Milestone birthdays are generally a time for reflection and this was definitely the case for Jason Donovan when he turned 50 in June last year.
The Australian actor and singer found himself taking a different direction than his usual stage, music or TV projects with the launch of his Amazing Midlife Crisis Tour, which comes to Leeds next week.
Billed as an evening of “musings, music and mischief”, this is Jason as you’ve never seen him before – a chance to hear stories about his life and career directly from him in honest and open conversation in small, intimate venues.
“I think you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory and I feel that me and my fans are at a stage where we like to look back,” said Jason.
“My career has been quite diverse so it’s not just me talking about four number one hits, you know, it’s Neighbours, my family acting background; I talk about my inspirations, my anxieties, some of the people I’ve met in this journey, what motivates me, my family....
“I talk about having had success and then having a crash and how I was able to recover. People want to know about Kylie, they want to know about the drugs, so you know I’m not ashamed to go there.
“I’m not really up there with the big name performers but I think sort of makes the story a little bit more interesting in a way so I’m not worried about being honest.
“I’m conscious of my responsibilities, but I’m at a stage in my life where I want to go ‘this is the truth’ and I feel I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”
Health also played a part in Jason’s decision to embark on a ‘speaking’ tour rather than singing – though the show does feature a couple of acoustic songs.
“A couple of years ago I had a little issue with my voice and I really had to re-evaluate what I was doing, so that’s another thing I talk about,” he said.
“I made a little film to open the show and it’s just me in my house and it sort of introduces the piece and I’m quite proud of that. In fact I’m proud of the overall arc of the show. I was a bit
nervous at first – I thought is this going to bore or is it going to inspire people, or maybe give them a laugh. I didn’t expect such an amazing response!”
Jason started the tour in 2018 and even performed several dates at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. With a section where he answers questions from the audience, it means every show is
different. He also managed to work on other projects including War of the Worlds arena tour and 80s nostalgia throwback shows.
He’s now also working on a new theatre tour for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which he has previously starred in, though this time he's a co-producer.
“As I’ve got older I’ve definitely become a little bit more relaxed in my ambition and got a bit more perspective on what makes me happy,” he said.
“I look at the old cliché; it’s what I say at the end of my film you know, love, life, happiness, family...it’s important not to lose sight of that in this consumer-based social media world we livein at the moment. We’re all trying to be the next whatever.
“You know I think passion is extremely important and keep saying to my kids – as long as you are passionate about something, whether that’s in your work or personal life, you will havesuccess; you can’t really fail.”
Jason and his Amazing Midlife Crisis is at Leeds City Varieites on Wednesday, February 6.
For tickets check www.jasondonovan.com