Michael Ball rose to prominence in 1989 with the song Love Changes Everything from Aspects Of Love; he is now performing the song again on the West End as the show receives a revival in London.
Michael Ball describes it as “pretty much a dream come true” to return to the West End with the musical that made him a household name and gave him a chart-topping song that he is still heckled about on the street.
“I get ‘Michael! Does love radically alter everything? Oh yes, yeah, yeah!” the actor chuckles.
In 1989, Love Changes Everything, the earworm by Andrew Lloyd Webber, stayed on the playlists for fifteen weeks, introducing the world to Michael Ball, a musical theatre icon.
Now, over three decades later, he will perform it again in a London revival of Aspects Of Love.
“This show changed my life on every level,” asserts Ball, “so to be performing it again 34 years later is a dream come true.”
The production is now somewhat more difficult to stage.
For the story of desire, which skirts the boundaries of propriety, to be resurrected without appearing predatory, it required alterations.
“In the original production, my daughter, Jenny, was 15 years old,” explains Ball.
“She’s sexually awakening, and everyone felt that was problematic in this day and age, so by lowering her age to 18 and making the show about her empowerment, she’s not being coerced or groomed; rather, she’s uncovering her agency as a woman and is in charge of that. That was crucial
“It is strange, isn’t it? This was never a feature in 1989, but it is now extremely prevalent. Furthermore, we must be sensitive to these issues and alter the narrative. It’s essential.”
Also rarely discussed at the time was mental health. In the late 1980s, as his career began to take off, he also began experiencing anxiety, melancholy, and panic attacks.
“Everything should have been wonderful, but my world disintegrated, and I made the mistake of not discussing it or seeking assistance.
“It’s the worst thing you can feel on stage when everyone is gazing at you and all of a sudden your world collapses.
“It’s a horrible sensation…It makes you vulnerable and acutely aware that you must be healthy. Finding a means to trick your mind and avoid falling into this spiral is crucial.”
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber didn’t worry about the Aspects revival’s early preview.
“He approached me afterward with tears in his eyes, wrapped his arms around me, and simply thanked me, saying, ‘The only other time I felt this was during the first Phantom preview.'”
It was completely unlike him! Ball cackles before adding, “But we want to make him proud because he’s the boss.”
He also desires that the audience “behave themselves” when they arrive to watch.
Manchester’s April Bodyguard performance was halted due to audience members harmonising over the lead during the final song.
“There will be murders,” he predicts, pondering the audience participation in Love Changes Everything. They cannot reach the highest peak!
“I hope it doesn’t occur because nothing is more disruptive….if you behave, you’ll have a better night!”
Patrons of the theatre, you have been warned.
Aspects Of Love plays at the Lyric Theatre in London until November 11th.