The curtains are up once again at Chelmsford City Theatres and after months of uncertainty, the Civic and the Cramphorn are busy showcasing the arts in all their glory.

‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’, the smash hit Tina Turner tribute show, comes to the Civic on Wednesday 15 September at 7.30pm.

Lead vocalist Elesha Paul Moses tells us about her love for performing, the excitement she feels about getting back to live theatre and reveals how the pandemic put her life, and the industry on hold for a while.

Read on to find out more, and if you’d like to hear this incredible vocalist (best known for her appearances on The X Factor and The Voice), buy a ticket on the Chelmsford City Theatres website.

Above: Elesha Paul Moses as Tina Turner

What’s it like paying homage to a rock and soul legend like Tina Turner?

It is incredible. There had been so much love for the show from audiences and on social media – it was amazing. We love being on the road, meeting all the fantastic fans and that makes preparing for and launching the 2021 tour even more exciting. People’s reactions will be even bigger after all this time without live music and live performances for so long.

How do you feel about getting back to performing?

Seeing an audience again, singing and dancing along with us, is going to be massive. That is such a huge part of why entertainers do what we do. I’m up there singing these incredible songs that people love, and hopefully for those couple of hours I’m doing a good enough job that they believe we’re the real thing. The feeling of a crowd singing along to Simply The Best or Proud Mary, it’s just great.

I was so, so pleased when the announcement came for restrictions being lifted, which means we can get back out on the road – and I can’t wait. But I was also reflective, it has been a long time, far longer than we could have ever imagined, all our lives have been on hold. We had plans as a family for last year, and they’ve got to wait now. For now, though, I’m grateful to be getting back out there and seeing our amazing audiences again.

The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry and performers so hard. How has it been for you?

It was very strange, as we’d been so busy with the tours. I’ll be honest, I welcomed the break at first as we thought it would be for a few weeks, but as time went on, and the adrenaline passed, I started to feel quite low with not knowing what was going to happen.

When it reached the autumn, I had to look for work, and like so many entertainers I got a job as a supermarket delivery driver. I’ve also done some acting, trained in stage fighting, and been writing music. I had to stay busy and active, that’s been the key to it.

You perform as both Tina Turner and Whitney Houston – they’re very different artists. What’s it like recreating these iconic female performers live on stage?

You need a huge amount of stamina to do Tina as well as Whitney – vocally, physically and mentally. Tina is the physical challenge, while Whitney is the vocal challenge, and they are such different sounding performers, of course. But each role makes me stronger in different ways which then pays off on both shows.

Now you’re back on the road with What’s Love Got To Do With It? What’s different for 2021?

We’ve got an all-new cast of singers and dancers, new choreography, new costumes, more storytelling, and more interaction. It’s all come together so well in rehearsals, it’s going to be awesome! Joey is our first guy in the show, and having him on board is great, as it adds some new dynamics in the performances. It’s funny, as I’d talked about having a guy in the cast, but we weren’t sure. Then they did the auditions and there he was.

For me personally, there’s even more choreography now, which has been fun to learn alongside the new cast. I’ve warned them though, they’re in for a shock with the shows – it’s hardcore! I’m doing two hours a day in the gym because I need to be able to do that to keep up the energy and have the stamina to sing and dance for two hours.

Vocally, I’ve not been doing too much during lockdown – although I do always sing in the car. My voice was ready for the break, I’d been working almost non-stop singing Tina and Whitney for about five years. Coming back to rehearsals, it’s all still there and is getting stronger with every session, so I’m raring to go and I’m fitter and stronger than I was before.

To find out more about ‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’, visit the Chelmsford City Theatres website.

By Charlotte Maltby

Charlotte writes stories about recycling and waste, parks, economic development, local democracy and planning.

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