Saturday, 3 July 2010
It's some time since I've written anything about the delicious Mr Mead but he's never far from my heart! Last year we had many Mead free months after Joseph finished. Lee was busy getting engaged, getting married and making a baby in between fitting in 3 months in The Big Apple to study acting at the Lee Strasburg Institute. Can't complain, as before this I did manage to fit in a fair few trips to Joseph- a musical I adore. I always used to come out from that show on a real high, even disregarding the fact I had to endure the sight of Lee in a loincloth for 2 hours, plus for a short time seeing him in chains for some of the time as well ladies!
Winter came, and close to Christmas I made a trip to Lincoln cathedral for a charity concert. Hearing Lee's beautiful voice soaring through a medieval cathedral was something else, warming my heart, despite the fact my feet were near frozen to the stone floor. Then this year Lee Mead amazed the critic by not returning to the West End but by starring in his first play instead - Lord Arthur Saville's Crimes, based on a story by Oscar Wilde. Lee played the sweet, slightly naive Lord Arthur who is led to believe that in order to marry his sweetheart Sybil he must commit a murder. Lee rose to the occasion magnificently, posh accent and all, with so much dialogue I couldn't believe he was even able to remember it all, proving that not only can he sing, he can act as well.
Then, after he'd finished the play during a busy nine days Lee became a dad, and did all the rehearsals both for both his upcoming concert tour and his part of Prince Fiyero in Wicked. How he managed it all at the same time, I'll never know.
I first saw Wicked only 7 days after he'd started the show. To be honest I'd never fancied seeing it before because I never liked the Wizard of OZ, but Wicked is far removed from the story of Dorothy and Toto. It is the story of the two witches Elphaba, supposedly the bad witch and Glinda, supposedly the good witch, and their love for Fiyero. I loved the show from start to finish, and the amazing performances by Rachael Tucker(A contestant in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Nancy show) and Louis Dearman, as well as lovely Lee of course. Lee first appears dressed in incredibly tight white breeches, with no VPL that shows off the rear of the year to perfection, and long boots. I'm a sucker for a man in boots and breeches!
He sings 'Dancing Through Life' and performs an athletic, somewhat balletic dance, as he springs around the stage. I never knew Lee could dance like that - is there anything this guy cannot do? Fiyero's part is big enough but not as large as the two girls but he makes a very believable prince and he looks so damn handsome you can well understand why they both fall in love with him. His romantic duet with Rachael is perfection- you could well believe he's in love with her, and when he swings heroically across the stage on a rope, rifle in hand, the audiences' roar of approval is understandable. All in all an amazing show I would thoroughly recommend. Wicked has a cult following and I do hope it brings a younger audience to appreciate the perfect talents of Lee Mead.
In May Lee also opened his concert tour in Southend his home town in front of a rapturous audience, singing songs from his album, some standards that I love and a few musical theatre songs. He bounded onto the stage to sing 'Paint it Black' and from that moment on I was undone. I wasn't so sure he'd handle all the chat between songs but he rose to the occasion magnificently and held the audience in the palm of his hand. Talking about himself, parts of his life, his wife and his baby daughter Betsy. Then there was his singing - his rendition of 'Kiss' not only sounded brilliant but his sexy dancing turned every woman in the theatre on. That guy sure knows how to work an audience. 'Close Every Door' was as ever magnificent (no one sings that song better than Lee) . 'Anthem' was hauntingly beautiful and then we had a song he sang with Keith on 'Any Dream Will Do'. I've always wanted to her him sing 'Jesus Christ Superstar' on his own, and that was worth the cost of the ticket alone. 'Beyond the Sea', better than Bobby Darin and 'When You say Nothing At All', dedicated to his wife, was awesome in contrast to Ronan's rendition of the song. Lee puts his own stamp on every song he sings. A standing ovation at the end was to be expected and even though he had to return to London to star in Wicked the very next day, he still took to time to talk to and sign autographs for the hordes and hordes of people waiting at the stage door.
I was lucky enough to catch his concert again when he appeared in Basingstoke and this time it was even better. Long may he continue to tour....please