X Factor champ Joe McElderry is back on home turf.
The 24-year-old is starring in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Sunderland Empire this week.
Joe, from Westoe, South Shields, kicks off his home run of the show tonight.
He said: “I can’t wait. It feels so great to be home and I’m really excited because I know the audiences are going to be fabulous.
“It’s going to be great performing five minutes from my house for one. Usually I’ve got a long drive home after a show or I’ll be going back to a hotel so it’ll be brilliant to be able to jump in the car after the show and go home to my own bed.”
Joe, who has also triumphed on reality shows Popstar To Opera Star and The Jump, has performed at the Empire just once before, when he gave a surprise rendition of (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life during a UK tour of musical Dirty Dancing.
He said: “This is the first time I’ve done a proper show here. It’s such a beautiful venue and the audiences will be amazing, you can always count on a great crowd up here.
“A lot of my friends and family will be able to come along to see the show this week so I’m really looking forward to that.”
The biblical rock opera, from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, tells the story of Jacob’s favourite son, Joseph, played by Joe.
After being given a brightly coloured coat by his father, Joseph’s 11 brothers become enraged with jealousy and plot to get rid of him.
After being sold as a slave, Joseph’s keen knack for interpreting dreams sees him become the Pharaoh’s right hand man in Egypt.
Joseph is Joe’s latest theatre role, but he’s also starred in pantomime for the last three years and took on the eponymous role in The Who’s rock opera Tommy in Blackpool last year.
He said: “This show is like a polar opposite to Tommy. This is a really fun show, although there are a few serious moments in it, but there’s a lot of comedy in this show as well.
“It’s a really nice story and the atmosphere’s great. At the end we do this big singalong and all the audience are up on their feet clapping along, so it turns into a bit of a pop concert at the end, which for me is nice because it feels like I’m not missing too much of my stuff.”