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Gary Barlow: 'Jukebox musicals are predictable'

The singer-songwriter was talking at the launch of the BBC One talent show Let it Shine

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Amber Riley, Graham Norton, Gary Barlow, Dannii Minogue, Mel Giedroyc and Martin Kemp
© Twitter - @BBCLetItShine

Popstar turned musical theatre composer Gary Barlow has claimed that jukebox musicals have become predictable, something he'll aim to avoid with his new musical, The Band, which features the music of Take That.

Talking at a press event for his upcoming TV show Let it Shine, a talent show tasked with finding the lead members of the musical, Barlow said: "I feel like jukebox musicals have got predictable, people have stopped thinking outside the box." When asked which musicals in particular, he refused to comment but said: "there's a lot!"

The BBC's new show Let in Shine will see Barlow line up alongside fellow judges Martin Kemp, Dannii Minogue and Dreamgirls star Amber Riley in a nationwide hunt for five young performers, a format similar to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Any Dream Will Do and How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria?.

The show, which will be presented by Graham Norton and WhatsOnStage Awards favourite Mel Giedroyc, will take part in three stages; solo auditions, group auditions, and the all-important live shows. During the second stage, the groups will perform with guest acts including Busted, Kaiser Chiefs, Beverley Knight, Olly Murs and Melanie C.

Further details on The Band are scarce, but despite the involvement of Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald, the story will not be about Take That. It's due to begin rehearsals in July 2017 before touring the UK and, if all goes well, producers hope to transfer the show to the West End.

It's not the first time a Take That musical has been attempted. In 2008, Guy Jones and Ed Curtis' Never Forget opened at the Savoy Theatre and ran for just six months. Nor is it the first time Barlow has turned his hand to musical theatre, his previous credits include Finding Neverland which ran for 17 months on Broadway, and The Girls, a musical adaptation of Tim Firth's Calendar Girls which opens at the Phoenix Theatre in London in January.

When asked if he could envisage making a Spandau Ballet musical, Martin Kemp said: "Yeah I could to be honest. I think Spandau have got an amazing catalogue of songs.

"I think what we're trying to do with Gary's show is that it's for everyone who lived through that period of boybands, and I think there's a generation of people who lived through boybands of the '80s. So yeah, I think we could do that."

Let it Shine launches on BBC1 at 7pm on Saturday 7 January. In the meantime, watch Barlow and co. in the trailer below.