ADOPTED mackem Faye Tozer-Smith says she cannot wait to perform with recently-reformed Steps in her new home region.
The 35-year-old has been living in Boldon for the past two years after marrying Sunderland-born husband Michael Smith, 29, at Beamish Hall, County Durham.
She had been happily juggling a stage career with being a mother to their son Benjamin, two, when she was asked to appear in Sky Living documentary Steps Reunion.
The show proved so successful in uniting the five-piece, who split acrimoniously in 2001, they have now announced a UK tour.
“I can’t believe the reaction we’ve had,” Faye said.
“The whole thing has been so overwhelming. All five of our lives have changed in a week.
“It wasn’t supposed to be a reunion as such. We heard Sony were releasing a greatest hits album and they were going to put it out whether we supported it or not.
“We felt we had a legacy to uphold, so we agreed to do the documentary as a thank-you to our fans and as a way of celebrating what we achieved. It’s spiralled into a tour from then.
“It’s weird being officially a band again.”
In their heyday, Steps had 13 consecutive top five hits, at the time more than any other British group since The Beatles.
They also basked in the glory of multi-platinum albums, record-breaking arena tours and a Brit award before it was announced on Boxing Day 2001 that they were splitting up.
The Sky Living show, however, has proven there is still a demand for the band who will play Newcastle Arena twice in April as part of their UK tour.
Faye said: “All we’ve been told about the tour is to think big.
“Technology has advanced in the 10 years since we split and the effects you can do on stage now are mind-blowing.
“There’s a lot of expectation for everyone to sing live now, so we are going to have to adapt our choreography to include a mic.
“It will be a real celebration of our music. There won’t be anything new – it’s a nostalgia tour.
“I can’t wait for the Newcastle leg. It’s right on my doorstep now.
“So many people have taken me under their wing in the North East and it’s my son’s birthplace, so it’s important to me to be playing here.
“I’m expecting the two Newcastle dates to have some loud crowds. They’re not afraid to be loud and party up here, which is why I love this area.”
Since splitting from Steps, Faye has focused on her theatre career, appearing in Tell Me On a Sunday, Me and My Girl, Dial M for Murder and Over the Rainbow – the Eva Cassidy Story.
This week she is appearing alongside Steps member H in Rhinestone Mondays at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
“It’s been great appearing in this show. All my friends and family up here have been able to come and see the show and I can go home at the end of the night.
“I’ve been touring with my little boy for the first time and it has been difficult working and being a mum, but it’s something plenty of people do.
“I love the stage. It’s what I did before Steps and it’s what I’ll go back to after the reunion tour.”
* Rhinestone Mondays is at the Theatre Royal until tomorrow. Tickets are £8.50-£29.00 and can be purchased from 08448 11 21 21.