“I’M A local lad now, so I’m coming home,” laughs Ray Quinn in his broad Liverpudlian accent.
“I’ll be able to come home every night to my lovely wife,” he tells me.
The former X Factor finalist and Dancing on Ice winner is looking forward to his stint at The Mayflower from next week in more ways than one.
He bought an apartment on Poole Quay a year ago with his now wife, Bournemouth-born West End star Emma Stephens, who is expecting their first baby next month.
“All the family will be coming up to see me. All the in-laws have tickets, so I’ll have to be on my best behaviour that night!
“But most importantly, I’ll be able to look after my wife properly. She’s heavily pregnant now, so it will be good to be around all the time.”
Ray is clearly a family man. I call him back after interrupting a long distance conversation with his mother. He’s backstage trying to juggle both phone calls while keeping an eye on the England
score in Ukraine and awaiting the call to warm up for tonight’s performance of Legally Blonde.
“It’s all go,” he jokes. “I just wanted to speak to my mum as she’s over in Majorca.
She hasn’t had a holiday for about six years, so she’s loving it, especially when I told her about the weather over here!
“It was a case of grabbing a few minutes while I could. I’ve only got six weeks left in Legally Blonde and I’m determined to enjoy every minute.
“I’m loving playing Warner. I like to play him as a likeable baddie! I love playing different characters as it allows people to see you in a different light.
Having first made his name as an awardwinning actor in Channel 4’s Brookside, playing Anthony Murray, Ray was runner-up to Leona Lewis in the third series of X Factor in 2006.
He has since starred in Grease and Dirty Dancing and won Dancing on Ice in 2009.
But we could be seeing a lot more of him on the south coast.
His next role, in the tour of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, will bring him to Lighthouse Poole later in the year, before he goes straight into rehearsal for their Christmas pantomime Aladdin.
“We’re so excited about the baby. The nursery is nearly ready and we just can’t wait.
“I’ll be able to walk over the bridge to work and back home to my family in the evening.
“It’ll be my first Christmas at home in six years, so a bit of a rare treat.”