Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams. Photo Credit: Jay Brooks

Howard Donald, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams. Photo Credit: Jay Brooks

Take That’s Gary Barlow talks about pride, pep talks, pin-ups and taking stage musical THE BAND out on tour

After a successful London run, new stage musical THE BAND makes a welcome return to the North West for a two-week run at Salford’s The Lowry.

Written by the Olivier award-winning writer Tim Firth, THE BAND tells the story of a group of girls who reunite after 25 years apart to fulfil their dream of meeting the boyband whose music became the soundtrack to their lives. The musical features the songs of Take That, Britain’s most successful boyband of all time, including NEVER FORGET, BACK FOR GOOD, A MILLION LOVE SONGS, GREATEST DAY, THE FLOOD, RELIGHT MY FIRE, SHINE and RULE THE WORLD and stars Five to Five, the winners from BBC’s LET IT SHINE.

Ahead of its run at Salford’s The Lowry, Vicky Edwards talks to Take That member and Producer of THE BAND Gary Barlow about pride, pep talks and pin-ups.

You are co-producing with a team that includes Robbie, Howard and Mark. Are you all swollen-chested with pride at its success?

Absolutely! I don’t think we could have imagined the pride we would feel every time THE BAND goes into a new city or the amazing response it gets. Our aim is to give people the best two hours of their life.

The show is NOT about Take That. It uses your music as a soundtrack to an original story about a group of 16-year-old friends and a non-specified pop group and how, 25 years on, the girls reunite and try to meet their heroes. Why is the show so successful, do you think?

I think that friendship really resonates with people. Even the idea of the friendship – if you sat us down then we’d all say that friendship is what is at the heart of Take That. It has kept our work strong; we’ve been a gang. THE BAND is about the relationships really, not the music. You don’t need to be an avid fan, but Tim [Firth – writer] has so cleverly woven our music into a parallel universe. Whenever I see it I leave happy.

It’s a show about growing up, too. What advice would you give to your younger self?

I’d say grab it and enjoy this moment right now. It sounds so corny but this young cast are at such an amazing time in their lives, but they may have some tough years ahead. It’s so important to enjoy the here and now. We give ourselves a pep talk now and again, especially before tours. We really do appreciate all that we have.

You have already secured a West End run and extended the tour into 2019. What’s next for THE BAND?

We have plans because THE BAND is a musical that we believe in so much. We’re by no means high-fiving yet, but by no means have we reached our goal either. We won’t be happy until this show is on Broadway.

Who were your bedroom wall pin-ups when you were sixteen?

It was all about the music for me. Adam Ant, The Human League, Depeche Mode – I just loved trying out all that synthesized stuff on the piano.

THE BAND runs at The Lowry, Salford from 16 – 26 January 2019.