Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Posted 2nd May 2024

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, or rather everybody is talking about the rising talent who is currently starring as the teenager in the award-winning smash hit show.

And when Ivano Turko steps to the stage at Milton Keynes Theatre next month (June 10-15) he’ll be playing to his home crowd, having grown up here in the new city.

It was while singing in church in these parts as a youngster that Ivano first set his sights on performing.

So, that’s how it started, and it’s been going gloriously well since; having graduated drama school in 2020 he was personally chosen by Lord Lloyd Webber to be the male lead, Prince Sebastian, in Webber’s hotly-anticipated new musical, Cinderella, in the West End.

From there, he transformed into reggae icon Bob Marley for the bio-musical Get Up, Stand Up! – with just two weeks to get everything ship-shape and fit for the stage.

“The first Bob had a year to prepare … so for me to try and get all that work done in two weeks was … a challenge,” he laughs. Playing Jamie is particularly fulfilling, says Ivano: “It’s the closest character to my actual character that I’ve played.”

That’s in part because, playing the gay teenage hero and aspiring drag queen, Ivano is getting to embrace his queerness in a way that he hasn’t on stage before.

“I really wanted to be able to experience playing within those realms, and to not have to put on several layers to try and be somebody else.”
One of the other aspects of the role that really resonates with Ivano is Jamie’s close relationship with his mother.

“For the most part I grew up in a single parent household with my mother as well, so we really had that kind of connection,” he says, “I know what it felt like to have a dream that was different from everyone else’s.”

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie was an undisputed season highlight when it debuted here in 2022. If you’ve seen it before, you’ll not be surprised. It’s a belter! To date it has enjoyed a record-breaking three year West End residency, and being a modern, fresh delivery it has opened the theatre doors to a new audience, too.

Jamie New is 16-years-old and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. He doesn’t quite fit in and is terrified about the future.
But Jamie is going to be a sensation, and he gets there with the support of his mum and friends.

Catchy pop tunes soundtrack the coming-of-age musical, penned by Dan Gillespie Sells, lead singer-songwriter with The Feeling, and writer Tom MacRae.

Ivano is joined by an equally stellar cast on this feel good journey.

X-Factor winner Sam Bailey also returns to our stage, as Miss Hedge, and Strictly Come Dancing ace turned theatre hot-property, Kevin Clifton is signed up as Hugo/Loco Chanelle

“It’s inspiring, uplifting and infectious and I can’t wait to jump into Hugo/Loco Chanelle’s heels across the country,” Kevin said, “I’m proud to be part of a show that carries such an important message and celebrates everyone for who they are.”

Right now, Jamie is occupying Ivano’s working life, and he doesn’t have too much time to look beyond this dream role. Safe to say the phone will ring with opportunities for this stage star when he leaves Jamie behind. But just now, he’s having a ball and proving that life need never be a drag if you have true belief and genuine support.

“This role is my chance to put all my techniques that I’ve learned over the years and over these other shows into overdrive, as this character is so much closer to me,” he says again, “I feel like there’s a lot more power with it that I’ve been afforded.”

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie returns to Milton Keynes Theatre from Monday, June 10 – Saturday, June 15.

To book tickets visit atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes