Sheffield second time lucky for Everybody's Talking About Jamie star George Sampson
Former Britain’s Got Talent star George Sampson landed a coveted role in smash hit show Everybody’s Talking about Jamie on his second try.
George, whose street dance talent won him the hearts of the nation as a 14-year-old when he took the TV title in 2008, plays the part of Dean in the musical, which has finally returned to Sheffield, where it was created and first appeared on stage before its massively popular West End run.
The show is on stage at the Lyceum, Sheffield from February 8 to 29, the first leg of its first national tour.
He had his heart set on the role of the homophobic schoolmate who bullies teenage drag queen hopeful Jamie in the original show at the Crucible Theatre.
“I auditioned for it in Sheffield. I got down to the final two. As soon as I found the tour was coming around, I decided to try again.
“It’s nice that it’s coming back to where it all started. I’m excited.”
How did it feel missing out the first time? “I wasn’t mad. It didn’t feel like a rejection. If you’re not right, you’re not right.
“They liked what I did. It wasn’t right for me to do it then.
“I had a sneaking suspicion the show was going to do well. I’m happy to have my time.”
George said of Dean: “He’s an idiot, ultimately. He’s very closed minded, it’s his way or the highway. He’s grown up in a household of just men who were all idiots.
“It’s a fun part to play. It’s easy for me. There’s a perception I’m still a young, innocent dancer who is 14. It’s a challenge to be Dean where you can be really bad.”
George had experience of being bullied himself as a child.
“When I was younger, going back a few years now, dancing was perceived to be principally for girls. Usually I was the only boy in the dance studio.
“I used to get quite a lot of stick about it in school, especially high school. It’s about how you deal with it and how you own it. The story of Jamie is about how he owns it.
“I went through a similar process myself – ‘who cares what they say’?”
When Jamie decides he wants to go to his school prom dressed as a girl, he has to come up against prejudice and rejection from Dean and others including his own dad, who doesn’t understand why his son wants to become a drag artist either.
George said that his special dance skills have been incorporated into the show.
“I have tricks and flips so they changed a lot of what I do to fit it in.
“If people have seen it in the West End they will feel like they’re watching a brand new show.”
George, who first appeared at the Lyceum in 2017 in the Madness musical Our House, has been busy recently developing his music career.
He said: “I released an EP (Odyssey) a couple of weeks ago. I spent a lot of time in the studio.
“I was also in panto over Christmas. The day I finished in panto was the day before I started in rehearsals and I’ve also been releasing a single. It’s been a mad one.”
He looks back positively at his time in Britain’s Got Talent. “That first step is opening the door.
“It opened the door for me but what you do after will take you through that door to the next levels.”
George will spend the next seven months touring the country in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and said he’s really looking forward to a long holiday after that.
Sheffield Theatres box office: https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/
Jamie tour website: www.everybodystalkingaboutjamie.co.uk/2020-uk-tour