WHEN Mark Wynter first saw the 1960s musical Dreamboats and Petticoats, he was entertained but not blown away.
And he didn't think it had the staying power to run for any length of time.
So when he was offered a role in it, he turned it down in favour of an Agatha Christie play.
That was four years ago. The musical is still going, stronger than ever, and Mark jumped at the chance to get involved at the second time of asking.
It's not just a trip down memory lane for the audience, as the 1960s was also the heyday of 70-year-old Mark. The then teen idol had four Top 20 singles, including Venus in Blue Jeans, Go Away Little Girl and It's Almost Tomorrow.
"How wrong I was!" he declares now of his first impressions of Dreamboats.
"I saw it on tour on its very first outing in 2009. I enjoyed it but it needed work on it. There are lots of jukebox musicals around and the Rod Stewart one had failed. I didn't want to go into something that might suddenly fold. Now it's sharper and it's much slicker and funnier.
"So I thought it would be great to get involved when they asked me to be in it for 10 weeks in London over Christmas, and now the UK tour.
"I've often been approached to do those Silver Sixties group tours, but I haven't gone on the road like that since I toured with the Kinks and the Hollies in 1965.
"Sleeping in a different bed every night at this stage of my life doesn't appeal. Plus, I'm used to playing characters who are on stage throughout the show - coming on and just having 20 minutes in the spotlight doesn't appeal either.
"With Dreamboats I get to sing my hits but also act in a proper story.
"The tour is going brilliantly, beyond my wildest expectations.
"I had no idea that nostalgia of this kind was so big."
It comes to Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre for a week from September 16. Mark plays the father of a wannabe pop star, who runs a youth club where the young cast meet and sing songs like Shaking All Over, Runaround Sue, Let's Twist Again and Happy Birthday Sweet 16.
"It does remind me of my own early days, when I was a member of two youth clubs," remembers Mark, who has starred in musicals including Phantom of the Opera, Cats and South Pacific.
"It's deja vu for me and the audience, although I got a letter from a 14-year-old girl who saw it the other day and loved it.
"It's got a good love story and the songs drive that on. Music is too complicated these days and very technological. I don't understand when people say they spent six months making a record. I would go into a studio for a three hour session and cut four records.
"I prefer the authenticity of things that are natural."
Mark has made a success of acting as well as singing since his days as a pop star, appearing in plays including Charley's Aunt, Present Laughter and the title roles in Henry V and Macbeth. He also had a bit part in the 1978 film Superman and played a patient in the Birmingham soap Doctors. "I was businessman Peter, who had a fling with a girl while working in Brazil," remembers Mark.
"I was diagnosed with HIV and confessed everything to my wife, so it wrecked my marriage. Then it turned out my notes had been mixed up with someone else's and it was a mistake by the hospital."
Dreamboats and Petticoats comes to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from September 16-21. For tickets, ring 01902 429212 or go to www.grandtheatre.info. It also plays Malvern Festival Theatre from October 28.
"It's deja vu for me and the audience, although I got a letter from a 14-year-old girl who saw it the other day and loved it. It's got a good love story and the songs drive that on
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