With Cuba Gooding Jr. departing the Phoenix Theatre Stage last Saturday, all eyes are on his replacement, Chicago The Musical’s new silver-tongued and silver-haired Billy Flynn. While Martin Kemp may not be quite as internationally renowned as his Academy award-winning predecessor, the star has some very impressive credentials of his own.
He was in one of the U.K.’s most successful bands
The 80’s were a golden age of pop music, and Kemp was right in the forefront of the U.K. music scene in one of the biggest boy bands on offer at the time. Before there was One Direction, Boyzone or even Take That, there was 80s phenomenon Spandau Ballet and their feel-good, now legendary tunes. We guarantee that you’ve heard at least one, even if you didn’t know it was them!
After music came acting
Kemp famously shared the big screen with his older brother (who was also in Spandau Ballet) when the pair portrayed notorious London gangsters The Krays in the 1990 film of the same name. Martin also famously spent four years in one of the U.K.’s most popular soaps, starring as Walford’s biggest and baddest, Steve Owen, in Eastenders.
Fame runs in the family
While the Kemps may have shared the stage for over a decade and starred in a film together, it certainly wouldn’t be fair to say that Martin eclipsed his brother. Gary Kemp starred alongside industry heavyweights Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in the iconic film The Bodyguard and has been in films as recently as 2015. Martin’s son is also establishing a name for himself around the U.K. as a DJ on London’s popular Capital FM.
He was a judge on a TV talent show
You know you’ve made it big when somebody asks you to judge new up and coming talent for TV (except you, Louis Walsh… you don’t count). Martin starred alongside fellow boyband legend Gary Barlow, as well as former Dreamgirl Amber Riley and Australia’s Dannii Minogue on BBC’s Let It Shine.
This isn’t his first time on the stage
While it may be his first time in a West End musical, Kemp is no stranger to performing on a theatre stage. He has previously played the role of the Childcatcher in a U.K. tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and performed in the London leg of Million Dollar Quartet as Sam Phillips, the man who discovered the King – Elvis Presley.
We can’t wait to see how Kemp fairs as Chicago’s new smooth-talking lawyer,
Mr. B-I-DOUBLY-L-Y Flynn. We wish him good luck in all the shows to come!