MUSICALS: From Chart Toppers to Show Stoppers- Faye Tozer
When Pop Stars Go Musical
By Jordan Beck
Hiya! It’s just Jordan, back with a new series on here on Talk About Pop Music. Apart from talking about pop music, one thing you’ll certainly never shut me up about is musical theatre. So I thought now that I finally have some free time, I’d combine the two and take a look at some of our favourite (and not-so favourite) popstars who have graced (and disgraced) musical theatre. First up is…
Ah, Steps! The 90s answer to ABBA, yet somehow cheesier, camper and – dare I say it – sometimes even catchier. Along with Claire Richards, Lisa Scott-Lee, Ian ‘H’ Watkins and Lee Latchford-Evans, the blonde beauty burst onto the pop scene in 1997 with the release of the line-dancing anthem ‘5,6,7,8’. Oddly enough, it was the only one of their singles not to reach the Top 10 (instead finishing at a comparatively dismal #14) but is perhaps one of their best-remembered tunes to this day. It certainly put Steps on the map and during their heyday, the famous five released four Top 5 albums, sold over a million concert tickets and released 14 consecutive Top 5 singles, a feat – at the time – bettered only by The Beatles. Take that, music snobs. But then it all went wrong.
2001 was a massive year for Steps. In the run up to Christmas, fans flocked to buy their Gold: Greatest Hits album and raced to get a ticket for the ever-extending Gold Tour. Just before their final show at Manchester Arena, H and Claire dropped a bombshell. They had quit, in a decision that shocked the nation as they tucked into turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day and left distraught future bloggers like myself weeping into their parents’ arms. Yes. Anyway. After Steps, Lisa attempted a solo career which got her B-List at Capital, H and Claire formed a controversial duo which eventually disbanded as H went to drama school and Claire went to McDonalds, Lee became a fitness instructor and Faye fought back with everything she had to prove herself as a talented actress. And stay employed.
By 2004, Faye had ditched her famous dreadlocks (which that one from Little Mix totally copied) and was starring in the one-woman show Tell Me on a Sunday. The famous Lloyd-Webber creation tells the story of a woman searching for herself in New York and contains the hit ‘Take That Look off Your Face’ She followed this up with a super camp role in the cult hit Saucy Jack and the Space Victims and then starred as the tragic title character in a tour of Over the Rainbow: The Eva Cassidy Story.
Finally making her West End debut, Faye starred in The Tailor-Made Man at the Arts Theatre, London as silent film star Marion Davies, for which she, again received rave reviews. After Steps’ first reunion in 2012, she took on the role made famous by Debbie Reynolds in a UK tour of Singin’ in the Rain. Fast-forward to 2019 and we’ve already had an even more raucous reunion from Steps, which included one and a half albums, another tour and have been promised more steptacular stuff very soon. In the mean time though, Faye is back in the West End, starring in the smash hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Faye is currently wowing audiences as Miss Hedge, teacher of closeted drag queen Jamie and has been doing so since May.
Her impressive CV surely tells us that Faye is a star in every sense of the word and, whether she got there on the ‘Faye from Steps’ name, she is certainly meant to be there. With celebrity stunt casting, it doesn’t always work like that, as I’m sure we’ll find out in future posts.
Have you ever seen a pop star in a musical? Be sure to look out for my next post, in which we will see whether Alexandra Burke really has the X Factor when it comes to musicals.
You’ve got until August to catch the Steps star in yet another triumphant role, so Stomp on down to the Apollo Theatre in London as fast as you can!
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