Preeya Kalidas described her Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat co-star, and winner of reality show Any Dream Will Do, Lee Mead, as "fantastic" today, when the pair stepped out at the Adelphi. Kalidas, who plays the Narrator opposite Mead in the title role, said that she had eagerly watched the BBC series, as she had already been cast, and that Mead immediately caught her eye: "I did notice Lee when I saw his first audition. I thought 'God, he's fantastic.'"
"Joseph has got to have an innocence about him," she continued, "a vulnerability about him from when you see him in the beginning of the show, because he's a young boy. Then you see his journey where he becomes the Prince of Egypt, so he becomes a man. I think Lee has those qualities; he has the qualities of being innocent and vulnerable and cute, but then you can also see him becoming that very sexy man at the end."
Kalidas and Mead came together today to launch Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to gathered press and photographers. The production opens at the Adelphi – which, until recently housed another Andrew Lloyd Webber production, Evita – on 17 July, following previews from 6 July.
For Mead, the last 12 weeks have been unlike anything he has ever experienced. The longest auditioning process of his life, played out before a professional panel of five – Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen, Bill Kenwright and Zoe Tyler – and public panel of millions, culminated with his triumph in the final on Saturday 9 June. The next day, the young star filmed the video to double A-side single Any Dream Will Do/Close Every Door, and started rehearsals on the Monday.
While he is still getting used to being recognised in Sainsbury's, he is not worried about the West End critics and those who may be waiting to pull the rug from under his feet: "I think I will only be worried if I know that I'm not ready for opening night and I haven't given my best in rehearsals, but if I know that I'm as polished and as ready as I can be, and I give my best, to me, that's all that matters."
It will not be the first time that Mead has appeared on stage, having been one of the auditionees with previous performance experience. In fact, Mead gave up a role in The Phantom Of The Opera to appear on the show. It was a gamble that could have left his career in tatters, but Mead describes himself as "a strong believer that you need to take risks in your career. That's what brought me this far."
At today's launch, Mead seemed a natural in front of the cameras and chatting to journalists, but, one month ahead of press night, he only has one thing on his mind: "I'm not here for the fame, or that kind of thing; I'm here to be doing the shows and to be Joseph. To be honest, I'm just looking forward to being up there really and getting back on stage again." em>MA