A photocall was held this morning at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre in conjunction with the announcement that Gareth Gates will take over the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from 9 February 2009, marking the pop singer’s West End debut (See Today’s Other News).

Under strict instructions to avoid the use of flash due to Gates’ migraine, photographers snapped away as the show’s current star Lee Mead handed the dreamcoat to his successor on the Adelphi stage. Gates then showed off his new costume and, after some help from a wardrobe assistant, fanned it out to adopt the classic Joseph pose.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Gates said: “Joseph is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. I played the part at school when I was eight and it’s amazing to now be playing it in the West End.” Referring to his stammer, he added “it’s good to be doing Joseph in that there isn’t much speaking” and said that although he was enjoying his new venture into theatre, this didn’t mark the end of his pop career.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF THE DREAMCOAT HANDOVER PHOTOS,
JUST CLICK ON THE \"NEXT >\" LINKS BELOW THE FOLLOWING FRAME.
PHOTOS BY DAN WOOLLER FOR WHATSONSTAGE.COM.

Ahead of his West End debut, Gates makes his professional stage debut next month in Cinderella, playing Prince Charming to Joanna Page’s Cinders at the New Wimbledon Theatre from 5 December 2008 to 18 January 2009. Since finishing runner-up on Pop Idol in 2002, Gates has released three albums – the last after being the subject of a documentary, Whatever Happened to Gareth Gates?, two years ago - overcome his severe stammer by training as a speech therapist and, earlier this year, competed on another ITV reality show, Dancing on Ice.

Lee Mead, a reality TV winner himself having got the Joseph job by winning the BBC’s Any Dream Will Do, will give his last performance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on 10 January 2009, having been in the title role since the production opened on 17 July 2007 (previews from 6 July). Understudy Ricky Rojas will play the role in the four weeks prior to Gates taking over.

- by Theo Bosanquet