Songs sung Blue by ex- boy band star Antony

Antony Costa in Save the Last Dance for Me
Antony Costa in Save the Last Dance for Me
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Save The Last Dance For Me? What about the first and all those between?

Former Blue boy band member Antony Costa has that effect.

Audiences include a share of swooning ladies of uncertain years - former Blues boy band fans - along with those who remember the music of the 60s first time out and a whole lot more beside.

Save the Last Dance For Me comes to the Opera House, Blackpool, on May 31, running to June 4, and is one of those feel good juke box musicals likely to be a wow with the Spring Bank Holiday visitors and locals.

Antony admits: “It’s a brilliant show, uplifting, and I just love going on stage, being another character, rather than being known as that Antony from Blue, and living the dream.”

He’s reinvented himself since the Blue band days and in many respects gone back his first love - drama and music.

The 35-year-old father of two is no stranger to the resort having visited for Blackpool Pride with Blue and played the Illuminations switch on and Lytham Proms. He was last here, in his own right, in Tommy the Rock Opera, co-starring with Joe McElderry, at the Opera House.

“There’s no town like it,” he admits. “I’m really looking forward to going back.”

He catches up with his kids about a week later. “My oldest is 12, the youngest two - just started talking! But when I’m in work mode I’m in work mode. I don’t mix the two. The tour runs through to the middle of October, you’ve got to pace yourself.”

He also keeps in touch with other family - former Blue band members Duncan James, Lee Ryan and Simon Webbe, Blue had number one hits with Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word, If You Come Back and Too Close but split in 2005 when all four members embarked on solo career. They later reformed and reached 11th place - scoring 100 points - with their song I Can as the UK’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

“We’re still very much a closeknit family to this day. I don’t like to live with regrets. I’d much rather be doing this than being sat at home waiting for the next gig to come in or wondering how to pay the bills.

“I love my work. I take opportunities when they arise and me and the lads still support each other, and respect and love is all we need.”

He’s carved out a new following in musical theatre and is enjoying singing the songs his mum heard as a child.

“She was born in 1956 so grew up with this kind of music, and I was lucky because I grew up hearing all sorts of music too. My mum was a massive Elvis fan, my dad a massive Sinatra fan, then there was Motown, old rock roll, Earth Wind and Fire and the like thrown in for good measure.

“I’m a child of the 80s but the music your parents play is a massive influence too. And music like this never dies. That’s the beauty of the great classic pop songs. Save the Last Dance For Me features two of the biggest song writers of all time, the partnership produced Please Mr Postman, Then He Kissed Me, Surrender and so much more.

“It’s a real privilege for me to perform them. For me, personally, I just love to get to sing Viva Las Vegas and One Two Three by Len Barry.

“My mum was in the audience at Wimbledon, didn’t really know what to expect, and loved it.

“This music is a luxury to me, stuff written before I was born, but to which I listened on Capital Gold. They will always be played, whether at a wedding, charity function or a ball, or sung, and people come to the show, get up and sing along, dance in the aisles.

“They leave with great big smiles on their faces, having gone back in time.

“Everywhere is different. Glasgow was brilliant, with us from the off, shouting along to the music, going absolutely crazy. Sunderland was a lovely audience too, more restrained but on its feet for the finale.

“The Opera House Blackpool is usually a fantastic audience.

“It was massive for Tommmy when we were there. A Blackpool audience will be well up for it on a bank holiday.”

The former Blue heart throb stars in jukebox musical Save the Last Dance For Me which takes audiences back to the summer of ‘63 when each week brought another Rock ‘n’ Roll classic. The storyline follows two teenage sisters listening to Doc Pomos and Mort Shuman songs destined to become classics of the age such as A Teenager in Love, Sweets for my Sweet, Viva Las Vegas, Can’t Get Used to Losing You and Save the Last Dance For Me.

And the fact that so many of us know the songs and lyrics even if we didn’t hear them first time out speaks volumes for the enduring appeal of this particularly evocative period of music - and social - history.

Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Grant, the Bill Kenwright production is brought to the stage from the same team behind the successful Dreamboat and Petticoats.