X Factor Joe is the real pinball wizard

Singer Joe McElderry will be bringing the X Factor to a UK tour premier at the Opera House this autumn.

Joe, who won the TV talent show in 2009, will lead the cast in the new production of The Who musical Tommy in September.

Joe McElderry will head the cast of the UK tour premier at Blackpool Opera House of The Who musical Tommy

Joe McElderry will head the cast of the UK tour premier at Blackpool Opera House of The Who musical Tommy

He’s returning to the rock opera’s title role after a special one-off performance in 2012.

The Popstar To Operastar TV series winner Joe said: “I am thrilled to bits to be asked to play Tommy as it’s a rock musical that is legendary and I absolutely love The Who’s music.”

Joe will follow in the footsteps of The Who’s own frontman Roger Daltrey, who played the role in the 1975 film – which marks its 40th anniversary this year.


And Paul Nicholas will direct the Opera House production, making his own return to the story having played the wicked Cousin Kevin in the film, alongside Elton John and Tina Turner.

Paul, who will co-produce with Peter Frosdick, said: “Joe is a fantastic addition to the cast and we’re delighted to have him on board.

“He’s supremely talented and familiar with the role, I look forward to working with him in the near future and bringing the iconic rock opera to life on the stage in Blackpool.”

The South Shields-born singer has sold more than two million albums and built up a large following, with his Popstar To Operastar success cementing his place in the nation’s heart as a musical virtuoso.

A spokesman added: “This colourful, exciting, imaginative and thought provoking new production will be enhanced by exhilarating choreography and will feature first class rock musicians.

“The rock opera promises it will inspire and thrill audiences including a whole new generation as it bursts on to the Opera House stage.”

The multi-award winning adaptation of the original chart topping album tells the tale of a deaf, mute and blind pinball player who becomes an international messiah.

Not for the first time will Opera House audiences be thrilled by The Who classics, the legendary rockers played the world famous venue twice, in August 1964 and October 1971.

Winter Gardens’ managing director Michael Williams said: “We’re thrilled to have been chosen as the opening venue for this iconic show and we’re pleased that someone of Joe’s pedigree will lead the cast of what’s set to be an incredible show.”

The show opens on Friday, September 11 and runs until Saturday, September 26.

n To celebrate the announcement, the Winter Gardens is offering 10 lucky people a goody bag plus tickets to see the show, plus one lucky winner a chance to meet Joe on the opening night. For more details, to book and to enter the competition visit www.wintergardensblackpool.co.uk