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It's all guns blazing for Jason now.

EARLIER this year Jason Donovan was strutting about the stage of Newcastle's Theatre Royal with gay abandon in Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

The heels have now gone, and in their place we have a stetson, boots and the odd gun or two.

Jason leads the cast in a new production of Annie Get Your Gun, which arrives at Sunderland Empire next week, from June 3 to 7. It's a musical rollercoaster of a ride as some of Irving Berlin's finest numbers are put through their paces, such as There's No Business Like Showbusiness, Anything You Can Do and I've Got The Sun In The Morning.

In fact, it is a proper old-fashioned musical, and that's why it works so well.

Jason only had two days off after finishing the Priscilla tour before going into reherasals for Annie. "It's OK, I like to work," he smiles.

"It's only now coming to life in my head.

It's exhausting. I didn't think it was going to be as exhausting but our director keeps pushing the energy levels, and rightly so.

"These sorts of pieces, if they don't move along, they can start to get a little sleepy.

You have just got to keep ploughing through somehow.

"I'm happier doing something than sitting around not doing something. This was a good opportunity."

I ask him if he misses the heels, and he's quick to say no, though adds: "I've had to redicover how I walk basically, as for some of my entrances and exits I have a bit of a swiggle going on with my bum.

"It's been a great challenge and I do like to take on different roles and that's why I am enjoying this experience so much.

"It's like playing tennis with some great tennis players. That includes the crowd, the people on stage. It's a great show and we've given it a new lease of life. It's been sitting in the dust there for a while."

In both Priscilla and Annie, Jason proves his worth in the dancing stakes with some great, tight choreopgraphy.

I ask him if his time on Strictly Come Dancing helped his movement. "It was facing a fear of mine, choreography. It's not my natural home.

"I'm more of an actor and singer, certainly not choreographer. It has definitley helped. Getting out in front of 12 million people doing a cha-cha-cha is possibly the most nerveracking If you anythi Irvin Gun a as Ann Pace a It tel ry of B West shoote and he fellow Frank Whe Bill's show town, i one g sharp countr nie O head o its sta Frank Both their m their c tures a best sh other's "It's differe that's lenged says Ja "Thi charac tor's pe "It's fashion for an this. Tha lot of very op ryone first 10 "But are as r and it' that an it.

"Plu harder Norma to be a part of it all."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 30, 2014
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