SHE has toured the world with one of the most successful British girl bands ever, sang for Nelson Mandela, cooked alongside Janet Street Porter and skated on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, but Heidi Range’s current project is a nostalgic trip back to the Happy Days of the 1950s.
The Sugababes singer is starring in the brand new musical, based on the hugely popular 1970s and 1980s TV series about the Cunningham family’s idealised life in Wisconsin. Despite only opening in January, Happy Days: A New Musical is already proving a hit with its American diner sets, classic fifties costumes and original rock and roll numbers.
“It is going really well,” Heidi told the Gazette. “The audience seem to be enjoying it and we are certainly enjoying ourselves.
“I love the songs in the show. The boys do a lot of barbershop songs and I love that style and I get to sing a few different styles of songs. I do a rocky one, a big ballad and my duet with Fonzy is very Disney so I get to dip my toe in lots of styles.”
She said her Happy Days co-stars made working on the six-month tour of the UK, including a stop in Bristol from March 3 to 8, a joy.
“Ben Freeman is a great Fonz. It is such a hard job to pull off such an iconic character but he does it brilliantly. We got to work with Henry Winkler (who played the original Fonzie) so he helped Ben develop his own Fonz.
“Cheryl is the mother of the cast. I love her, she likes everyone and I like hanging out with her. She brings her daughters down and I always have my sister along. It’s really nice.”
For Heidi, who was the longest-serving member of the ever-changing Sugbabes line-up until they announced an indefinite hiatus in 2011, travelling up and down the UK with the show is easy.
“With the Sugababes we could be in four different countries in a day,” she said. “So to be in four cities in a week is nice. I have the time to look around and I get to bring my pug with me.”
Of the fun, foot-tapping show, in which she plays Fonzie’s love interest Pinky, Heidi said: “It is very true to the TV Series. I was too young to see the original but it’s always on repeats.
“We have amazing dancers and it is a real feel good show, nothing too intense and you come out with a smile on your face.”
She said after the tour ends in June she would be taking a break before waiting for the ‘right thing’ to come along.
“I definitely want to do more musical theatre,” added the 30-year-old singer who has also presented on Daybreak, Text Santa and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here...Now!. “And I still enjoy doing TV stuff. I will just see what comes.
“I haven’t ruled out a return to pop singing but it won’t be at the moment, maybe in the future.”
Happy Days: A New Musical is on at the Bristol Hippodrome from March 3 until March 8.