Tom Lister turned to musicals after leaving Emmerdale. Here, he tells Soaplife that he thinks he’s really hit the big time with his starring role in 42nd Street!

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How does it feel to be starring in 42nd Street in London’s West End, Tom?
“Totally thrilling. I’ve always wanted to perform in the West End and here I am in the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, the most famous theatre in the UK! It’s the biggest gig of my life.”

Even bigger than the eight years you spent playing Carl King in Emmerdale?
“It’s completely different because that was television. Carl and Emmerdale was a pretty big part of my life. I played him for so long and I still get called Carl when I’m out and about. But since leaving Emmerdale, I’ve mostly done musicals in the theatre.”

Is it true you’d never even performed in a musical until you left Emmerdale?
“It is. I’ve always sung, so I thought it was quite likely that I’d start doing musicals once I left Emmerdale. I’ve toured with productions of Calamity Jane, Water Babies and Legally Blonde, but 42nd Street is the real biggie.”

Why?
“It has so many well-known songs – the title tune, plus Lullaby of Broadway, I Only Have Eyes For You, We’re in the Money… and I’m appearing with singer Sheena Easton (pictured with Tom, above)! My mates are very impressed with that.”

Were you scared taking on 42nd Street?
“More excited than scared, really. This is a dream come true for me and I feel like I got the part on merit rather than just because I was in a popular soap for years. The director, Mark Bramble, is American and he’d never heard of Emmerdale, let alone seen me in it.”

Who’s your character in the show?
“I play Julian Marsh, a washed-up producer of Broadway musicals who’s lost all his money on bad productions and the stock market. 42nd Street is his very last chance of success – so we’re talking a musical within a musical. Julian’s a broken and disillusioned man, but that changes as the show progresses.”

For more information about the show and tickets, visit www.42ndstreetmusical.co.uk