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NE star takes Tropicana lead

Published: 28 March 2019

The touring production of Club Tropicana the Musical arrives at Sunderland Empire in May with North East singing star Joe McElderry in the lead.

McElderry, who comes from South Shields, leads a cast which includes Neil McDermott (Ryan Malloy in EastEnders, Eugenius!, The Wind in the Willows, Shrek), Kate Robbins (Spitting Image, ITV’s The Imitation Game, Dinnerladies), Emily Tierney (Eugenius!, Wicked, The Wizard of Oz) and former Sugababe star Amelle Berrabah making her musical theatre debut.

The cast is completed by Karina Hind, Calvin Hudson, Cellen Chugg Jones, Megan Louch, Rebecca Mendoza, Alexanda O’Reilly, Joshua Pearson, Rory Phelan, Nye Rees, Camilla Rowland, Christina Shand, Courtney-Brogan Smalley, Tara Verloop and Kane Verrall.

When a budding bride and groom get cold feet, they each decide to jet off to sunnier climes and feel the heat—but little do they know, they’ve checked into the same hotel.

Their story unfolds to the accompaniment of hits of the '80s from ABC, Cyndi Lauper, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, A-ha, Culture Club, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Bucks Fizz and Depeche Mode, including "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Take On Me", "Just Can’t Get Enough", "Oops Upside Your Head", "The Look of Love", "Making Your Mind Up", "Relax", "Islands on the Stream", "She Drives Me Crazy", "Don’t Go", "La Dolce Vita", "Surprise, Surprise", "Church of the Poison Mind", "Fantasy Island", "Up Where We Belong", "I Could Be So Good for You", "Fantastic Day" among many others.

McElderry plays Garry, a Club Rep with an eye for the outrageous and a killer store of barbed one-liners.

“He’s camp, he’s witty, very flamboyant and quite sassy,” he said. “I’ve never played a comedy role before but it’s been really fun. At first I was really nervous but I’m excited by it now.”

He thinks for a moment, then confesses, “there’s no rules with Garry, he’s probably me after four or five vodkas!”

The world première tour of Club Tropicana the Musical by Michael Gyngell runs at Sunderland Empire from 20 to 25 May.

Peter Lathan