Any Dream Will Do – from Saturday 31 March, 7.45pm on BBC One

Any Dream Will Do – from Saturday 31 March, 7.45pm on BBC One

Category: TV Entertainment; BBC One

Last year, the BBC One audience and Andrew Lloyd Webber solved a problem like Maria and catapulted telesales girl Connie Fisher to stardom in The Sound Of Music.

This year, the BBC is shining the spotlight on the world of musical theatre again with a nationwide talent search for a new West End star. This time, it’s the boys’ turn to prove they have the charisma and star quality to make it in the lead role of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor™ Dreamcoat.

Joining musical composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber and presenter Graham Norton is the Any Dream Will Do panel, whose job it is to help viewers choose their Joseph.

Broadway and West End leading lady Denise Van Outen, Torchwood star John Barrowman, acclaimed theatre producer Bill Kenwright and outspoken and opinionated voice coach Zoe Tyler bring their expertise in theatre, music, acting and singing to offer advice to the wannabe Josephs.

The story so far…

Thousands of hopefuls have auditioned up and down the country and the judges now have the arduous task of whittling down the best in a series of call backs, followed by Joseph School and a final live performance to find a new Joseph.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is looking for a completely raw talent that he can turn into a superstar. “There have been some great Josephs,” says Andrew, “but, unlike Maria, there hasn’t been an ‘iconic’ Joseph.

“The audience have their favourites but I’m looking for someone with star quality, real charisma, to hold that show in what is a really complex character.”

Andrew continues: “There hasn’t been a male rock superstar cast in a role for some time and that’s what I’m looking for – somebody like Justin Timberlake.”

And just a few months ago, at the regional interviews, they didn’t disappoint when thousands of talented boys auditioned in Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast, Manchester and London.

Doctors, builders, students, fathers, civil servants and farmers were among those who turned up and, together with those with some singing experience, made for one of the most diverse mix of people ever considered for a role like this.

“The contest will be very, very open,” says Andrew. “I want as diverse a mix on stage as possible. Because so many people have sung Joseph at school, everybody will have an opinion on who they think makes a great Joseph, which makes the competition, very, very exciting.”

At the auditions, the boys were asked to perform two contrasting songs in front of a leading casting agent, to show off their vocal range, but not everybody had what it takes to get to the next stage…

The London call backs

Only 100 boys make it to the London call backs and, this time, the Joseph wannabes have to prove their worth in front of Any Dream Will Do’s panel of judges. John, Denise, Bill and Zoe tested the boys on both their musical theatre and pop ability before whittling the numbers down to just 50.

This proved a massive test for both types of singers. Vocal coach Zoe is charged with the task of turning boyband boys into theatre singers and stretching the range of the musical theatre lads to include pop in just a short time at Joseph School.

The question the panel have to ask themselves about each boy is: can it be done in time? Have the panel seen anybody with star quality yet? And did nerves get the better of them?

“You can’t afford to be nervous when you’re getting on stage in the West End,” says Denise, star of Chicago on Broadway and in the West End. She also played the leading lady in Tell Me On A Sunday, so should know a thing or two about the process.

“People have no idea about what it takes to audition and perform on stage,” she says. “It’s really tough and shows like Maria and Any Dream Will Do reveal the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”

Joseph School

The final 50 boys enter Joseph School, where a team of the best coaches in the business teach them vocals, acting and choreography.

With every boy getting the very best in training, there’s some unexpected blossoming of talent, but viewers also see those who can’t hack the pace and, as the drama unfolds, more dreams are made and broken.

The intense Joseph School workshops also include celebrity mentors such as Jason Donovan popping in to lend their support and advice on what it takes to make it as a Joseph. In addition, the panel give the boys nightly progress reports and dreaded overnight homework tasks.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is also on hand to drop a few bombshells as he realises that turning a completely untrained voice into one that can handle eight shows a week is again going to be harder than he thought. Has he cast his net too wide? Can a builder really be the next Joseph?

“The character of Joseph is very difficult to cast,” says Andrew. “He has to be nauseatingly gorgeous so you understand why the brothers throw him in the pit and we have to be convinced of the journey he goes on and the value of forgiveness. It’s a tough call.”

The live performance

The final test is one that will stretch the boys to their limit as Andrew invites them to his castle in Ireland to perform for his friends, family and local people.

The auditions, London call backs, Joseph School and live performance will play out on the first two shows of Any Dream Will Do.

Only 12 boys will come through the audition process still clinging to their hopes of wearing the Dreamcoat. Then it is up to the BBC One audience, over eight live shows, to decide which young boy will become a superstar and take to the stage – fulfilling their wildest dreams and changing their lives for ever.

About the author

  • Jenny de Sausmarez

    I am a primary music consultant working at St. Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Winchester, where the children are tuneful and vibrant singers with crystal clear diction, as well as being brilliantly behaved. I have been trying to find out more about the possibility of auditioning for the school choir participation as we are rehearsing Joseph at the moment leading towards our summer production.

    Please let me know how we can apply as I have eager and excited children enquiring.

    Thank you for your kind attention.

    Yours sincerely
    Jenny de Sausmarez

  • Anna-Louise Lawrence

    I too have an eager choir who are clamouring to sing in the chorus of Joseph as we did a production last year and they haven’t stopped singing it since.
    How do we apply?
    Best wishes,
    Anna-Louise Lawrence

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