Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dale Is off to Chicago

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dale Is off to Chicago

Article excerpt

Byline: By Sam Wonfor

Dale Meeks is returning to his roots for a two-week dose of razzle-dazzle. Sam Wonfor catches up with the North-East actor.

It was a sad day for Emmerdale fans when Geordie cast member Dale Meeks said his goodbyes in the summer.

And it was a sad day for Dale, 30, as he freely admits.

"I didn't want to go. I loved my time there," he says. "We laughed a lot and I made some life-long friends. It was a shame I had to leave, and I think lots of people felt disappointed."

Dale's character, Simon Meredith, a fishmonger who went on to become a binman, had apparently run his course, prompting a dual exit (bizarrely written by Dale's brother, Phillip) into the Costa Rican sunset for him and his fellow-refuse-disposing friend, Ivan.

"In the end it became the logical thing to do. The cast had to be cut and things were suddenly all about the family units.

"All of my screen family and characters who I was close to had left. Simon and Ivan were on their own. Excitingly though, the door has been left open, so you never know what might happen."

And it's not as if Dale, who used to live in South Shields, is desperate for the work.

No sooner had the news been announced than he was getting calls from the bigwigs at Chicago: The musical, HQ.

"I got the call during my last month on Emmerdale," he says, referring to the conversation, which resulted in him taking the transparent role of hapless husband, Amos in an all-singing, all-dancing touring production of Bob Fosse's murderous (and multi-award-winning) musical.

For the uninitiated, the plot finds "Mr Cellophane" Amos married to murderess (and Chicago chorus girl), Roxie Hart who, in turn, finds herself competing with jail-mate and fellow killer Velma Kelly for the attentions of publicity-seeking lawyer, Billy Flynn. The show brings a slice of razzle-dazzle to Sunderland Empire Theatre from next Tuesday.

Known on the musicals circuit for his founding role of Ginger in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Beautiful Game, former Byker Grove member Dale had also been around the block once or twice when it came to Chicago. …

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