A West End actor born and raised in Banbury has said it is great to be back in one of the country’s popular musicals.
Simon Adkins began dancing at his mum Susan’s dance academy, now based in Calthorpe Street, and after graduating from Bird’s College of Dance in Kent, he landed his first role on the West End production of Chicago in 2001.
The 35-year-old is now reprising the role of Bob Crewe in the smash hit Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre in London, and played the same character when it first premiered in the capital back in 2008.
The musical is based on the true story of Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, and Mr Adkins said it is great to once again be part of the much-loved musical.
He said: “I did three years from 2008-11 which was fantastic and then had four years away. I then had a call from my agent who said they wanted to know if I was interested in coming back.
“I’ve always said never say never, and once everything was sorted it is so nice to be back. The company are such a nice group of people, it has been so much fun and the audience can see that when we are performing.
“We all have a great time together and I think that is really important in these big shows.”
Jersey Boys first opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2008 before moving to the Piccadilly in March last year.
The musical celebarated its eighth birthday on March 18 and has now been seen by more than 22 million people worlwide, now firmly established as one of the West End’s longest-running and most popular shows.
The show is packed with hits including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk like a Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night) Big Girls Don’t Cry and My Eyes Adored You.
Mr Atkins stars alongside Michael Watson as Frank Valli, Edd Post as Bob Gaudio, Gary Watson as Nick Massi and Jon Boydon as Tommy DeVito. Sandy Moffat plays the role of Frank Valli at certain performances.
And Mr Adkins added the show has something for everyone to get them standing in the aisles, singing and dancing to popular hits that has contributed to the musical’s success.
He said: “The buzz is definitely the reaction from the audience. We get 1,200 people anticipating a great night and I do not know anybody who does not like this show. As an actor you get to play these real characters because it is a true story which is not something you normally do.
“I met Frank (Valli) and Bob (Gaudio) when we opened in 2008 and had the pleasure of speaking to Bob (Crewe) on the phone. He actually wrote some of the amazing songs on the show which I think we take for granted.”
Now living in Essex, Mr Adkins said he still keeps in touch with family and friends back in Banbury, and despite his hectic schedule - which sees him perform eight shows a week - he enjoys coming back up to M40 and into the green countryside of Oxfordshire.
“I come back as often as I can to Banbury. Now that I have moved out of London I now have a home to myself, but it is nice to get out of the capital and on the M40 and smell the nice air of the countryside!,” he said.
Jersey Boys is on Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, with matinee performances at 3pm. Sunday performances are at 5pm.
Tickets are between £24.50 and £67.50 and for more information call the box office on 0844 871 7630.