Michael Ball - Singer and Actor Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Michael Ball - Singer and Actor

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First rank star of the West End and Broadway musical stages, chart-topping popstar. United Kingdom's hopes could not be in safer lungs than those of Michael Ball
- Terry Wogan on Michael Ball's Eurovision Song Contest entry

The Early Years

Michael Ashley Ball, born in the Midlands on 27 June, 1962, grew up near Stratford-on-Avon, England. His father originates from the West Country and his mother from Wales, and although Ball has never lived in Wales, he is very proud of his Welsh ancestry.

His talent for acting and music developed in the Surrey Youth Theatre where he appeared in the productions of The Boyfriend and Under Milk Wood. Ball trained at the Guildford School of Acting and graduated in 1984. His first professional appearance was as Judas/John the Baptist in Godspell in Wales. Then followed a spell in repertory theatre and his first major break - the part of Frederic in the hit production of The Pirates of Penzance at the Opera House, Manchester.

Then he met Cathy McGowan1, and they have been together ever since.

West End Debut

Invited by Trevor Nunn to join the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Ball made his West End debut as Marius in the smash hit musical Les Misérables. The album featuring the original cast and Ball's solo 'Empty Chairs, Empty Tables' earned a platinum disc for worldwide sales. Another West End hit followed when he was cast as Raoul in Andrew Lloyd Webber's celebrated Phantom of the Opera after the original cast2 had gone to Broadway. This in turn lead to the starring role of Alex in Aspects of Love in the West End and Broadway, and a silver disc for his recording of 'Love Changes Everything'.

In 1989 he was awarded 'Most Promising Artist' by the Variety Club of Great Britain.

Ball also sang the song 'No More Steps to Climb' before a 50,000-strong Twickenham crowd at the opening of the Rugby World Cup in 1991 which had an estimated world TV audience of one billion.


Ball's television credits include appearances in Coronation Street3, Late Expectations, and guest appearances in such shows as The Guinness Hall of Fame, Save the Children - Christmas Spectacular, Royal Variety Command Performance, and fulfilling the lifelong personal ambition, Top of the Pops.

In July 1993 the Michael Ball Show, a six-week music series, was broadcast on the ITV network, marking another great achievement in Ball's career. The show featured guests such as Cher, Cliff Richard, Dionne Warwick, Elaine Page, Emmylou Harris, Julio Iglesias, Shirley Bassey, James Brown, Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, and so on...


1992 and 1993 were very special years for Michael Ball. In May 1992 he represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest singing 'One Step out of Time', and came second. He also released his first solo album which went straight to number one in the album charts, and completed a nationwide sell-out tour.

I'd rather stick needles in my eyes!
- Michael Ball on plans to do the Eurovision Song Contest again

He also took part in an open air concert attended by 20,000 people and performed in front of the royal family in the Queen's 40th Anniversary Gala and the Royal Variety Performance.

1993 saw him undertake his second sell-out tour in the spring, release his second album entitled Always, and as mentioned above, make his own six-week television series for Carlton TV. To round off the year he undertook an eight-date sell-out Christmas tour.

In 1994, Ball continued with his successful career, signing a new record deal with Sony, releasing his third solo album; One Careful Owner, and making a second TV series for Carlton TV. He once again undertook a sell-out tour during December.

In 1995 he made a move in yet another direction, appearing in his first film, about the life of the composer Henry Purcell, called England, My England. As well as finding time to make this film, Ball also appeared again as Marius in the Les Misérables Tenth Anniversary Concert in the Royal Albert Hall.

He's young, he has a fine voice - an ingredient we haven't seen lately in pop music. People usually don't talk about great singers these days, they talk about great records. I think Michael could change all that.
- Don Black

In 1996, he also returned to the West End stage to star in the Stephen Sondheim musical, Passion, undertaking the leading role of Giorgio.

In 1999, he was voted the Royal Variety Club's Best Recording Artist and had yet another great tour in Britain. This was also the year Cathy McGowan's (his partner) daughter gave birth to a boy named Connor.

Throughout his whole career, he has done a lot of charity work for ROC (Research into Ovarian Cancer) after Cathy McGowan's sister-in-law Angela died of that disease. He recorded the single 'The Rose' for this research.



  • Michael Ball (Debut Album)
  • Always
  • One Careful Owner
  • The Best of Michael Ball
  • First Love
  • The Musicals
  • The Movies
  • Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Christmas
  • This Time It's Personal


  • Rage of the Heart - Concept Album
  • Les Misérables - Original Cast Album
  • Les Misérables - International Cast Album
  • Aspects of Love - Original Album
  • West Side Story
  • Passion - Original London Cast


  • Land of My Fathers
  • Whistle Down the Wind - Highlights
  • Save the Children - Christmas Album
  • The Very Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Coronation Street 35th Anniversary Album
  • Maria Zamora - Les Comedies des Musicals
  • Mountain Ash Rugby Club Singers - The Collection


  • 'Love Changes Everything'
  • 'The First Man You Remember'
  • 'It's Still You'
  • 'One Step Out of Time'
  • 'Michael Ball EP'
  • 'Sunset Boulevard'
  • 'From Here to Eternity'
  • 'The Lovers We Were'
  • 'Wherever You Are'
  • 'The Rose'
  • 'Something inside so Strong'



  • The Best of Michael Ball
  • The Musicals... and More!
  • Live at the Royal Albert Hall
  • This Time... It's Personal


  • England, My England
  • Les Misérables Tenth Anniversary Concert
  • Andrew L Webber 50th Anniversary Concert
  • The Very Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Hey! Mr Producer
  • Riverdance - A Journey
1Cathy McGowan had a daughter (Emma) from a previous marriage to the actor Hywel Bennet.2The original cast included Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton.3In the role of Malcolm Nuttal.

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