‘Out of the darkness, into the spotlight, a teenage sensation is coming …’
A coming-of-age story with a twist, with catchy new songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling Dan Gillespie Sells and writer Tom MacRae, this brand new musical will have everybody talking about Jamie for years to come.
We asked the dapper and thoroughly charming Dan Gillespie Sells about Jamie, the future of The Feeling and his thoughts on Donald Trump …
The show is based on ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 ‘ the BBC3 documentary about a teenager in the north east. How much of the show is biographical and based on the real character?
That’s right, we were inspired by the documentary. The basic story is the same but for a full scale stage show we needed to create more. We needed to introduce new characters and show the world of the school, which didn’t appear in the original documentary.
And why the decision to open the show and base the story in Sheffield instead of Tyneside?
The Director of the show Jonathan Butterell brought this idea to Tom and myself. He is a Sheffield lad and wanted to do a piece specifically about and for Sheffield. We are delighted to be at the Crucible, a theatre with such a wonderful reputation.
What can the audience expect from ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’?
Something unexpected and joyful.
Your previous forays into theatre, ‘The Bad, The Sad & The Broken Hearted’ and ‘3 With D’ (part of ‘Men in Motion’), were both one night shows – how do you feel about going from those experiences to writing a whole musical that has an initial run of 19 shows?
This is a much bigger undertaking than pretty much anything I have done before but it is also the first project I have done where I don’t perform myself. It is nice to see these amazing performers do their work and bring our ideas to life.
How long has it taken from the idea of a musical for it to all come about?
Around 3 years from the initial idea to being staged.
Were you involved in the casting process at all ?
Completely. We needed very specific kinds of singers for this score.
So will there be a soundtrack of the show available?
The ‘concept’ album that accompanies the show will be available on CD at the theatre and also on iTunes at some point!
Who do you think the show will appeal to?
I think it’s a show for everyone.
It really is just a bloody good night out!
If you had to describe the show in three words?
(not in that order)
Last year’s The Feeling tour was signalled as a hiatus for the group until at least 2018. Is that the case or can we expect to hear more from the group before then?
We felt we needed to have a break after 10 years of solid touring. 2018 will come round pretty quickly!
What do the rest of the band think about your new direction?
They have been very supportive and they have all helped loads with the project in different ways.
I’m very grateful to them all.
Your ideal scenario for the play once the run finishes in Sheffield?
I want as many people to get a chance to see it as possible. That’s all.
Any thoughts of treading the boards yourself or are you firmly staying on the creatives’ side?
One day, maybe.
Other than ‘Jamie’ do you have any other favourite musicals?
West Side Story
Little Shop of Horrors
And finally, what with his outspoken views, any thoughts on the new US president?
I’m horrified, obviously.
I wish I could do more about it but at least we get to create a piece of theatre that speaks back to bigotry.
It’s not enough but it’s something.
Many thanks to Dan for sparing the time to talk to us. Break a leg with the show and we look forward to seeing it soon.
9 – 25 February 2017
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