SUPERSTAR winner Ben Forster today said he can’t wait to play the ECHO arena – because his mum is from Liverpool.
The 31-year-old from Sunderland will play the son of God in an arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar.
Ben, who won the public vote after a rendition of Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever, told the ECHO he was looking forward to performing for a Scouse crowd.
He said: “My mum June was born in Liverpool and my nan and grandad lived there for many years. I’ve got my mum’s aunties and uncles and cousins in Liverpool so I can’t wait to perform there.
“I’ve done lots of gigs in Liverpool and I always have a great night. With northerners there’s never any pretence.
“Everyone’s out to let their hair down. And I think people go out to have a laugh.”
Ben, a stage-school graduate who has already appeared in the West End, pipped Rory Taylor, 24, from Heswall, to claim the role.
Lord Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice’s musical comes to Liverpool on October 16, featuring Melanie C as Mary Magdalene, comic Tim Minchin as Judas Iscariot and Chris Moyles as King Herod.
Ben said: “I can’t wait to work with Mel. We had a conversation at the wrap party and she said she can’t wait to get into rehearsals.
“She said let’s make sure it’s the best it can be and have a laugh. She’s lovely. I feel like we’re going to be friends.
“I respect Mel for the career she’s had and all her hard work. So to share the stage with her will be amazing.”
Ben added: “I’m so excited. I’m not just on cloud nine, I’m on cloud 99. I can’t say it’s really sunk in yet. I know I’m going to be doing it which is amazing. But it feels like a big dream.
“It was a really big challenge and the pressure was on every night. I was so lucky I didn’t have to do a sing-off, but I was sat on the stairs just watching someone’s dream vanish and it was heartbreaking.
“When the camera went off everyone was in tears. We were all in the process together and supported each other.
“I was great friends with Rory. He’s an exceptional person. There were things he said to me that really moved me on and I totally owe him.”
Ben, who shared a house with the Jesus wannabes for seven weeks before the show started, said: “We were there for each other even though we all wanted the same part, I’ve never experienced anything like that. It was brilliant.”