Nordoff Robbins Silver Clef Awards - Arrivals

Musical Star Michael Ball Talks to Ahlan!

07 Aug 2013

As British musical sensation Michael Ball heads to Abu Dhabi for the first time later this month, we had a chat with him about crazy fans, bionic dogs and baby-daddy-of-the-mo Simon Cowell

Hi Michael! Tell us about the show you’re bringing to the UAE?
There are three backing singers, and an orchestra of 18. It's all going to be about the musicals but a lot of the shows are pretty current. It's going to be a lot about the shows and the writers I have worked with and that I know well, people like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Stephen Sondheim. You'll get the great set, with LED lights, that's all being shipped over. I really wanted to do it properly. I've been to Dubai, I've never been to Abu Dhabi. I spent Christmas and New Year in Dubai this year! I stayed at the One & Only Royal Mirage. It was really nice. I went to the souks and all of that, had great food, and I was with the family. It was lovely and relaxing. I want to go to the desert while I'm there too. Will I go on a camel? Yes! And you've got to do a bit of shopping, I shall be the quintessential tourist.

You've lost a lot of weight over the past few years. Are you still slimming?
No! It's all gone back on! I didn't actively do it and I have just come back from a holiday in France and I really went for it. Vino and cheese are my downfalls... I don't really get hung up about it.

Tell us about your fans! We hear some of them are very devoted?
They're coming over to Abu Dhabi! It's nice to know there will be some friendly faces out there yes! I wouldn't call them crazy, I think loyal is a nicer way of putting it. It's nice. You do get to know people. I get lovely presents. They know I like a bit of vino, and I get all kinds of stuff. The weirdest was the one who brought be a suitcase full of a pair of pajamas, a pair of pants and socks, a packed lunch, and lots of food, pickles and scotch eggs, and she'd booked us a caravan in Rhyl in Wales. She said 'see you there'. I said ‘thank you but no thank you’. Though I was a bit intrigued.

Michael in his younger days when he released this single Love Changes Everything. Cute!

What do you think of TV talent shows – especially ones to find new musical stars?
I think they're great. They've brought musical theatre to a whole new generation. The productions have had a real quality. It's interesting all the people who have won the shows have trained and worked in the business. I was dubious at first, but it has only been a good thing. I haven't been involved with any. What do I think of Simon Cowell? He's brilliant. I often agree with everything he says. He's a very, very clever man. I would love to be a judge. I would be really honest.

We hear former Atomic Kitten pop star and reality TV regular Kerry Katona is the latest celebrity to sign up for a musical. She's going to play Marilyn Monroe. What do you think?
I think anybody can do a show as long as they can do the job. If she can pull off Marilyn all credit to her. Stunt casting kills shows, people who can't actually do it, what on earth is the point? It would be fantastic if she does do it and she is great.

Your career has seen you play every major musical role going over the past 20 years. Which parts do you still want to play on stage?
I did Sweeney Todd last year and that was great. That was the dream role. There's nothing I'm desperate to do. Though I would love to do Mac in Mac and Mabel. It's a fascinating musical.

Michael won an Olivier Award for Sweeney Todd with Imelda Staunton in London

We hear you’ve got two dogs and one of them is a bit special?
Yes I have Freddie and Ollie, they're Tibetan terriers. At the weekend we're going down to see The Bionic vet. Noel Fitzpatrick . He's the most extraordinary surgeon. He creates artificial limbs for animals that have been injured.  Freddie was run over and his left back hip was crushed. We thought we were going to lose him but Noel constructed a whole new back bit of spine, and Freddie is now running around like a puppy. It's a miracle. He’s having an open day this weekend.  I'm going and (BBC Radio 2 host) Chris Evans is too. I think Freddie might be winning Bionic dog of the year. I've also got Ollie, whose seven. They come in my dressing room, they're very well behaved... though they bark a bit.

Michael and his beloved dog, Freddie

INFO: Michael Ball Sings The Musicals, Friday 16 to Saturday 17 August, Dhs100, Dhs150 (premium), Dhs250 (VIP), 7pm, du Forum, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 800 86823,