Filed Under: Interviews, The Bodyguard    Published by:
 2015/11/02

Zoe Birkett full of excitement for headline stint in The Bodyguard at Sunderland Empire

Credit: Simon Duke // What’s On – Evening Chronicle


The Consett singer and ex Pop Idol contestant has been touring the country in the role made famous by the late Whitney Houston.


She’s already having a ball emulating her musical idol in The Bodyguard but things are going to get better for Zoe Birkett in the spring when she takes the lead in the show in her native North East.

At the moment Consett singer and actress Zoe is the alternate leading lady for former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke in the show but when it arrives at Sunderland Empire in March she’ll be firmly in the spotlight as Rachel Marron, the role originally made famous by the late Whitney Houston.

And having being blown away by the reaction when she did The Bodyguard matinees at Theatre Royal Newcastle earlier, the 30 year old former Pop Idol contestant said she couldn’t wait to get back on stage in the region.

“I’m always excited to come back to the North East; it’s where I’m from and where my family are.


“Newcastle was amazing. I had strangers coming up to me in the street wishing me well and the reactions from the audiences was insane.


“I know a few people who couldn’t get to see me at the Theatre Royal so the Empire is the ideal opportunity for them to come along. I’ve heard that it’s close to selling out already which is amazing.”


Since joining The Bodyguard tour at the start of the year, Zoe has been all over the UK, wowing crowds in the likes of Birmingham, Nottingham and Edinburgh and while her schedule is tiring, she said performing Whitney classics never gets old.


“Whitney is one the greats. I grew up listening to her music and of course I performed her songs on Pop Idol so it’s a dream role.


“She has so many great songs and it’s great that ones that aren’t in the original film version have made the cut for the show.


“Rachel is a really fierce role. It’s a joy to play but you have to give your all in every performance as it’s so full on.”


While her headline stint on Wearside is never far from her mind, Zoe is setting her sights a bit further afield – Broadway to be more precise, having secured a Green Card.


“Going over to perform in New York has been a dream of mine for a long time and next year I really want to get my foot in the door.


“I’ve had a great year touring the UK so it’s the natural next step for me.”


As well as landing a dream role also finished in second place in West End Frame’s search for the best understudy and is now up for another accolade – Female Understudy of the Year in the West End at the Broadway World Awards.


“I just missed out on the West End Frame award by less than two per cent and it’s neck in neck for Broadway World now,” she explained.


“It would be great to be recognised by fans as they’re the ones who go and see the shows.

“I can’t thank my fans enough for their support during the tour. I had a letter from an older lady a few weeks ago that had me in floods of tears.


“She said the emotion of I Will Always Love You reminded her of her time with her late husband. To be able to touch people like that is incredible.”


To cast a vote for Zoe in the Broadway World awards visit the website before Friday, November 6 and to book tickets for The Bodyguard visit the Sunderland Empire box office or visit ATG online.

 
   Meet Zoe Birkett

Zoe Birkett (born 16 June 1985, Consett, County Durham, England) is an English singer. She was one of the youngest contestants on the first series of the ITV singing competition Pop Idol in 2001, being only 16 at the time.

Zoe began attending stage school when she was just three years old. She had had hopes of being a performer and had previously auditioned unsuccessfully to be in S Club 7, finishing in the final 12.

In 2002, Zoe finished fourth on the first series of Pop Idol, behind Will Young, Gareth Gates and Darius Danesh, and being the highest placed female on the show. During the programme, she performed such songs as Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time”, “I Will Always Love You” and...

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