20 Questions: Love Beyond's Dave Willetts
The musical theatre performer is starring in Love Beyond at the SSE Arena, Wembley on 1 and 2 October
1. Where and when were you born?
I was born in Birmingham on 24th June 1952.
2. What made you want to become an actor?
It was never a master plan to be an actor. When I left school I trained to be an engineer, and eventually became a quality manager for an engineering company producing components for the automotive industry.
3. What was your first big break?
Playing Charlie in an amateur production of Charlie and Algernon, where I was "spotted ", as they say, and given the chance to audition for a professional production of Annie.
4. What are your career highlights to date?
There have been many highlights, but hopefully there are still more to come.
5. Any regrets?
I have no regrets in anything I have done in life. Even if some moments in your life have not been the greatest experience, you can always learn from them.
6. What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
An amateur production of No No Nanette.
7. And the last?
A schools version of Les Misérables.
8. Who are your theatrical idols?
Ever since I was at an age where I could appreciate "entertainment", I have always admired Sammy Davis Jr, for many reasons, but most of all his tenacity.
9. What's the best advice you've ever been given?
My Dad wrote me a letter and put it into my suitcase on my first trip away from home on a Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. He said: "Don't worry, no one will ask you to do anything that hasn't been done before, but if they do, you should be proud that they have chosen you to be the first".
10. Why did you want to get involved in Love Beyond?
Love Beyond promises to be another breakthrough in musical theatre. The music is sweeping, the story is epic, and to have the London premiere at Wembley Arena is very special, and to be part of this adventure is very exciting.
11. What does it feel like to be playing God?
At the time of writing this, I have yet to start rehearsals, so perhaps I would be best placed to answer this at a later date.
12. Do you have a favourite song in the show?
One of my favourite songs that I will be performing is called "Consequences".
13. How do you think an arena musical differs from a more traditional theatre space?
The main difference is obviously the size of the space in which you have to work, compared to a traditional theatre. But I think the art of working a space like this is for the actor to be true to the piece and the character without feeling you have to be "big" and therefore possibly unreal.
14. Why do you think new musicals are important?
Every successful musical you could think of was once a new musical. If you didn't have new musicals, you wouldn't have any musicals.
15. What do you hope people take away from the show?
I hope audiences will be entertained, want to see the show all over again and, for Love Beyond, that the message of the show provokes discussion and thought.
16. What's your favourite post-show hang out?
17. How do you unwind?
I normally commute if I am within a 2 hour journey of home. I listen to "talk radio" (no music). This, for me, is a great way to unwind.
18. If you could swap places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
Lionel Messi, Argentinian footballer, in the final of the World Cup (and score the winning goal).
19. Do you have a favourite theatre joke?
Leave them wanting more, not wanting to leave.
20. What's next for you?
Hopefully the UK tour of Love Beyond in 2015!