Sheffield to be lifted up by TV star John

John Barrowman, who is appearing at Sheffield City Hall
John Barrowman, who is appearing at Sheffield City Hall
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Actor, singer and all-round musical entertainer John Barrowman is returning to one of his great loves, the stage, with his new show.

The star of The Arrow and Doctor Who is bringing his You Lift Me Up tour to the City Hall in May, ahead of his album of the same name that comes out in June.

John directed and wrote the show with his business partner and choreographer but is keeping the exact content close to his chest.

He said: “I can guarantee people that they will be entertained and get their money’s worth!

“They will be getting an insight into my life and things that happened, crazy stories and some that are poignant.

“All of that is related to what is important to me. I’m not one of those entertainers who place a wall between them and their audience. I’m very open to the audience.

“If someone shouts something out, I respond to it. It’s allowing the audience into my life and how my life works. It’s important because they have given me the life.”

That life now includes acting in Hollywood as one of the stars of the hit comic book-based series The Arrow, as well as appearing in British TV series, writing, recording a new CD… Presumably that suits John down to the ground?

John said: “I like the mix. Me and my husband Scott say it would be terribly boring if I stuck at one time to one thing.

“If I was forced to do just one I would make that professional career on Broadway and musical theatre.

“I made it work for myself and loved it. That was my dream and my goal and it led to other things. “Like any businessman obviously I am going to follow what comes along. I have taken opportunities and made them work for me and put a lot of smiles on people’s faces.”

The songs on John’s new album include new arrangements of many of his favourite songs, including Mandy, Bridge Over Troubled Water, A Thousand Years and the title track.

He said that he chose the tracks “because the music struck a memory. That’s exactly what I’m looking for. If it triggers a memory for me, it’s going to triggers a memory for listeners.”

He will be performing on stage with four dancers and his schedule is so busy, as he has been filming the third series of The Arrow in Canada, that he had to audition them on Skype.

The show is a big undertaking with a crew of 20 and John likes to ensure that they are all well looked after.

“My big thing is to make sure everybody is fed and watered very well. We have two big tour buses that everyone sleeps in and I have my own vehicle because I travel ahead to every venue.”

Everybody eats together before shows with meals prepared by a chef. John said: “My mum says it’s better than some Michelin restaurants.

“I have a waiter or waiters who serve everybody when they sit down and we serve dinner. Then we get up and do the show.”

John said that working on The Arrow was a dream come true as he was a childhood comic book fan.

He loves the role because Malcolm Merlyn, the Dark Archer, is a multi-layered character rather than a straight villain.

He said: “I was only coming in every few episodes and I like to think that my character has helped to give it massive popularity.

“The producers were asking me to help create a DC Comics world that I love. I knew the comics as a teenager.”

He said that the storylines in the new series for his character and his daughter “open up a whole can of worms” which he is very excited about.

He is not sure whether he will ever return to Doctor Who but said: “What I do know is how popular Captain Jack is around the world.

“I know that the BBC haven’t talked about making any more Torchwoods. I think they’re silly. Captain Jack is 10 times more popular in the States. Who knew?”

John said that there are some new Torchwood audio episodes being recorded. He and his sister Carole, who have written fantasy novels together, are looking at creating some more Torchwood stories themselves.

John Barrowman’s show You Lift Me Up is at the City Hall on May 20. Box office: at the venue, call 0114 278 9789 or go online at http://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/