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Thatcham actor plays Phil Spector in West End show

Tina Turner musical put on hold on opening night

The new cast for the West End production of TINA The Tina Turner Musical, nominated for 12 Tony awards including Best Musical – in its third year at the Aldwych Theatre – rehearsed for five weeks, but the show closed the night they were due to open with a paying audience due to Covid. Thatcham actor Joe Evans was playing Phil Spector. Tina famously recorded River Deep – Mountain High in 1966, produced by Phil Spector as his ground-breaking masterpiece using his trademark Wall of Sound. Spector died on January 16, while serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life for the murder of actor Lana Clarkson.

THATCHAM actor Joe Evans has been in the business since he graduated from Mountview Drama School in 2007. Since then he’s worked at the National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and in many theatre shows, plus on screen in series such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Deep State for FOX.

“I had a call from my agent about an audition for the show TINA back in January 2020 and ended up having five call backs for the role of Phil Spector, with my final audition being for a panel of around eight people and filmed for the American producers of the show.”

Having worked in the West End before (Les Miserables 2010) he knew competition would be fierce, so he began researching the show and the role so he would have the best chance of getting the part.

“I was shocked to see the first thing you read online about Phil being his charges of murder and imprisonment, and wondered how someone with such a successful career as a music producer would end his life in jail.

“I got the call to say I’d got the part and was delighted – a year-long run in the West End.”
And so the research started, watching clips and reading as much as possible about him and his life... and listening to the music...
“Oh the music! Such amazing hits as You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ by the Righteous Brothers and Be My Baby by the Ronettes.

“We started our five-week rehearsal process with the most incredible cast and the night of March 16, 2020, just before we were due to open to an audience, the cast were told to stop getting into our costumes and come down to the stage. The theatres had closed and crew and cast were sent home.

The show is due back this year but, says Joe: “Who knows when, with little Government help and so many equity members falling between the cracks for financial help – so many are struggling – or if we’ll ever be back.”

Still, Joe counts himself lucky that he teaches acting privately online and for many performing arts establishments and his wife runs a theatre school for children (Theatretrain Basingtoke) so he keeps busy and has a creative outlet.

“I look forward to telling Tina Turner’s incredible story onstage and creating the role of controversial musical genius Phil Spector for an audience as soon as possible at the Aldwych Theatre in London’s West End.”

Phil Spector at the age Joe plays him

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