Biography

1980s Pirates of Penzance (Manchester Opera House); Les Miserables (West End); Phantom of the Opera (West End); Aspects of Love (West End and Broadway).   

1990-4Debut album Michael Ball and first UK concert tour; second album Always enters chart at No. 3; 30 date UK tour.  One Careful Owner (1994) goes gold; debuts on BBC Radio 2 as presenter; The Best of Michael Ball earns Michael fourth gold disc in three years. 

1995-2000 – Concerts at European Youth Olympics in Bath and the Rugby World Cup at Twickenham; recreates role of Marius for the 10th Anniversary Gala Concert of Les Miserables at the Royal Albert Hall.  First Love enters chart at No. 4, goes gold; Steven Sondheim’s Passion (West End); Michael Ball – The Musicals cd and national tour; launches Wednesday Lottery Show on BBC TV; performs at BBC Proms in the Park and at the Royal Variety Performance.  Records An Evening With Michael Ball for BBC TV; 7th album Movies goes platinum. Theatregoers Club of Great Britain vote Michael Most Popular Musical Actor over the last 21 years.   Michael plays in the Millennium with an outdoor concert in Kuala Lumpur.

2000-2 - UK tour; This Time…It’s Personal cd includes; promotes video Live At The Albert Hall in the USA; Australian tour; two week season at Donmar Warehouse; Centre Stage goes gold; video release Alone Together; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (West End) as Caractacus Potts.

2003-5 – new cd A Love Story and major UK concert tour; Australian concerts, American concert debut in Salt Lake City; plays opposite Petula Clark in BBC Radio 2’s live concert production of Sunset Boulevard; Alone Together show at Theatre Royal Haymarket; double cd Love Changes Everything – The Essential Michael Ball goes gold; performs for members of the royal family in Les Miserables at Windsor Castle. 

2005Woman In White (Count Fosco, right, with Maria Friedman as Marian) (West End/Broadway); presents ITV’s ‘This Morning’; five week sellout UK; Music sells 250,000+; debuts with the New York City Opera as Reginald Bunthorne in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience. 

2006-7 – new cd One Voice; open air concert tour; hosts BBC Radio 2 Special Michael Ball Celebrates Anthony Newley at London’s Hackney Empire.  BBC Radio 2 series, Ball Over Broadway; UK tour, debuts with the English National Opera in Kismet; debuts at the BBC Proms with An Evening With Michael Ball; cd Michael Ball – Back To Bacharach; opens to 5 star rave reviews in Hairspray.

2008Hairspray breaks box office records and becomes the most successful show at the Shaftesbury Theatre in forty years; open air summer tour dates include Hampton Court and Kenwood House;  Michael Ball’s Sunday Brunch on BBC Radio 2Wins whatsonstage and Olivier Awards for Best Actor In A Musical.

2009 – March release of Past & Present – The Very Best Of Michael Ball which goes top ten in first week; performs in West End production of Hairspray till July; UK tour September/October 2009.

2010 – Tours the UK as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray; continues to front his own BBC Radio 2 show; debuts as TV chat show host on August 16th on ITV1 with The Michael Ball Show; records tracks for his new album, Heroes, for release March 2011; Hairspray tour continues in Dublin and Edinburgh; Love Story opens at the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End on December 6th with Michael as producer. 

2011 – January to March Michael Ball’s Sunday Brunch on BBC Radio 2; March new cd Heroes released through Universal Music TV.  On March 21st Michael and Imelda Staunton co-present the 2010 Olivier Awards which are held at the Grosvenor House Hotel.  On May 1st, after an incredible 57 weeks on the road, Hairspray comes to a magnificent end in Bristol.  Michael’s UK and Ireland concert tour Heroes Live follows; dates include two nights at the Royal Albert Hall. 

November 14th Universal Film UK release live concert dvd Michael Ball – Heroes Live.

2012 – February 26th at the Savoy Theatre, Michael performs at an evening of music, comedy, poetry in aid of Mane Chance Sanctuary and Shooting Star CHASE, hospice care for children and teenagers of which Michael is a patron.

Sweeney Todd opens at the Adelphi Theatre on March 20th to outstanding reviews:

 

“Michael Ball has redefined his career with the performance of his life.”

Baz Bamigboye, Daily Mail

 

“The performance of a lifetime from Michael Ball as the Demon Barber.”

Libby Purves,The Times

 

“If you think you know Michael Ball, think again. The popular lyric baritone is almost unrecognizable as the demon barber of Fleet Street. It’s a chilling performance, sinister and saturnine. He is a revelation.”

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

 

“Jonathan Kent’s production leaves me grasping for superlatives.  This is a superb achievement that proves that Sondheim’s musical thriller has genuine social resonance.” 

Michael Billington, The Guardian

 

“A dark, glinting treat.  Michael Ball is a revelation.” 

Sarah Hemmings, Financial Times

 

“Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton are unmissable.”

Mark Shenton, Sunday Express

 

“It's horrifically enjoyable – not to be missed under any circumstances!”

Kate Kellaway, The Observer

 

“Two of Britain’s finest stage talents at the peak of their game.”

Daily Express

 

“Michael Ball dazzles as Sweeney Todd.”

The Week

 

April 15th 2012 Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton host the 2011 Olivier Awards at the Royal Opera House, their second year as co-presenters...Sweeney Todd continues through to September 22nd and wins the Evening Standard Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical.

2013: 

January 20th Michael’s new weekly radio show, ‘SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MICHAEL BALL’ premiered on BBC Radio 2.

February 25th – Michael’s new album ‘BOTH SIDES NOW’ is released on Union Square Records and goes straight into the Top Ten.

April 15th to May 10th – Michael’s ‘Both Sides Now’ concert tour of the UK.

April 28th – Michael wins the OLIVIER for Best Actor in a Musical for ‘Sweeney Todd’.

May 13th – release of new single ‘Fight the Fight’ written by Tim Rice.

 

Michael Ball has won critical and public acclaim over the last 25 years with his dynamic, award-winning lead roles in the West End and on Broadway.  And, with his concurrent career as a multi-platinum recording artist, top selling live concert performer and radio and television broadcaster, the Olivier-Award winning Ball has been, for many years, in the enviable position of combining these individual aspects of showbusiness with continuing success.

Michael’s many West End credits include originating the role of Marius (Les Miserables); Giorgio (Stephen Sondheim’s Passion); Raoul (Phantom of the Opera),Alex (Aspects of Love, West End and Broadway), Caractacus Potts (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Count Fosco (Woman In White, West End and Broadway), Edna Turnblad (Hairspray, West End and on tourfor which he won the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor In A Musical, and Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Chichester and West End).

Michael is a hugely successful concert artist; he has performed many times in theatres and venues across the UK as well as Australia, the US and the Far East.  His many television shows have included Michael Ball, An Evening With Michael Ball, The Michael Ball Show and, for BBC Radio 2, Ball Over Broadway, Michael Ball’s Sunday Brunch and the 2012 six part series, Songwriting Partnerships.

In August 2007 Michael made his BBC Proms debut with An Evening With Michael Ball at the Royal Albert Hall which marked the first time a musical theatre star had been given a solo concert at the classical music festival.  Michael also performed at the 10th anniversary concert of Les Miserables at the Royal Albert Hall and the show’s 25th anniversary concert at the 02 Arena.

Michael will be as busy as ever in 2013…

 

Q&A With Michael

This question and answer session took place on 22 June 2006.  If you have any specific questions that you'd like to ask of Michael for inclusion in the next Q and A session please email them to admin@mbfc.co.uk - thanks!

Now you've conquered dancing in Chitty is it something we'll see much more of you doing?  (How about following Lesley Garrett into the Strictly Come Dancing scene????????)from Elizabeth Lamb

Not if I have anything to do with it! I don’t think it’s my natural… I love moving around the stage.  I love getting into things.  I’d love to be able to dance I really would. But if the show came up that required it of course I would do it – or have a stunt double.

I live in South Florida, but would travel anywhere in the US to see you.  You are the best singer ever!  Will you be coming to the US anytime soon? From Linda Sharf

Not to perform at the moment,  I have no plans at the moment to come and perform but of course I want to and we’re looking at doing some concerts there next year.

Is it just a rumour, or is Andrew Lloyd Weber really working on a movie version of Aspects of Love? From Ella.

I have no idea about this.  He seems to be putting most of his stuff on film.  Whether I would be involved?  I think even with the best lighting in the world playing 17 year old Alex may now be a bit of a push.  But who knows?  Uncle George might be the role for me (laughter). Of all of his shows I think it would make the best film.

Will you ever schedule a tour that would bring you to Seattle?  All you would need do is sing a piece from Les Mis and hearts would melt everywhere!  From Rosalee Mohney.

What a lovely thing to say.  I’d love to go to Seattle.  I’m a big fan of Frasier, you have the best coffee and apparently it rains almost as much as it does here in England, so I would feel very much at home and I now there is a great Seattle posse out there.  So yeah I‘d love to come there.

You are an amazing performer all around. I am aspiring to be an actor as well. Do you have any advice for me and others pursuing this career?  From Forrest

The only advice I can give anybody wanting to pursue a career in this business is - first of all develop a very thick skin, second work as hard as you can and do as much as you can in as many different fields as you can.  And watch as much as you can, you learn so much from watching other people perform.  That’s certainly what I did, and get as much experience as possible on stage, even amateur dramatics, putting on stuff with your friends, doing workshops, going to classes, whatever, and be prepared to face rejection because it happens to all of us whatever stage we are at in our careers, but when it works there is no better job in the world.  It isn’t a job it’s a joy, so go for your dreams always, even if they turn into nightmares (laughter)

In some of your recordings, I detect a really sincere Country & Western feel-- and it's gorgeous.  Would you ever consider doing a C&W album?  From Ashley Hope.

Well I did an album called This Time It’s Personal which had a lot of country and western kind of songs on it, and on a number of other albums there have been little nudges towards it.  I love that kind of music - I make no bones about it.  I ‘m a big big fan of country and western, so well spotted, yes I do lean towards that in quite a number of the vocal performances I do and will continue to do so.

Michael I have seen you in concert and I think you have the most amazing voice. I have heard you sing some Elvis songs on your albums and was wondering if you have ever thought about singing American Trilogy as I think apart from the King you would be the only performer who could pull it off and do it justice.  From Lynne Jennings

Many thanks Lynne. I’ve actually sung American Trilogy, not for years and years and it is the most phenomenal piece of music, so maybe you’ve put a good idea in my head, maybe I’ll revisit it at some point, it’s quite nerve wracking though when you try and sing a song that’s been done so definitely as American Trilogy has, but if enough people would like it and wouldn’t take the mickey out of me for doing it then maybe I’ll give it a go (laugh).

Are you English or Welsh? It would be nice to think that an Englishman could have a voice like yours!  From Reg.

Alright let’s set the record straight.  I’m Wenglish. (laughter).  My mum is Welsh – and if you go by – I don’t know what the laws are but in the Jewish religion you take on whatever nationality or religion that the mother is. I’ve always had a huge affinity for Wales.  Technically I’m not, I’m English, I am very proud to be British.  I don’t think I am going to differentiate between the two unless it comes to rugby and war. If we go to war or we fight an international on the rugby pitches I’m a Welshman.  I am supporting the English football team – I don’t think there’s any point in supporting the Welsh at the moment, but I’m a big fan of watching the English football.  But yeah I’m British but I have Welsh ancestry and I’m very proud of it, so I’m a Wenglishman.

What is your favourite role that you've played? Where does being Marius rank on the list? From Clare Haley.

Marius ranks really highly on the list because it was the first west end role that I did.  It was such a well written part in such an extraordinary musical and to be the first person to get the opportunity to play it was a wonderful experience.  I have to say for sheer joy nothing I think will beat Reginald Bunthorne in Patience.  I have never had so much fun on the stage in my life, it was outrageous what I got away with and I’m so glad I did, it was hysterically funny.  I’ve really been blessed.

The full version of this question and answer session appeared in On The Ball.

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