Jeff Leyton tops Butterfly and the Wolf bill

Jeff Leyton as Jean Valjean in  Les Miserables. Picture: contributed
Jeff Leyton as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Picture: contributed
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WHEN pop legend Cher tweeted her two million plus followers that Jeff Leyton’s rendition of Bring Him Home was proof that God had “gazed down on him, touched his lips and said, ‘Here my child, this is my gift 2 you’,” no-one was more amazed that the Pilton-born singer, who last sang in the Capital when he starred in Les Miserables.

The Hollywood diva went on to encourage her followers to discover Leyton’s talents, tweeting, “... the song and his voice are magical. Open your hearts my lovely crew and hear it with your spirit.”

“Wasn’t that just amazing,” says Leyton. “It was actually a friend told me about it. He said Cher had tweeted me and I just thought, ‘Yeah, right’.

“Then my daughter called, saying, ‘Dad, dad, Cher’s tweeted you.’

“I never expected that. Cher! Oh my God. I found it and thought, ‘Gee whizz that is just amazing’.”

There’s a rare chance to see Leyton perform on home turf this Sunday, when he heads the bill of The Butterfly and the Wolf 2, a fundraiser for Lupus UK, at Greyfriars Kirk.

The singer is one of a number of local musical theatre stars reuniting for the event, which is close to his heart. So much so, he has flown in from Tenerife, where he now lives, specially for the concert.

His involvement came about after he was asked by former marketing manager of The Playhouse Sarah Heney, herself a Lupus sufferer, to take part.

“Sarah is my best friend,” he says. “There was a point in my life where I stayed with Sarah and her husband Stuart, it was a time when I needed somebody in my life, and I guess I am now returning the love.”

Joining him on stage will be Edinburgh-born actress Morag Siller and Fife’s Susie Dumbreck, both of whom appeared as Madame Thenardier opposite Leyton in Les Mis.

“They were both fantastic,” he says.

On Sunday, the trio will perform with the 12-piece Wolf Pack, and of course, Leyton will be singing Cher’s favourite.

“’I’ll be doing Bring Him Home,” he confirms. “It is one of the things in my life that is constantly asked for, but we will also be doing numbers from Jekyll and Hyde and Phantom of the Opera.”

Bemused by the buzz his homecoming has stirred, Leyton is modest when asked about the recognition Les Mis has now brought him world-wide – that of being the definitive Valjean.

“I’m ecstatic to be home, The publicity has been crazy. I expected the focus on Lupus, but on me? I’m an old timer.

“There are loads of Valjeans out there who are fantastic. I guess when you are on stage you never think the audience are thinking that. But people have said that to me over the years, and I always think, ‘Yeah, right. I’m going to be found out soon.’ But it is an honour. I just hope that I can live up to their expectations.”

• The Butterfly and the Wolf, Greyfriars kirk, Sunday, 7pm, for tickets visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TheButterflyAnd TheWolf2