Former Boyzone star Stephen Gately flashed his robes at the press today in a sneak peek run-through of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The musical returns to the West End this month some 35 years after it was first written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Currently in previews at the New London theatre (former home of Cats), the new production opens on 3 March 2003.

Gately (pictured in costume at today's showcase) made his theatrical stage debut in the part before Christmas, officially taking over from 16 December 2002 at the Liverpool Empire. For seven years in the 1990s, Gately was a member of Irish group Boyzone, one of the most successful boybands in UK chart history. The band reached the top three in the charts with every one of their first 14 singles. Their many hits included "Love Me for a Reason", "When You Say Nothing at All, "Baby Can I Hold You" and "No Matter What" from another Lloyd Webber musical, Whistle Down the Wind.

Prior to Boyzone, Gately had been modelling and acting since the age of 16. In 1999, he made headlines for announcing to the press that he was gay. He soon after launched a solo career with a single for the soundtrack of "Billy Elliott". Amongst his various accolades, he has been named "Irish Personality of the Year" and "Hero of '99".

Gately is joined in the 20-strong West End cast by Vivienne Carlyle (Narrator), James Head (Jacob/Potiphar), Trevor Jary (Pharaoh/Simeon), Kay Murphy (Mrs Potiphar), Ben Harlow, Russel Hicken, Philip Burrows, Shaun Dalton, Brian Graves and John Marques.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was the first-ever collaboration between Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice. It started life in 1968 as a 20-minute entertainment for an end-of-term school concert. The musical went on to huge success in the West End and on Broadway and on tours throughout the world. Its score includes "Any Dream Will Do", "Close Every Door", "Go, Go, Go Joseph", "Benjamin Calypso" and "One More Angel in Heaven".

The musical was last seen in the West End in the early 1990s, when it ran for more than two years at the London Palladium, taking over £47 million at the box office and bringing huge stage success for its Josephs - Philip Schofield and Jason Donovan.

The new production is directed and produced by Bill Kenwright and designed by Sean Cavanagh, with choreography by Henry Metcalf, lighting by David Steadman and musical direction by Nick Richings.

- by Terri Paddock

NOTE: Our Outing to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on 11 March 2003 has sold out, but you can still join the waiting list in case any extra tickets become available! CLICK HERE to do so now!