Greatest Days: The Musical, a production that took the world by storm with its heartwarming story and Take That songs, is coming to Edinburgh Playhouse between August 28 and September 2, starring Jennifer Ellison. Jennifer will join as Rachel from August 21 at the Kings Theatre, Glasgow, while the musical embarked on a major UK tour on May 6.
Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Take That’s first-ever UK number-one single Pray, Greatest Days features more than 15 record-breaking Take That songs alongside a heart-warming and hilarious story of love, loss and laughter from award-winning writer Tim Firth. The musical centres around a group of five best friends in the 1990’s who are obsessed with their favourite boy band. More than 20 years later, the girls come together once again with a plan to see Take That one last time in what could be the “Greatest Days of their lives”.
Secret Edinburgh got the chance to chat with Jennifer Ellison herself about her role as Rachel in Greatest Days: The Musical, as well as how she got to where she is today. Dancer, actress, singer and businesswoman Jennifer Ellison rose to prominence playing Emily Shadwick at the age of 12 in the television soap opera ‘Brookside’ and secured her place as a household name by playing Meg Giry in her international film debut, the 2004 adaptation of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’. Throughout her life, Jennifer has seen a colourful career with a tremendous amount of achievements, including participating in the TV series ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ on Channel 4.
What was the most humbling moment in your career?
“There has been so many, but I feel like when you get to do a lot of charity work, you get to meet so many inspirational people. When you’re having a hard day or a bad day, you know, you think the world’s ending and then you look at what some people go through. When I did SAS, I met Ashley who lost a daughter to leukaemia and I think that was probably one of the most humbling moments.”
“He literally just opened his heart up to us. […] What we went through in SAS, I think, we just had this bond together that no one would understand: that’s the only job I’ve ever done where we’ve all stayed in touch and met up after, because of what you go through. […] It was far more horrific than the viewer ever gets to know. But when you leave, it’s this special experience that you can take away with you for the rest of your life.”
Would you say SAS has changed you as a person?
“Absolutely. When I went in, I had given up on myself as a person, I had no respect for myself, literally said to everybody ‘I am the first person out of here’. […] I wasn’t the fastest, I wasn’t the most athletic – I was the weak link – BUT I kept going, I never said no, I kept doing it. […] And that gave me such admiration for myself afterwards. It literally kickstarted something in me, a fire back inside of me and a respect for myself that I can do it.”
Jennifer just reiterated how important is to not give up on ourselves, and just to keep going. Believing in ourselves and self-respect go hand in hand, and it is amazing what we can do and overcome if we carry on even when it’s hard. While it would take ten thousand words to write out every question, well also spoke about the meaning of success today, which is the freedom to do what we enjoy instead of just keeping a full schedule.
What attracted you to Greatest Days: The Musical?
“I was completely blown away by the story, Tim Firth has written the most incredible script which is hysterical at parts but then literally had me shaking crying. And then I looked around the were young people, older people all stood up at the end on their feet singing. […] I’ve never known a show like this and I’ve never seen a reaction to a show like this. It’s not about Take That, it’s a story about friendship, about love, about loss, and then the music of Take That is intertwined.”
“It literally just made me go ‘Wow!’, I wanna be a part of this. When you do a show that you love, it’s not like going to work, and that’s kind of really attracted me to the part.”
What would you say is the main feeling the spectator should leave the show with?
“I think looking around it was that nostalgia. […] I just connected with everything. […] It’s that feeling when you look back on your life and you feel warm, that’s how you feel.” Warm, we like that. A show after which one is left with warm, fuzzy feelings inside inspired to reach out to that friend they have been meaning to “catch up with” for ages.
So, Greatest Days: The Musical is almost here, and you can book your tickets on their website.