Ore Oduba shows yet another side of his versatility
Ore Oduba is a familiar face as a TV presenter who showed his versatility by winning Strictly Come Dancing and now he is showing another talent by making his debut in musical theatre in Curtains which arrives on tour at the Sheffield Lyceum next week.
“In a professional capacity this is very new for me but I used to do a lot of theatre when I was young but not for the past 15 or 18 years,” he reveals.
“Once I was in the rehearsal room brought it all back. You tend to separate the adult and child experience but I still had it in me. It was different with Strictly, unless you have been a professional dancer or took it up at a young age you don’t have it.
“Curtains is unabashedly big, bold and Broadway. It’s the kind of show many won’t have seen before, this kind of showbizzy, pure entertainment, a musical comedy that is also very funny.”
It’s a show within a show about a theatre company putting on a Broadway-bound musical, Robbin Hood, when the leading lady is murdered on stage on opening night The entire cast and crew are suspects as cop Frank Cioffi (Jason Manford), himself a musical theatre fan, investigates.
Ore is composer Aaron Fox. “He’s obsessed with his music and his art and craft and also desperate to rekindle his love with his ex-wife who is his lyricist partner.
He is signed up for the Curtains tour until April but over Christmas will be going off to do panto for the first time (in Croydon). His Strictly partner, Joanne Clifton, is doing the same in Sheffield this year.
“Even back then she had eyes on musical theatre and we talked a lot about it.”
“I have always been a chameleon,” he says. “I enjoyed sport at school but didn’t know much about how to make a career out of it.”
He went and did a degree in Sports Science and Social Science at Loughborough University and hankered after a career in sports broadcasting.
After graduating he landed a job on Newsround which eventually lead to other presenting opportunities in children’s television and BBC Sport. His increasing profile led to Strictly and winning that gave him opportunities in musical theatre. A natural progression, it would seem.
“Things are never that straightforward,” he responds. “Getting on Strictly is a lottery, they have a list as long as it is round. Having watched from a young age I was happy to be part of it and then as the weeks went on to strive for success.
“After Strictly some return to what they did before but it opens doors and it is up to you to take the opportunities. “For five or six months he stepped aside to fulfil his ambitions in musical theatre.
“I worked to get my vocals up to scratch and to keep dancing . You cannot blag it, you will get found out by your peers. Life’s about opportunities and grabbing them.
“I love broadcasting and being in entertainment shows although most people stlll know me from dancing. But I want to be known as an all rounder.”
He says he knows Sheffield well. “Maybe the last time I was up here was with Julia Bradbury for ITV’s Britain's Favourite Walks: Top 100 when we went to Stanage Edge.
“And, of course, there was hosting the Strictly live show at the Arena. I thought if I can go in front of 5,000 people and Craig Revel Horwood’s beady eye then I have enough confidence to make this crazy decision.”
Curtains is at the Sheffield Lyceum from Tuesday to Saturday, October 29 to November 2.