REALITY TV hopeful turned West End musicals star Ray Quinn had never worn a kilt ahead of his recent visit to the Capital to promote Tonight From The West End, at the Usher Hall on Saturday.
The evening, described as a ‘song and dance extravaganza,’ will feature classic show tunes from Broadway and the West End performed by four well-known musical stars led by the 27-year-old Liverpudlian who can’t wait to return to the city, having toured here a couple of years ago in Legally Blonde.
“I love Edinburgh,” he says. “It’s a fantastic city and I can’t wait to get back.”
He also can’t wait to get back into a kilt, admitting his first experience of donning the national dress came as a pleasant surprise.
“That as the first time I’d worn a kilt and I felt like a super-hero,” he smiles. “I didn’t want to take it off.
“I’m always up for a good laugh, which is why I agreed to do it, but actually, when I put it on, well I didn’t realise how good it makes you feel. It’s quite liberating... if a bit chilly.”
Quinn was even taken with the whole ritual of dressing in a kilt.
“All the straps and buckles, it makes putting it on it extra special. I loved all that.”
Not that he was tempted to become ‘true Scotsman’ and to save his blushes on the night, producers have supplied a pair of Saltire boxer shorts.
“I’ll be opening the show at the Usher Hall in a kilt; I’m wearing a black one for the first number,” he reveals, adding, “I’m actually Irish and the guy who looked after me that day and put me in the kilt said he was going to make me one and put Irish tweed in it so that my heritage would be in the kilt.
“I was all over that.”
A former X Factor runner-up and Dancing On Ice winner, Quinn has now established himself as one of the UK’s most popular musical theatre stars through roles such as Danny Zuko in Grease, Warner Huntington III in Legally Blonde, and Billy Kosteki in Dirty Dancing.
That he has made the transition from reality TV star to bona fide actor will come as no surprise to those who recall his telly debut in 2000 as Anthony Murray in the Channel 4 soap Brookside.
On Saturday, however, it’s strictly about the songs.
“I’ll be doing songs from Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Singing In The Rain, Hairspray... there are bits from every musical under the sun in the show, so I’m very excited,” he says, adding that it won’t be a musicals greatest hits concert - he’ll intends to bring each character to life as he delivers their songs.
“I try to put myself into each role as I go from one to the other,” he says.
“As my dream role is that of Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, I try to make the most of that one.”
Joining Quinn for Tonight From The West End are International singer and voice coach Zoe Tyler, who has become a popular TV personality through the likes of Loose Women, Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall, and Broadway star Christina Bianco.
Bianco, whose ability to sing in the style of pretty much anyone has taken the world by storm is currently starring in Forbidden Broadway on London’s West End.
All four will be backed by a 200-strong choir and full orchestra.
Also taking to the stage will be Liberton schoolboy Max Coussins. The 10-year-old, who attends Buckstone Primary, won the opportunity to perform numbers from Lionel Bart’s Oliver! after a city-wide talent search.
Other songs to be heard on the night will include show-stoppers from The Lion King, Fame, Wicked and Mamma Mia.
“I did publicity photos at the Usher Hall a couple of weeks ago,” says Quinn, “I couldn’t believe how pretty it was. As for the acoustics, even when I was singing a cappella, they were just wonderful.”
Tonight From The West End, Usher Hall, Lothian Road, Saturday, 7.30pm, £27.50-41.80, 0131-228 1155