"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
Michael Ashley Ball, born in the Midlands on 27th 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.
He was badly injured in a parachute accident when he was 18, and lost both his ability of having kids and his confidience.
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 rep. 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 McGowan, with a daughter (Emma) from a previous marriage with the actor Hywel Bennet, and he and McGowan joined as a couple and have been ever since.
Invited by Trevor Nunn to join the RSC1, Ball made his West End debut as Marius in the smash hit musical Les Miserables. 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 1 billion.
Ball's television credits include appearances in Coronation Street3, Late Expectations, and guest appearances in such shows as Guiness 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 Show4 a six week music series, was broadcast on the ITV network, marking another great achievement in Ball's career.
1992 and 1993 were very special years for Michael Ball. In May 1992 he came in 2. when he represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest5, released his first solo album which went straight to No. 1 in the album charts, and completed a nationwide sell-out tour.
"I'd rather stick needles in my eyes!"
- Michael Ball about plans of doing 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 8-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 Miserables Tenth Anniversary Concert6 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 his long-time love's (Cathy McGowan) daugher gave birth to a boy named Connor.
Through his whole career, he has done a lot of charity work for ROC7 after his long-time love, Cathy McGowan's sister-in-law Angela died of the horrible disease. He recorded the single 'The Rose' for this research.
- Michael Ball (Debut Album)
- One Careful Owner
- The Best of Michael Ball
- First Love
- The Musicals
- The Movies
- Live at the RAH8
- This Time It's Personal
- Rage of the Heart - Concept Album
- Les Miserables - Original Cast Album
- Les Miserables - 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 MB
- The Musicals... and More!
- Live at the RAH
- This Time... It's Personal
- England, My England
- Les Miserables Tenth Anniversary Concert
- Andrew L. Webber 50th Anniversary Concert
- The Very Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Hey! Mr Producer
- Riverdance - A Journey