WHATEVER Marti Pellow’s school career advisor said to him, it is unlikely it included topping the singles charts and leading Broadway and West End musicals.
Yet, as the amiable Scot displays another aspect of his talent in a fresh take on the good versus bad tale of Jekyll & Hyde, he still admits to being scared performing in venues tiny compared to arenas the Wets filled around the globe.
“My opening night at Bromley I was as, or even more, nervous as I was playing Madison Square Garden, because it’s real to me,” says Marti, previously a star of Chicago, Chess and Lyceum hit The Witches Of Eastwick.
“That’s where I draw my performance from. In my own shows if I listen and don’t like the way the song is going I’ll stop it, I don’t mind doing that in front of 10,000 people.
“When this train leaves it’s a stream of consciousness, a different mindset.
“That’s freaky but exciting at the same time.
“It was a pleasant surprise for me when it first started to unfold; the fear of the unknown is what made me want to embrace it. I’m more prone to learn.”
Marti is still releasing music. He made two albums last year, including a collection of favourite love songs.
It seems appropriate he is returning to the theatre stage for a show in which his character’s personality flips between two contrasting elements.
“Some of my friends say I’m a whole bunch of people. It’s just in my nature,” he admits.
“It’s in folklore, someone is a real Jekyll and Hyde character. Is he a good man or a bad man? It’s a thin line and it’s within us all. This has got that balance and there’s a great art to the performance. As a singer I get to explore a different genre.”
One of British horror’s best-known stories, the seeds for a new version were sown five years ago when Marti was approached by Leslie Bricusse, co-writer of the original musical score along with Frank Wildhorn.
Leslie, now 80, had enjoyed arrangements the Love Is All Around and Wishing I Was Lucky singer had done of his songs. He sent the score to Marti who in turn went to New York to work the music with Frank.
“They’ve moved certain things compared with the Broadway version; songs come in at different times,” says Marti. “The score is very poppy, the music very accessible and we don’t have a 75-piece orchestra but there are ways to emulate that.
“We’ve still got a band. The way they’ve structured the tracks, they breathe. That was important, to create soundscapes.”