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Dreamboats and Petticoats, Grand Opera House, York, June 25 to June 30
FORGET all that cynicism about X Factor contestants being chewed up and spat out the moment they’re voted off.
In 2008, 19-year-old Scott Bruton became the third contestant to leave the live show when his rendition of I Can’t Make You Love Me in a sing-off with Daniel Evans really couldn’t make the judges love him.
The former Pontin’s Bluecoat burst into tears. It could have been the end of his dreams. But it wasn’t.
Now Scott is a veteran of the West End stage, where he has been playing the lead role of spotty lovestruck teenager Bobby in the rock ‘n’roll, juke box musical Dreamboats and Petticoats.
Next week he turns up in York playing the same role in a touring production of the show at the Grand Opera House. And he’s loving every moment of it.
It’s not just the great Fifties and Sixties songs, he says – though there are plenty of those, from the likes of Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury and many more. He just loves being on stage.
It’s a feel-good show with a rousing finale, he says. “And at the end, you get everybody up on their feet dancing and with smiles on their faces. You almost feel like you want to jump off the stage and go to dance with them.”
So how did he get from being X Factor wannabe to successful musicals star?
He had a couple of low months after being voted off, he admits. But contrary to what many believe, the X Factor does look after its contestants.
The show’s producers placed him with a management company. “And I got a call from my agent at about 9pm in the evening, the day before auditions for Dreamboats.” He was in Manchester, and the auditions were in London, but he didn’t hesitate. “There was no time to prepare, and it was all a bit crazy. But it was really, really cool to get the role.”
It wasn’t as if he hadn’t put in the hard work. Before appearing on X Factor, he had worked as a Pontin’s Bluecoat and also sang on the club circuit in Manchester, “doing gigs here and there”.
Now he’s a veteran of almost three years playing Bobby, on tour and on the West End, and still loving it.
Dreamboats is a kind of British Grease, he says. Bobby is the spotty 16-year-old geek with dreams of making it as a musician, and a hopeless crush on ‘Runaround Sue’, the tart with a heart, who is “free on a Saturday night but half a crown the rest of the week”.
Norman is the strutting older cool dude who always gets the girl, while Bobby fails hopelessly – failing to notice too that his best friend Ray’s sister Laura holds a candle for him.
The time is the rock’n’roll late Fifties (or is it early Sixties?), the place probably Essex, a world of “carousels and dodgems… coloured lights, hair quiffs and flared polka dot dresses”, as one reviewer put it.
There are those great songs, stunning dance routines and a finale that Scott says is guaranteed to get you up on your feet and dancing.
• Dreamboats and Petticoats, Grand Opera House, York, Monday June 25 to Saturday June 30, nightly 7.30pm with a Wednesday and Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets on 0844 8713024 or atgtickets.com