Stephen began acting in small school productions at a young age and studied acting at the Gaiety Theatre before he joined Boyzone. But it was only in 2003 that he really made his West End debut, a dream he'd always had, when he reprised the role of Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. On this page you'll find more about his work in theatre.
Musical theatre was always something I wanted to do and I did have opportunities before. Joseph came along, and it just felt right.
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
December 2002 - January 2003
February - September 2003
London West End
The Oxford Apollo
Liverpool Empire Theatre
The New London Theatre
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice based on the story of Joseph's coat of many colours from the Bible's Book of Genesis. It was first produced in the West End in 1973 and a few years later on Broadway in 1982. In 1999, a film adaptation with the same name was released starring Donny Osmond.
Stephen starred as Joseph in the second West End revival of the show.
THE CHARACTER OF JOSEPH
Eleventh son of Jacob. Obviously his father's favourite, Joseph early on shows a talent for interpreting dreams and telling the future. This gets him into trouble with his brothers when he predicts his future will include ruling over the other eleven. However, it saves his life when in Egypt he correctly interprets Pharaoh's dreams. In the end he has risen to a great position of power, but he still forgives his brothers and brings his family to Egypt to partake of the bounty he has accumulated there. (WIKIPEDIA)
Gately's own engaging personality, which steadily emerges in twinkling smiles and droll asides as the colourful spectacle continues, is another powerful weapon in winning the audience's wholehearted support.
The Oxford Mail
Former Boyzone babe Stephen Gately grinned so gorgeously throughout his amazing performance of Joseph.
And with good cause because the show was absolutely brilliant. Bursting with vibrant energy, the feel-fantastic music just kept flowing
Swindon Evening Standard
But [Stephen] brings another dimension to the show. He sings so well and is so amused and mischievously at ease with his own persona – a kind of sexy Boy (Next-Door) George – that he makes all of the audience, of whatever persuasion, fall for him.
Stephen Gately gives an excellent performance as Joseph, he looks and sounds like a musical theatre star. His strong lyrical voice is perfect for the songs and he still has the young cheeky boyish grin that makes his Joseph look dashing without appearing the slightest bit vain.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
September 2004 - March 2005
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a musical based on the film of the same name from 1968 about two children becoming fond of an old racing car (Chitty). When they hear that that car is to be sold to a man, they implore their inventor father to buy it, but as he can't afford it, their father tries to come up with creative ways to raise the money so as to not let his children down.
The musical premiered in the west End in 2002 at the London Palladium and later in 2005 on Broadway. When the show closed in 2005, it was the longest running show at the London Palladium and the flying car used in the show still holds the Guinness World Record as the most expensive stage prop!
London West End
THE CHARACTER OF THE CHILDCATCHER
The childcatcher was not an original character from Ian Fleming's book from 1964 but came from the mind of Roald Dahl who wrote the 1968 film's screenplay. The character was added to the story and remained in the stage musical adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In the story, the childcatcher is Baroness Bomburst's most loyal servant, employed to hunt down any children wandering the streets of Vulgaria and imprison them because the Baroness loathes them and has banished them from the land. He carries a large net to do his bidding and occasionally lures children out with lollipops.
Though few of the characters are drawn with any complexity, another sometime pop star Stephen Gateley brings a darkly sinister edge to the role of the Childcatcher.
As the scary and hideous-looking Child Catcher, Stephen is hardly recognizable, though. He wears a skull-cap to look bald and appears with prosthetic ears and nose, as well as heavy makeup.
But on the night we watched the show, the minute the Child Catcher sauntered onstage, his mere presence instantly drew loud applause from the audience. They knew it was Gately-and he didn't disappoint a bit. Gately stepped into the Child Catcher's shoes in September 2004 and has not stopped earning raves for his performance.
December 2005 - January 2006
We all know the classic story of Cinderella whose fairy godmother turns into a princess for a special ball, until midnight that is, and who loses her glass shoe as she runs from the castle before the hour strikes. But did you know there are between 340 and 1,500 other versions of the story in the world?
Written by Tim Fountain, this pantomime version of Cinderella broke box office records at the Churchill Theatre and became its biggest selling pantomime that year. An extra week was added to meet public demand!
Stephen starred as Dandini and wrote a song especially for the production called "A Brighter Day".
THE CHARACTER OF DANDINI
THE CHARACTER OF DANDINI
Dandini is a character who only features in the pantomime and opera version of Cinderella in which he is the prince's servant. Dandini helps Prince Charming to meet Cinderella, the girl the prince fell for, without her knowledge by swapping places with him and dressing as the prince while the later pretends to be his servant.
There's a lot to learn but it's going really well. I think it's going to be a very, very funny show (but) I'm always nervous. Singing in front of thousands of people is easy because you're just yourself; with this you're in character and you've got so much to learn. I just want to get the first week out of the way and then it's easy - it's natural.
I love panto and it just seemed the right time. There was a stigma attached but you've got so many people doing it now. I wasn't doing much over Christmas so I thought 'yeah, I'll give it a bash'. For kids it's just amazing. It's just so cool to see panto at Christmas.
The first [pantomime] I went to see was, ironically, Cinderella. I went with my school because we didn't have an awful lot of money and my parents couldn't afford to take me. We had to save up each week to go on the school trip.
STEPHEN ON CINDERELLA AND PANTOMIME
THE WIZARD OF OZ
The Wizard of Oz is a musical based on the 1939 movie of the same name starring Judy Garland as Dorothy and which is said to be the most watched movie in the history of cinema. The story is about Dorothy and her dog Toto being magically swept away into the land of Oz after a tornado hit their town. While Dorothy tries to find a way back home, she explores the land and encounters new friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Together they follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City with the Wicked Witch of the West on their trail where they hope to meet the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.
Stephen starred in this local production as the Scarecrow and the farmhand Hunk.
THE CHARACTER OF THE SCARECROW
The Scarecrow is a magical being from the land of Oz made by Munchkins who is said to have been brought to life to scare the crows more effectively. He is only two days old when Dorothy meets him. The Scarecrow has a gentle, sweet and kind personality and is always willing to help others. He is very clumsy and uncoordinated though as he is made from straw. In the story, Dorothy encourages the Scarecrow to join her on her journey to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard for a brain, something the Scarecrow thinks he lacks.
Godspell is a musical written by Stephen Schwartz based on the Gospel of Saint Matthew. Featuring biblical characters, the story was adapted to bring in some aspects of the contemporary world and thus reconcile the Bible with our modern world. The musical was originally a project done by american drama students from Philadelphia before opening off-Broadway in 1971. Stephen Schwartz, an old alumnus of the same university as the students, worked on new music/lyrics for the show before it opened off-Broadway. The show has had many productions and tours all around the world over the years and Stephen joined the UK tour for 3 weeks in September 2007.
Stephen played Jesus in this new production of the musical.
Photo by Catherine Ashmore
THE CHARACTER OF JESUS
As the main figure of Christianity, Jesus Christ doesn't need an introduction. In the show, the character of Jesus is at the front and is a leader for almost the entire musical, teaching religious philosophy through modernised storytelling forms and contemporary culture references to the rest of the characters. And while some characters in the show accept Jesus as a teacher and leader, some others aren't as easy to convince. As the show is centered around the last days of Jesus, The Last Supper and the Crucifixion are two major events acted out in the show.
Photo by Catherine Ashmore
Playing Jesus on stage is definitely a big challenge. I mean I’ve played Joseph before but this had a lot more acting in it and was more challenging. And it’s more rocky, the music is rocky and I really like it, there are fantastic songs in there, very well known, and it’s also written by Stephen Schwartz who I absolutely love what he does.
It's got loads of great songs which people will recognise, Day by Day which was a huge hit and Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord and it's quite rocky so it's different for me, which is why I wanted to get involved in it. It's going to be a great challenge.
I really wanted to do this because all my mates said “You have to do it!”, it’s one of the greatest musicals, people love it, it’s well received, so that’s one reason why I wanted to do it. Another reason was that, you know, it’s a new adventure, it’s a new challenge for me playing Jesus. It’s gonna be fun.
STEPHEN ON GODSPELL
Even though it’s based on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Jesus is kind of teaching the ways of, you know, God to.. You could call them disciples but not really. And they kind of improvise and act stories out, which is quite nice. It’s not as big a role as Joseph, Joseph was a bigger role because the whole show focuses on Joseph while this focuses on all the characters, which I think is really nice and important.
THE PLAY WHAT I WROTE
The Play What I Wrote is a comedy play written by Hamish McColl, Sean Foley and Eddie Braben to celebrates the British comedy double acts Morecambe and Wise. The play opened in Liverpool in Summer 2001, premiere in the West End in November 2001and Broadway in March 2003. The plot centers around a play within a play: "Hamish thinks he is performing one of his 72 un-produced historical plays on a West End stage, but his former comedy partner Sean has advertised the night as a tribute to Morecambe and Wise." (BBC.com) Sean will then help Hamish put together the play. In the second half of The Play What I Wrote, a celebrity makes a surprise guest appearance and stars as one of the actors the duo manage to find for their own play. Stephen was one of the guest who appeared in the show in Peterborough.