|Ray Quinn (photo: Faye Thomas)|
Ray Quinn on making the transition from screen to stage
Date: 6 March 2012
Ray Quinn’s screen-to-stage transformation originally happened as a result of appearing in X-Factor (he was the runner-up) and then, a few years later, winning Dancing on Ice. He undertook a massive UK tour before making his West End début in Grease.
Your reaction when Leona Lewis won X-Factor was so generous and so genuine. You looked really thrilled for her.
Oh yeah, I was. I mean we’d both come so far from the very beginning and it was more of a relief to me, regardless of what the result was, that it was all over. With all the pressure, it was just like the biggest weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’d got that far so all I really needed to do now was to concentrate on what was going to come up next really.
You were just 17. How did you deal with it all?
I think, because I was so young, I didn’t really worry about it. It never really occurred to me how many people at home were watching and how really big it was at the time, until I came away from it. And you don’t, you see, you’re in this little bubble and you go along with your everyday life like normal and then you look around and all of a sudden it’s like – oh, I think I’ve done something here.
You’re a glutton for punishment, because you did it twice.
I know. Dancing on Ice was just awesome. I loved it. As with anything I do, I don’t sit back on it. I always put 110 per cent in and make sure I do it. If I’m gonna do it, I’ve gotta do it right. We had the best training right there, on a plate, for us.
Some of the things I got to do in such a short space of time, like the Russian split jump, were so difficult. Those boots are so heavy. But it was a superb experience and it’s something I will always take with me and cherish.
In between those two shows you also had a number one album.
Yes, it went platinum because it sold 330,000 copies and it stayed at number one for two weeks. After the show we were backstage and Simon Cowell said to me that: “Next week you’ll be flying to LA for three months to record an album and when you get back you’ve got a 38-date tour”, and I said: “What, really?” and he told me that it’s all booked already. I just burst into tears, what with the relief and then to find out that great news. It was overwhelming.
How are you finding your theatre work compares to that? I love a live audience and, to be honest, that’s what I trained for. I started singing when I was ten, but I’d been dancing since I was three years old. For me, what I’m doing now is much closer to home. I’ve loved working in the West-End, it’s such a buzzing place to be.
How is the Legally Blonde tour going?
Fantastically well. I’m working with really talented people. Les Dennis is playing Professor Callahan, Niki Evans is playing Paulette and I’m playing Warner Huntington III, which is a whole different role to the ones I’d normally take up and I’m having a blast. The cast, the crew, the whole team we’ve got here are absolutely superb and I’m very privileged to be a part of it.
Is it a tough show?
Not at all, this show is so much fun! We do really have a great time and that comes across to the audience. There’s so much going on and it’s hard to keep up sometimes. It really does drive me, but I’m loving every minute.
The best thing about the show is that you go on a journey with Elle Woods, played by Fay Brooks. In two hours you go through about a quarter of the life of Warner and more with Elle. That, for me, is a great thing to see.
From an audience perspective there’s “oooh’s and aahhs”, especially when the dogs come on, but there’s other times when you’re laughing one minute then crying the next. So, for us on stage, with a live audience, it’s a lot of fun. Trust me, the audience is never disappointed.
Working six days a week, is there much time for anything else?
Oh yes. Four days in each week we only have one show, from 7.30 to about 10.30, so the rest of the time is free. I usually get up, grab a coffee and maybe go to the gym. I’m also producing and writing new and original songs, so that can take up some time. I’ve posted a few on my You Tube channel. If you wanna hear some songs there’s a link on my website.
After Legally Blonde, what next?
I’m doing The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. It’s a 13-week tour at the moment, with a potential of going into next year, maybe even back into the West End. That’s hearsay at the minute but – fingers crossed. I’m really excited about it. Jim Cartwright is directing and I’m really looking forward, once again, to doing something different and going down a new avenue. Straight acting is something I really would like to get back into.
Ray Quinn is appearing in Legally Blonde at the Theatre Royal, Norwich until 10 March, then at the Theatre Royal, Brighton (13- 24 March), the New Victoria Theatre, Woking (7-19 May) and the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (5-16 June) as part of the national tour until 14 July. Following that, he will appear in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice from 17 September.
- by Paul Lucas-Scott