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20 Questions with ... Loserville's James Bourne

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James Bourne and Elliot Davis' new musical Loserville opens at the West End's Garrick Theatre tonight (17 October 2012, previews from 1 October).

The show, which premiered at West Yorkshire Playhouse earlier this year, charts the rise of a typical American high-school nerd from 1971 as he and his sci-fi-obsessed misfit friends try to change the world from their position of insignificance.

It was inspired by Welcome to Loserville, a 2005 album by Bourne's solo project Son of Dork. Bourne was previously a member of chart-topping group Busted.

Where and when were you born?

In Rochford, on 13 September 1983.

Where do you live now?
At the St Martins Lane Hotel in London.

Have you thrown any TVs out the window?
No, you get arrested if you do that. I know because I was with Matt (Willis) once when he did it, and I very nearly did get arrested.

What made you want to become a musician?
Listening to Michael Jackson and watching Marty McFly rock out in Back to the Future.

If you hadn't been a musician what else might you have done professionally?
I would've been a tennis player.

First big break?
Oliver! at the Palladium in 1994 – I was part of the original gang and then returned to play Oliver the following year.

Career highlights to date?
Winning BRIT awards with Busted and producing a song for Michael Jackson's nephews.

Who's your favourite songwriter?
Max Martin.

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Michael Jackson's Dangerous tour, when I was ten.

And that last?
I saw John Williams do the music from E.T at the Hollywood Bowl, which was amazing.

What are your abiding memories of your time in Busted?
Travelling the world, meeting the fans, the number ones, working with McFly.

Will there ever be a reunion?

Did you ever imagine you'd end up writing musical theatre?
No. It was never on my list of things to do but then Elliot had the idea and it seemed like a fun thing to do. It's been an amazing ride and I'm happy we've done it.

What's Loserville about, in a nutshell?
It's about life, but in a non-serious way. It's about people who are losers at school but end up as winners. It's very pop by nature, in the same way that Grease is.

Do you have a favourite number in the show?
I like "Genius" the most – it really nails that moment in the show.

Why do you think there's a perceived shortage of new British musicals?
I don't think they're easy to make. Getting Loserville to the West End is a really big achievement, and it's certainly not all down to Elliot and I. We've had a lot of help from some of the best in the business; it's been a three-year journey. The fact that we've got this far with it is overwhelming, regardless of how long it runs. Without YMT and the other people we've met along the way it certainly wouldn't have happened. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there trying to get musicals produced, but you can stumble at so many hurdles.

Do you think you'll do more?
We've already written another musical and the plan is that we'll write more as time goes on. We seem to have a good collaboration.

Is a lot hinging on the success of Loserville in the West End?
No – it's just enjoyable. My music has never been a money making exercise. I was lucky in that I got into a band and it got big and I'm able to spend every day doing something I love. I don't make musicals for money.

But surely commercial success is important?
I guess, but I think that people commission stuff if it's good – they don't care so much about your track record. People came to see Loserville and they liked it. Elliot and I will keep going regardless.

So what's the next project?
I'm still making music on my own and am hoping to release more soon.

Come on our hosted Whatsonstage.com Outing to Loserville on Wednesday 7 November 2012 and get your top-price ticket, a FREE programme and access to our EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A with the cast & creatives - plus signed posters for the first 25 early bookers - all for just £32.50! (Normally £45.00 for ticket alone)


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