Can you believe it’s already time to start looking towards the Epstein’s Easter pantomime? The year goes so quick, but this means that there’ll always be a major family show to look forward to. The Wizard Of Oz will be the story for the next Epstein panto production, and we recently spoke with several members of the cast. Look out for our other interviews later this week, but we begin by hearing from Sean Smith of Same Difference fame, who discussed his X Factor experiences, his future ambitions as a solo artist, and why he’s looking forward to being a part of The Wizard Of Oz!
First of all, tell us about your character in The Wizard Of Oz.
I’ll be playing The Tin Man. The Tin Man is a poor old soul really, because he’s got no heart, he can’t find love. And in our panto, I’ve heard that the Wicked Witch Of The West is gonna have a bit of a thing for him! Which will be difficult as he’s got no heart and he can’t find love! (Laughs) I’m looking forward to that being a hilarious part of the show. For those who don’t know The Wizard Of Oz, the characters are thrown into this alternate universe, and the leading character Dorothy goes on a journey to try and find the Wizard, meeting some friends along the way in the Cowardly Lion, The Tin Man and The Scarecrow. One is missing courage, one is missing a heart, and one is missing a brain. They think that when they visit the Wizard, they’re gonna get what they want, and they’ll live happily ever after. It doesn’t quite work out that way, so the kids will have to come along and see how it ends up.
Are you a fan of the movie yourself?
Yeah, definitely. I grew up with it, and it was like a British folklore movie that would just get played continuously all the time. It’s crazy when you think about it, but it was just such a big film, and it made so many actors into stars. I’ve always loved it growing up, but as I’ve gotten older, I think it’s hilarious! (Laughs)
I understand you had experience of performing in pantos prior to the beginning of your music career?
Yeah. I feel like a bit of a veteran nowadays as I’ve done about 10-12 pantos, at least one a year since I finished X Factor when I was 21. I did a few prior to X Factor as well. So, I’m a bit of a veteran, but I’ve never professionally done The Wizard Of Oz before. I did it as a kid when I played a Munchkin, but I’ve never professionally done it, so I’ve never played the role of The Tin Man before. It’s going to be really different, but hopefully it will challenge me and I will do a really good job, and everybody in Liverpool will appreciate what I will do in the role.
How much did the experience of being on The X Factor, as a part of Same Difference with your sister Sarah, change your life?
It literally changed overnight. It has been so many years now that it’s easy to forget, but when I look back at it all, I’ve got so many things to tell the grandkids one day. We played to 22 million people in the final, we went off to do the X Factor tour to play in front of sold-out arenas including Wembley and The O2, we got signed to Simon Cowell’s record label – all of these things are things that most people could never dream of, and I’ve had the opportunity to do them. I’m so unbelievably happy at how things have changed since doing X Factor, because financially it set us up. I’ll always be so thankful to it because, before that, I was going nowhere, but then the show shot us to fame. It literally changed everything for me.
What are your future ambitions, either in music or on the stage?
I’ve got a few things actually. First and foremost, I’ve just had a new single come out (called Do Or Die), it was my fourth single and it came out this past Thursday. I’m signed to Energise Records as a solo artist. I’m hoping that will continue to build, and that my solo career will continue to build up to the level that Same Difference were, and maybe even further as the world’s your oyster. I’ve also always had a love for theatre, so it would be great to do something within musical theatre on the West End as part of a tour. I was lucky enough last year to be a part of the big Queen musical We Will Rock You. So, things are heading in the right direction, and now I need to keep working hard and hope that things will get bigger and bigger.
Finally, why should the Liverpool audience come to see The Wizard Of Oz?
I think there are three main reasons. One, it’s absolutely hilarious; Michael Chapman is back in it and writing it, so you know the script is gonna be good. Two, the costumes are fantastic. And three, the singing and the music is great. So, there is something for everyone, and the lower-end seats allow you to bring the whole family for around 50 quid, which is value that you can’t get at a cinema, so it’s a no-brainer really.
The Wizard Of Oz runs at the Epstein Theatre from Thursday April 11 to Monday April 22. To book your tickets, click here.