STAGE star Jonnie Halliwell — who lit up the nations’ screens after making it to the final of BBC’S Let It Shine — has landed another big role.
The 26-year-old singer and actor from Scholes will be joining the cast of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends the Musical, alongside cricket legend Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff, Oliver! star Jodie Prenger and Sam Bailey, winner of The X Factor.
Fat Friends, which helped launch the career of Gavin and Stacey stars James Corden and Ruth Jones, ran for five years on ITV from 2000 and followed the lives of a slimming club class.
It has now been adapted for the stage and Jonnie has landed the part of vicar Paul, who is also a zumba instructor.
Jonnie said he was “ecstatic” to be part of the cast and honoured to be working with acclaimed writer and director Mellor, who he described as a “genius”.
Jonnie said: “Paul runs the church hall where the slimming club is held and runs tango classes as well – so there’s singing and dancing, it’s a very physical role.
“I read the script and loved it. It’s a great opportunity.”
Rehearsals begin this weekend and the show opens in Leeds on November 2 and tours until June.
“I’ve never toured before, I’ve only ever done set venues, so to visit all these new places will be great,” said Jonnie.
“I’m really excited to be performing at the Sheffield Lyceum in February.”
This will be the second time Jonnie has worked alongside Flintoff, who is making his foray into acting, since coming runner-up on Gary Barlow’s Let It Shine in February.
After the reality show ended, Jonnie began filming a BBC drama, also written by Mellor and starring Flintoff, called Love, Lies and Records, which will be aired next year.
“I play a guy called Steven and its set in a registry office,” he said.
Jonnie has put his recent success down to his appearance on Let It Shine, which saw Barlow searching for five winners to join the cast of a new musical based on Take That.
“If it wasn’t for Let It Shine nobody would know who I was,” he said.
“My YouTube audition is nearly up to a 250,000 views – it’s helped make me more accessible to people.”
In between auditions, Jonnie returned to RCAT this month to pass on tips to the latest intake of performing arts students.
Jonnie at RCAT