in Peak Practice in which he played the series regular character of Dr Tom Deneley for ITV and prior to that another series regular; Richard McCaig in Casualty for the BBC. Most recently, Gray was seen in the twelve part drama Titanic: Blood & Steel. His stage work includes staring opposite Peter Bowles in Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth at The Apollo Theatre.
He is currently working on a film then mid-November it is into rehearsals before heading for the city.
“Peterborough is the first show of the tour so I think I will be having kittens, but I am also really looking forward to it.”
Lucy, who will also be making her musical debut, became a household name earlier this year when she shot to success as a finalist in the live shows of the TV talent show. With chart-topper Will.i.am as her mentor, and biggest fan, Lucy made history as the first classical singer to reach the final, impressing the nation with her stunning vocal range.
Now, having recently performed at the BBC Proms, she makes her debut as the young postulant at The Broadway, Peterborough this December.
For tickets visit www.thebroadwaypeterborough.co.uk or call the box office on 01733 822225 or visit at 46 Broadway.