YOU can’t beat some glorious Gershwin and the composer has no greater fan than Tom Chambers who is fulfilling a teenage dream by starring in the musical Crazy For You, which arrives in Southampton next week.

By the time the curtain came down on a production of Crazy For You in the early 90s, a 15-year-old Tom Chambers knew his heart lay in performing. “It was the very first live musical I ever saw on stage and it just filled me with so much entertainment and wonder. It was amazing to see what they did with the theatre space and how the story was told. It was the only bit of theatre which truly inspired me,” he recalled.

He is relishing the chance to recapture that teenage dream and this time play the lead role in the production which is touring the UK and calling at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday.

Tom admits he has always had a bit of a performing instinct, but it was a school play that saw him tread the boards for the first time. He laughed: “I was playing football during a school break and the English teacher, who was directing the play, said no one had auditioned for it so there was a compulsory audition. I ended up getting the title role in Dracula Spectacular. I loved that relationship recognition between the audience and I. It was fantastic making them respond.”

Drama school followed which included a stint understudying Keith Chegwin in the pantomime Cinderella at Basingstoke and his first job after leaving was a Spanish TV ad for Kit Kat. But when he turned down a role in the arena tour of Bob The Builder, his agent fired him leaving him in a quandary about what to do next. He enjoyed some success with the movie Fakers which was privately financed and enjoyed a limited cinema release but the work was drying up.

So, he took one final shot at success by aiming to get onto the Royal Variety Performance in the days before Britain’s Got Talent and YouTube. He said: “I wrote a Dear John letter suggesting I do a Fred Astaire routine on a drum kit and I thought that might appeal with me tap dancing and kicking drums at the same time. They said get it ready and I spent 9 and a half months doing just that. A few weeks beforehand, they then got in touch and said we now have everyone we need. We don’t want you. which was a blow.

“So I got in touch with my old school and asked if I could perform it on their stage in the holidays and I got it filmed in black and white. I had 1000 DVDs made of it sending 400 to America and sent 600 out in this country to theatre owners, directors and TV producers asking if they were doing anything connected to Fred Astaire and, if so, could I have a chat?”

Only two people came back. One was a theatre producer organising a one-night Fred and Ginger tribute, while Tom said the other was an audition for BBC medical drama Holby City. “The producers just thought it was so unusual. They were looking for someone to play an American doctor for two episodes. As Fred Astaire was American, they thought I was too and wanted to get me in. I went to the audition and they said ‘where have you been all these years?”

From there he won the part of Sam Strachan in the hit sister show to Casualty staying in the role for three years as the fiercely driven doctor who also had a bit of a roving eye.

And it was his role on there that led him into Strictly Come Dancing where he partnered Camilla Dallerup winning the coveted glitterball.

From there, after a run in White Christmas opposite Aled Jones, he won the part of Jerry Travers in West End and touring hit Top Hat.

And now it is Crazy For You. He said: “Taking on Crazy For You was a no brainer for me. It is absolutely my favourite all time musical.

“I think Crazy For You has the absolutely perfect balance of humour, story and singing. There are so many musicals that are heavy on just one element but this show has the perfect combination of everything. It is a bit like the show dance on Strictly with everything slotting into place in the right order.”

And as a big fan of the music of Gershwin, Tom is in heaven, getting to perform such hits as I’ve Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me and Embraceable You . “ When I was at drama school, they used to say ‘will you stop singing Gershwin?’ I love Cole Porter as well but Gershwin has that sex appeal and more style, more jazz and a bit more pizazz.”

Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or