Ben Richards’ Bognor Regis show will be called Coming Home – because that’s precisely what it’s all about.
TV and West End performer Ben will take the stage at his beloved Regis Centre on Sunday, July 28 at 7pm, singing songs from his musical heroes spanning the years, from Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars with a nod to his own musical career.
“I was born in Middleton and spent all my formative years in Bognor town, Bognor high street. It was lovely. I had a great childhood, and my first experience of the theatre was at the Alexandra Theatre many, many years ago. I saw Button Moon there. It was a TV programme and I saw Button Moon Live, and I just loved the whole magic of it, of being in the theatre.
“I suppose it was subconsciously that I was just thinking how amazing it was to see a touring production like that as a child.
“And then I got the chance to train with Felpham Art of Dance. My sister took it over and it became Art of Dance and Fitness. I would finish classes and then after school I would do ballet and tap and jazz and I got to perform on the Alexandra Theatre stage… a place which is now going from strength to strength.
“Hazel Latus (who runs the venue) is doing such an amazing job there. You have got to support your local theatre and get behind it. I think culturally it is so important that a town has a theatre which is thriving. I have seen some towns that have lost their theatre and they really do lose something when the theatre goes.
“Pantomime is massively important for venues. It pays for half the year when we are talking about local theatre, and fortunately panto in Bognor Regis is going from strength to strength.”
It all adds up to a great time for Ben to be heading back to a theatre he loves.
“I have got some new songs that I will be singing this time. It will be an eclectic mix of songs that I love, ranging from my first love which is Ratpack right the way through to Bruno Mars.
“We will also have a nod to The Greatest Showman, and there are a few new tunes that I am working on from last time I was there which was a couple of years ago.
“I work with my MD and I will say ‘What about this?’ and he will tell me if he thinks it is too left field. He will say ‘No, Ben, you have got to think about what the audience wants’, and that’s the main thing. It has got to be a mix of songs that the audience will like. I think it is going to be a really good night!”
Ben, who now lives in Bedfordshire, is an actor and singer best known for his numerous appearances on some of Britain’s most popular television shows and for his roles on stage.
Ben’s extensive TV credits include Freddy Wolf(series regular) in Alex & Co and Penny on MARS (Disney Channel); Ben Bradley (series regular) in Hollyoaks, Mr Kit in Doctors, PC Nate Roberts (series regular) in The Bill,Justin Fuller (series regular) in Holby City, Bruno Milligan (series regular) in Footballers Wives and Footballers Wives: Extra Time and Ben also appeared as a judge on the second series of Strictly Dance Fever for BBC1.