Jersey Boys, the hit musical based on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is back in Milton Keynes this week.
And playing the dynamic DJ Barry Belson is home grown stage talent - St Albans actor Damien Winchester.
We had a chat with Damien about the role and what people can expect from the stage sensation which has wowed audiences since it first opened on Broadway in 2005.
Q. How does it feel to be performing so close to your hometown in St Albans?
It feels great to be so close to home. It’s nice to give friends and family the chance to see the show without having to travel miles away from home.
Q. What was it like growing up there? And is it where your love for musical theatre began?
Growing up in and around the area was nice and I’m grateful for being able to have suc easy access into the countryside. I joined a local theatre company in Hemel Hempstead and that's where my passion began.
Q. Is there anywhere in the local area that you’ll be squeezing in a visit to during your time in Milton Keynes?
Will definitely be having a little trip to Ikea for some meatballs!
Q. Have you performed at Milton Keynes Theatre before?
This will be my first time performing at the theatre, but I’ve seen a few shows there and I love the venue.
Q. You’ve been in some brilliant productions from Aladdin to Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. Could you pick a career highlight so far?
I think my career highlight so far would be going on as Genie in Aladdin. It was a wild night and very fun!
Q. And what’s the one role you’d absolutely love to play?
Absolutely, without a doubt I’d love to play Johnny Moore in ‘The Drifters Girl’ which is currently on in the West End.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your character, Barry Belson...
Barry is a very energetic radio DJ who has been playing one of The Four Seasons new hits on repeat for hours! He loves it so much he wants everyone to hear it. The character of Barry is based on a real-life DJ who did the same thing back in the 60s.
Q. What’s your favourite thing about playing him?
He’s fun and a bit whacky. Because he’s so energetic and wild I like to use different voices for him to show his excitement!
Q. How has the Jersey Boys tour been so far?
The show has been going amazingly well! Audiences love it, are really supportive and aren’t afraid of showing it!
Q. How does it feel to be performing again after a long break?
It feels great to be back! It’s been such a crazy time it’s nice to feel a sense of normality and give people an escape from Covid, even if only for a few hours.
Q. Why should people come and see Jersey Boys?
It’s a really great show with songs everyone knows and loves. Our cast, band and crew are amazing and work so hard to bring a really fabulous show to the audience.
Q. Will any friends and family be watching the show when you’re performing in MK?
I’m sure they will be! I like for them to book and not tell me when they are coming, so that way it’s a surprise to see them afterwards!
Jersey Boys is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, March 5. Tickets are available from the website