Former Chichester schoolboy Jonathan Ansell is on the road for probably his most extensive tour so far.
The G4 frontman will be back in the area for the G4 Christmas tour with dates including Chichester and Arundel cathedrals later this year. But for the moment, he’s touring with Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall with Les Musicals 2019. Billed as the ultimate celebration of musical theatre, it stops off at Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal on Tuesday, May 14 at 7.30pm.
It’s a chance to immerse yourself in classics from shows including Les Miserables, Phantom Of The Opera, Blood Brothers, Wicked, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Greatest Showman, Miss Saigon, Chess and We Will Rock You.
“We have got 57 dates,” Jonathan says, “and I think it must be the most extensive tour I have ever done. It is exciting, but also a bit daunting, especially as it is being produced by myself as well.
“Practically it means that it is a lot more stressful. There is a lot more clerical work before you even get to do the show, but I like a challenge. I like a thrill. And it is a question of being a little bit more in control of my career.
“I have had a fabulous career and I have been very blessed with all the opportunities that I have had. There was a period of time when I was doing more musicals and getting into that, I was getting a bit frustrated that other people were having all the decisions on what I was doing and what direction I was taking. I wanted to be more in control of it all myself. It started with me producing a one-off concert, and I realised that there was a good potential appeal for this kind of production.
“We did it last year. We did 28 dates which seemed a lot back then! But we have now built it up further and we have got all these dates this year. And what I wanted was that everybody on the tour was specifically chosen by us to be there, not by a management team in the background that were choosing the tech people and even the merch people on the tour. Everybody on this tour has been handpicked by me, and it makes such a difference. It means that everybody there is not just a colleague, but a good friend and the bond develops further when you go on the road. There is a real appreciation and a deep respect between us all and a really lovely vibe to what we are doing.”
As for the show: “I have always loved musical theatre, and I have always loved the wide variety of the songs in it. I have always enjoyed going along to the musicals as well as having the good fortune to be able to appear in them.
“And I just wanted the opportunity to be able to sing all the best ones in one show, not like when you are sitting waiting for your big killer number in the second act. It means that you can really go for it right from the start. And you can take the audience on a journey, through the ebb and flow of it, from the tear-jerky ballads to the big dynamic numbers.
“We have put the show together. They are hand-picked songs that people will want to hear,” says Jonathan who went to Bishops Luffa School and grew up in Bognor where his family still lives.
“There is a lot of the traditional classics that people will want, Les Mis, Phantom, Miss Saigon, the timeless classics. But The Greatest Showman has had a big impact, and having the new Bohemian Rhapsody film out has meant there has been a big resurgence in all the big Queen We Will Rock You type classics.”