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Mel’s looking for Jesus – Liverpool Echo

 

The TV search is on to find the lead for Jesus Christ Superstar, opposite Mel C as Mary Magdalene. The former Spice Girl tells Albertina Lloyd why the role is a dream come true

BEFORE she answered that advert in The Stage in 1994 and went on to become Sporty Spice, Melanie Chisholm was just another stage school graduate with ambition.

As Mel C she achieved global stardom with the Spice Girls and is the only member to have maintained a successful solo music career. Her sixth album is due out later this year.

Having already won rave reviews for her West End debut in Blood Brothers in 2009, she is now taking on the lead role of Mary Magdalene in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new revival of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Melanie, 38, confesses she has always been a “huge” fan of Lloyd Webber. “Because I always danced and I did a lot of performing at school, I used to listen to all the soundtracks and the cast recordings,” she recalls.

“When I was 16 I went to performing arts college, so it was something I studied too. And to work with him, it’s amazing. It’s like meeting an idol.”

Melanie is looking ethereal in a long white dress, her dark glossy hair falling elegantly about her shoulders. Only the tattoos on her arms give away her old tomboy Sporty Spice persona.

She joined Lloyd Webber’s ITV1 talent show Superstar as a mentor to the contestants in the early stages of the auditions, before she even knew she would be cast as Mary.

“I am very excited and very nervous at the same time. It’s such an incredible opportunity, and to be part of it, the first time that it’s ever been an arena show in the UK is such an honour.

“I think people are going to be blown away because it’s really spectacular, it’s not just going to the theatre, it really is going to be quite a rock experience.

“There’s some beautiful, beautiful songs. I can’t wait to get into rehearsals and just really get my teeth into it.”

Rehearsals may not have started but Melanie has already been working with judges Lloyd Webber and Jason Donovan as they auditioned hopefuls for the role of Jesus.

“Jason’s such a lovely guy, he has so much experience in musical theatre. And he’s very generous as well.

“It was very new to me and he really helped me out. So I think he will be very kind to the contestants, as well as honest.”

The third judge on the panel will be Dawn French, who Melanie worked with in 1997 when spoof band the Sugar Lumps and the Spice Girls teamed up for the Comic Relief single.

“Dawn is just amazing and funny,” says Melanie, bursting into infectious giggles. “She’s going to love it because she does like a handsome man, doesn’t she?

“I wonder if she’s going to snog all the Jesuses?! She has a habit of snogging leading men, so it’s going to be fun to see her in action.

“I think the dynamic between Dawn and Jason and Andrew is going to be really good.”

Melanie wants Jesus to have “a very powerful voice and a great acting ability” as well as “real charisma”.

She adds: “I’m quite happy that it’s in the hands of the public to decide, because it’s really difficult.”

With her fingers in so many pies, it’s a wonder Melanie still manages to be such a great mum to three-year-old daughter Scarlet with her property developer partner.

She takes her along to festivals and switches between “mummy” backstage and “Mel C” when she’s performing.

“This weekend I’m taking Scarlet with me, so I want her to have fun. We’re going to see Jessie J because that’s her favourite singer, and then I’m performing as well.

“I will have two heads on. I’ll be mummy and I will have my work persona as well, so that’s going to be tricky.

“Luckily I have lovely people that help me look after Scarlet and her dad’s around a lot as well.”

Superstar begins on ITV1 tomorrow on ITV1, 8pm




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