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The Southsider who won Fame the Musical has told of the joy as well as the pressure of his win.
It was an all-Dublin night at the June 13 final of the RTE show as Ben Morris from Tallaght and Jessica Cervi from East Wall sang their way to victory and clinched the male and female lead roles in the nationwide tour.
The ultimate aim of the 10-week television show, which was held at the Helix Theatre and broadcast live on RTE television, was to find male and female stars for a nationwide tour of the West End production.
In the nail-biting and emotionally charged live show, 23-year-old Ben and 19-year-old Jessica won the nation’s hearts and votes as they beat off competition from runners up Sean Carey from Dunshaughlin in County Meath and Sarah O’Connor from Lucan.
On the night Ben chose to perform ‘Cry Me A River’ as well as ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ from The Lion King with actress and singer Susan McFadden.
Speaking to Southside People Ben said he was completely shocked but also overjoyed at his recent success.
“When I was standing there last Sunday I had prepared in my head for failure,” he admitted. “I basically prepared myself not to win and when they said my name I was really shocked. And then, when Jessica won as well, my shock just turned to joy.
“It was just amazing,” he added. “ I looked out into the crowd and all my friends and family were going absolutely wild. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced and was something I will never forget.”
But Ben revealed that the televised show which was ultimately decided by members of the public who voted online for their favourite acts had been pressurised and quite unlike anything he has experienced before in his professional career.
“The pressure that has been on all of us over the last couple of months has been very difficult and hard to cope with,” he revealed. “But it has been an amazing experience and I feel like I have progressed a lot during it all.
“For example, at about week four I was in the bottom two, which meant I didn't get enough votes. That was when I looked at the other lads and realised that they had huge campaigns going and thought I needed to do that too.”
Ben, who is an experienced performer and actor, first appeared in the 2007/2008 production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Savoy Theatre in London’s West End as an understudy.
He has also performed in a number of other professional shows in London and Dublin including Jack and the Beanstalk at the Cork Opera House, Cinderella at the Gaiety in Dublin and the Irish tour of Oh What a Lovely War.
He said the Fame stage show will be a significant step in his promising career and he intends to give the performance of his life as a mark of gratitude to his Irish fans.
“It is going to be the biggest tour that I have ever been involved in,” he said. “It will certainly be the most exciting show that I have ever been involved in because it is here at home in Ireland. I want to be at my absolute best. I want to completely peak when we open because so many people voted for me and I want to make it worth their while.”
The stage tour of Fame the Musical, featuring Ben and Jessica as Nick and Serena, kicks off at the Grand Canal Theatre on August 20 before a nationwide tour. See www.rte.ie/fame for tickets and information.