Michael who?

A typical dialogue goes like this:

Random Friend: Who is it you like? Michael Bolton?
Us (exasperated): NO! Michael Ball!
Random Friend: Never heard of him. Are you sure it's not Michael Bolton?
Us (even more exasperated): But surely you do know him, he has starred in...[long, impressive list]
Random Friend: Ooooh, that curly guy with the dimples!
Us (slightly grumpy): Humph, there is a bit more to say about him than that...

Okay, so to save us from having that dialogue ever again here's a rough timeline and "Best of"-collection of facts and dates. Who is Michael Ball and what did he do when? Find out!

  • Ball, Michael Ashley
  • * 27.06.1962 in the Bromsgrove, England
  • son of Tony (MBE) and Ruth Ball,
  • brother of Kevin and Katherine
  • Plymouth College, Farnham Sixth Form College, Guildford School of Acting ( “I look back on my three years at Guildford with affection and a great deal of nostalgia I couldn’t have received a better grounding in the professional theatre, and I only hope the future students will grasp wholeheartedly the abundant ‘aspects of life’ which Guildford has to offer.”)

1980 – 1981

  • Surrey Youth Theatre : “The Boyfriend” (1980), “Under Milk Wood” (1981)

1981 – 1984


  • first professional role Judas / John the Baptist in “Godspell” (Aberystwyth)


  • first starring role Frederick in “The Pirates of Penzance” (Manchester Opera House)
  • guest appearance as Malcolm Nuttall in Coronation Street (2 episodes)
  • West End debut: joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and created the role of Marius in the original production of “Les Misérables” (Barbican and Palace Theatre)
  • recorded the original London cast album for “Les Misérables” (in 1988 also the complete Symphonic recording of the same)


  • Raoul in “Phantom of the Opera” (Her Majesty’s Theatre)
  • recorded “Rage of the Heart”


  • created the role of Alex in “Aspects of Love” (prince of Wales Theatre)
  • recorded the original London cast album of “Aspects of Love”
  • met Cathy McGowan
  • won the Variety Club’s Most Promising Artiste award


  • Broadway debut with “Aspects of Love”


  • represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest (his song “One Step out of Time” ended up second)
  • recorded his first solo album: “Michael Ball” (reached gold status)
  • video “Michael Ball” with interview bits and music videos (re-released in 1994 as “The Best of Michael Ball” with new cover)
  • moved in with Cathy McGowan


  • first season of his own TV series Michael Ball Show, where he duetted with people like Joe Cocker, the Bee Gees and Dionne Warwick
  • recorded “West Side Story” with Barbara Bonney
  • released his second solo album “Always” (reached gold status)


  • the second season of his TV series was aired, guests included Cher, Lulu and James Brown
  • third solo album “One Careful Owner” reached gold status within three days of release


  • he released his fourth solo album “First Love” (gold status)

  • appeared at the Tenth Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables (“Les Misérables – The Musical that swept the world in concert at the Royal Albert Hall” was recorded both, on video and CD)

  • played Henry Purcell in “England, my England” (TV movie)


  • Giorgio in Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Passion” (Queen’s Theatre) and recorded the original London cast album for same
  • solo album “The Musicals” (gold status)


  • released his first concert video “Michael Ball – The Musicals…& More Live at the Royal Concert Hall Glasgow”


  • solo Album “The Movies” reached platinum status

  • hosted An evening with Michael Ball and Friends (Ball in the Hall) for the BBC Wales in Cardiff (guests: Lesley Garrett, Martine McCutcheon and Ronan Keating)

  • appeared in Lesley Garrett show (duets: “Tonight” ; “Papageno, Papagena”)

  • appeared at Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 50th birthday “Celebration” at the Royal Albert Hall (also released as video)

  • appeared at Cameron Macintosh’s 50th birthday gala “Hey, Mr Producer!” (video and CD)

  • won Variety Club’s Best Recording Artiste award


  • released concert video “Michael Ball live at the Royal Albert Hall” (platinum status)
  • "Best of Michael Ball at the Royal Albert Hall” CD was released, together with his album “Christmas” (both gold status)
  • the Theatregoers Club voted him the Most Popular Musical Actor over the last 21 years


  • album “This Time…It’s Personal” (gold status) was released (also a video from an intimate concert at the Café de Paris with the same title)
  • appeared again in Lesley Garrett Show (duet: “Bei Männern”) later on released as video


  • debut at the Donmar Warehouse’s Divas at the Donmar season (critically acclaimed two-week sell-out one-man appearance “Alone Together”) which was recorded for video release
  • album Centre Stage (gold status)


  • Caractacus Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (London Palladium)
  • recorded the Original London cast album of same (also a Making Of video)


  • sell-out UK tour

  • Christmas concert at the Royal Opera House in London
  • album "A Love Story" released


  • nationwide Australia tour (5 dates, including Sydney Opera House)

  • first two solo concerts ever in the USA (Salt Lake City)
  • revival concert "Sunset Boulevard" with Petula Clark in Cork / Ireland
  • Singular Sensation at the Royal Haymarket
  • Jean Valjean in special Les Miz performance at Windsor Castle


  • Count Fosco in “The Woman in White” (Palace Theatre)
  • sell-out UK tour
  • hosts "Ball over Broadway" for BBC Radio 2
  • Reginald Bunthorne in "Patience" (New York City Opera)
  • Count Fosco in "The Woman in White" on Broadway
  • album "Music" released


  • Frank 'n' Furter in Rocky Horror Show Tribute Gala in London
  • Open Air concerts
  • Tirbute to Anthony Newley concert (Hackney Empire)


  • sell-out UK tour
  • hosts "Ball over Broadway" for BBC Radio 2
  • The Poet in "Kismet" at the English National Opera
  • album "Back to Bacharach" released
  • own Prom concert at Royal Albert Hall
  • Edna Turnblad in "Hairspray"(Shaftesbury Theatre)


  • Edna Turnblad in "Hairspray"
  • wins Theatregoers' Choice Award for Hairspray
  • Olivier Award nomination for Hairspray
  • Open Air concerts


  • Edna Turnblad in "Hairspray" till 25 July
  • birthday Open Air concert
  • sell-out UK tour

In Short

Michael Ball ....

...helped founding a charity organisation (ROC)
...did ten sell-out tours,
...released eleven solo albums,
...did numerous Open Air concerts,
...had countless TV appearances,
...sold-out in America and Australia,
...sang at the Opening of the Rugby World Cup 1999
...gave an open air concert in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) on Millennium’ s Eve, honorary Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD),
... was voted the most bankable name by the society of West End Theatre Management,
...had his own Prom in 2007
...stars as loving mother in Hairspray
...has his own radio slot on BBC 2 (from April 2008)

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