OUT of the Blue and into the Grand Opera House for a third time in his parallel acting career strides pop singer Antony Costa from Tuesday.

He will be playing rock god Stacee Jaxx in Rock Of Ages, the Eighties' musical comedy with “serious rock’n’roll debauchery”, at the York theatre as part of an eight-week run in the cheeky, cocksure lead role from April 8 to June 1.

The Blue singer first appeared at the Grand Opera House as murder suspect Roger Meadows – “a gardener with bit of ‘previous’ for larceny, GBH, beating people up,” said Costa – in Ruth Rendell’s thriller A Judgement In Stone in October 2017.

Soon he returned, by now in beastly/princely mode, to lead Chris Moreno’s pantomime company as the Beast in Beauty And The Beast, most memorably singing Rag’n’Bone Man’s chart-topper, Human.

"Stacee Jaxx is very different from those roles; he 's so out of my comfort zone, but it's a part I've always wanted to do ever since seeing the show in the West End," says the 37-year-old Edgeware performer, who also has played Mickey Johnstone in the London production of Willy Russell’s musical Blood Brothers.

"Stacee is so different to how I am normally that it's fun to explore that kind of character. He’s a cocky rock star, determined to go solo from his band, a womaniser and very full of himself."

Built around 25 Eighties’ classic rock anthems, from We Built This City, The Final Countdown and Here I Go Again, to Can’t Fight This Feeling and I Want To Know What Love Is, Rock Of Ages is a Los Angeles love story that invites you to "lose yourself in a city and a time where the dreams are as big as the hair, and yes, they can come true".

The story revolves around Drew and Sherrie, who come to Hollywood to chase their rock star dream, but then enters Stacee Jaxx to "mix things up a bit". "I love the show, I love the vibe; it's a big two hours of fun with a love story thrown in, and my character is a bit of an idiot, so it's not too much of a stretch!" says Antony. "He thinks women want to be with him and men want to be like him!"

Costa is lapping up the chance to blast out such songs as Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead Or Alive. "That's one of my favourites to sing. I've sung Blue songs for nearly 20 years, so I think I can give it a rest for two months," he says.

"The one big challenge is looking after your voice when doing so many shows, and making sure you are on it 100 per cent every night."

Antony has joined the company part-way through the tour, taking over from Kevin Clifton before the Strictly Come Dancing regular resumes the role in June.

"It's a lot of fun but I'm very nervous inside," said Antony, speaking to The Press before his "first stagger-through" the show in rehearsal in March. "The nerves are kicking in. I'm not to go round the M25 about this: I just feel like I'm the new kid at school, but luckily I've known Kevin Kennedy and Zoe Birkett – who were in the show already – over the years and everyone has made me really welcome."

Antony will be well settled into the role by the time he arrives in York and he has the advantage of being familiar with the York stage from his past roles there as he prepares to don the full-on rock gear, long hair and cowboy boots.

"I really loved the part of the Prince/Beast in Beauty And The Beast; it's a difficult role, but if it's done right, it's great, and to get the chance to sing Human, my favourite song of that year, was fantastic," he says.

"I also learnt so much from working with director Roy Marsden when I did A Judgement In Stone. One of his tips was 'Don't act!'. I learnt to 'just play everything down'. If you start big, you can never come down....but a director can always tell you when to make it bigger."

Ironically, the villainous Stacee Jaxx is not exactly a shrinking flower. "No, but there are certain ways of playing 'over the top'. If you're gesturing with your hands with every line, that's too over the top," says Antony. "Stacee's a cool dude and a lot of it can be done with your eyes!"

If he could choose one musical role, he "would really like to play Deco Cuffe in The Commitments as it’s right down my street vocally," he says. Meanwhile, on the horizon is Blue's 20th anniversary next year. "There's no Blue news at the moment; we're all doing our own thing, but we did do a tour of South East Asia, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Bahrain in January and February," says Antony.

"We talk every day, and though there's nothing in place yet, hopefully there'll be things happening next year for the anniversary."

Rock Of Ages, Grand Opera House, York, April 23 to 27. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york

Charles Hutchinson