~ October 1998 (German musicals magazine) ~

Q:    How should I address you? As a musical singer or as pop singer?

A:     I don´t want to be categorized like that actually. I like to be both. I have  acted in "Aspects of Love" and nevertheless took part in the Eurovision     Song Contest. It is simply great to be able to do both.

Q:    Why did it take you seven years to return to the musical stage after "Aspects of Love"?

A:     There was nothing I wanted to play. Moreover I found it marvellous to follow the new direction of my career, to produce albums and tv shows and to give concerts in which I was able to sing the songs from musicals without the boring passages of the shows.First it was a bit strange and frightening to be up on the stage on your own,without co-stars and without the help of a director. But when I was successful I was able to see it as my very own success.

Q:     Why did you decide to try a solo career after all? 

A:     I have just finished playing "Aspects of Love" on Broadway and "Love changes Everything" was at the top of the charts when I was offered a contract for a solo album. At this time I was thinking a lot about the careers of other people I´ve worked with. I simply didn´t want to get in a position from where you change from Alex to Chris, from Raoul to Joe a.s.o. And than the participation at the Song Contest helped me a lot, even though the song that I had to sing has not been my favourite. 

Q:    What did persuade you to except the part in "Passion" then?

A:    The fact that I got to work with Stephen Sondheim,whom I think of as a genius. Cameron Mackintosh asked me wether I wanted to do "Side By Side.." in  England but I didn´t think this to be a good idea. Cameron said: You are giving  away the chance to work with the greatest. Well, and then came "Passion". I didn´t really like the Broadway production. Bill wanted to make Giorgio the star- role instead of Fosca. It was no commercial show. It was much more gloomy, small and a bit frightening. Sondheim has written a new song for me: a solo, explaining why Giorgio has fallen in love with Fosca. Well, to be able to work with Sondheim and not having the pressure of making commercial decisions made me accept this offer. I mean,this work would really deserve to become a big hit. 

Q:     What have you done in terms of theater since then?

A:    I appeared in a Sondheim gala which I was allowed to open and end with "Beautiful Girls"," Loving you" and "Broadway Baby". On this occasion I once more noticed that the best songs are always written for the female parts of the shows. And that is why you will find on my album "The Musical" songs like "With one look" from "Sunset Boulevard" and "Don´t rain on my parade" from "Hello, Dolly!" They are simply gorgeous,but are originally written for women after all.

Q:    If you were able to,which female character would you love to play?

A:     Norma Desmond! Her songs are magnificent. That´s why I´ve recorded "With one look", although we had to change it´s lyrics a bit, so that it would suit a man. I asked Don Black, the lyricist of "Sunset Boulevard",  wether he had a problem with that. But he only said: "Jesus Christ,no!" I actually don´t see this as Norma´s song, but much more as a song about artists, male or female, who want to communicate with their audience. 

Q:    Wouldn´t you have liked to play Joe Gillis then?

A:    I was offered the part, but it simply is Norma´s show.The title song is the only big song for Joe and besides Norma´s songs are simply the better ones. This has always been my problem after "Aspects": The shows haven´t been good or interesting enough for me.

Q:     Here on the continent the end of the musical boom is stated already. In your opinion,how will you think the genre of musical theater will develop in the near future?

A:    This will be very interesting. Last week someone has shown me the tape of my very first tv appearance and Andrew Lloyd Webber was on the same program and he was asked: "The musical is dead, isn´t it?" That has been ten years ago and his shows are running still. Unfortuantely the number of visitors are decreasing a bit, because it has become so expensive to go to the theater. And if someone can only afford to see a show once in a year he will go to see a "safe" show understandably. A musical he has heard of a lot. One has to educate the audience to smaller shows like "Passion", but I can very well see that this is rather difficult. 

Q:    If you were to write a play yourself how would it be like?  

A: I like autobiographic shows and I am sure that the life of Mario Lanza would make a wonderful musical. His story is very much like Caruso´s, sad, dramatically and extraordinary. And one would have to include the songs he had sung.

Q:     How must a part be like to be accepted by you? 

A:    It has to be three dimensional.It can be small, as long as it is interesting. No part like for example Amos Hart in "Chicago", this one would  frustrate me: the two women always on stage and I always in the dressing room.I don´t want to play mini roles anymore. I prefer to appear at galas as recently at Andrew Lloyd Webbers 50th birthday, together with an unbelievable ensemble.I ended the first half with "Gethsemane" and the the show with "Love changes Everything" with the most prominent backing chorus, one I´ll never have again in my whole life.

Underneath a picture it says: Just after having visited the Netherlands to promote his new cd "The Musicals" and his video "The Musicals and More", the british musical star and pop singer Michael Ball has returned into the studio. The new cd with songs from films on it should be published soon and there is a tour planned for 1999.But Michael Ball won´t return to the musical stages for
the present.

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