14th May 2003 ~
Michael no longer gets a bang out of Chitty
Exclusive by Ben Dowell
Singer Michael Ball is quitting the hit West End music Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in July to work on a new concept album.
The voice of Caractacus Potts in the London Palladium show is mulling over ideas for his 11th album, which will be on the theme of love.
He told Teletext: "This is the first of its kind for me, it will tell the journey of a love story through various musical idioms."
Michael, who has been playing madcap inventor Potts in the musical since March 2002, says: "I am knackered. It is not hugely demanding on my voice, but the physical energy levels required for the part are enormous."
He will follow his new concept album with a UK tour at the end of October and the beginning of November.
He is currently gathering material and looking for a songwriting partner for the as-yet-untitled album.
"There will be some new numbers and some old favourites, many of which I will perform when I go on tour. I want to make the album and tour as clever as possible."
He will spend July and August recording 12 songs for the album and says he's not had a proper holiday for years.
"That is the game I am in. I do love it, but I do try to get away to go to the south coast whenever I can. I need to rest my voice a little, pottering around and not talking," he adds.
Michael is back with a new Radio 2 series of Ball Over Broadway, his series on New York Musicals.
And he says that after recording the programme in Easter, the genre is now thriving despite last year's September 11-related downturn.
He says: "People say Broadway is on its last legs, but they have been saying that for the past 50 years and it never seems to happen. The fact is if you are in a hit show it fills up."
He has interviewed superstar Antonio Banderas for the new series.
He sys: "I have known him for a while - in fact we have shared a dressing room for Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th birthday concert and on the show he is very interesting about his work."
Producer David Roper added: "Antonio's very good. His wife Melanie Griffiths is a bit unusual though - once she made me listen to a baby in her womb."