He’s an in-demand performer in both the West End and on Broadway but now John Owen-Jones is preparing for what he describes as ‘the ultimate holiday job’.

For he is to take part in a special Last Night of the Proms event at Lytham Hall over the August Bank Holiday alongside singing superstar Katherine Jenkins.

“I was fortunate enough to do it last year and the weather was glorious, the atmosphere was joyful and it was such a brilliant show,” he said. “I’m so glad to be coming back this year.”

The Bolton News: John Owen-Jones as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables (Picture: Catherine Ashmore)

John is one of the most popular musical performers. He comes to Lytham having recently completed a West End run as Phil Hollinghurst, the blue-eyed, silver fox baking judge in Great British Bake Off - The Musical. But it is for two of the most popular musicals of all time that he is best known.

He remains the youngest actor in West End history to have played Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (a role he also played twice on Broadway) and has played the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera almost 2,000 times in his career.

As a result when he performs one-off events like Lytham, audiences have a certain expectation of him.

“I always have to sing Bring Him Home from Les Mis and Music of the Night from Phantom,” he said.

But does he ever get tired of having to perform them?

“I don’t resent them,” he said. “Of the two I much prefer Bring Him Home because it sits so nicely with my voice and it’s always a joy to sing. I always get lost I that song every time I sing it, even now.

“Music of the Night can be a hard song some times but I am so grateful to both of those songs, they have helped me to carve out a career.

“They may only be one aspect of what I do but there are a very important aspect. Whenever I do solo concerts I’ll always stick them in because I can’t not. It would be a bit like Queen not doing Bohemian Rhapsody.”

John is quick to appreciate how special a live performance is - both for the audience and the performer.

“The beauty is that you are at an event which will never happen again,” he said. “This summer I’m doing La Cage Aux Folles in Regent’s Park in London. It’s eight shows a week and each one is unique, that’s what is great about live theatre.

“That’s even more so the case with a huge outdoor gig like Lytham Hall. Even if you put the same people on stage with the same musicians, the outcome would be different. There could be better weather or worse weather; the audience reaction will differ, it will feel different as a performer.

“That’s why I advise people to always book and go; never have second thoughts. If you fancy something book it immediately. That’s definitely the case for a show like this where you are guaranteed beautiful music in beautiful surroundings; it will be a beautiful day.”

Although John acknowledges he has to perform certain songs, is he ever tempted to adapt them in any way?

“No, I don’t like to mess with them,” he said. “I try and get them as close to the original show as I can. I don’t like a version with pan pipes. I don’t do any of that nonsense. I give the audience what they want. They may be people who have heard my albums but have never seen me live and they want to hear me sing those songs.

“I remember once I did a show and Elaine Paige was in audience and I did mess around with Phantom that night. Afterwards she said ‘you can’t do that, it’s disrespectful to the audience’. The more I thought about it the more I realised she was right.”

The way a singer becomes associated with a particular song or show does make for unique circumstances.

“If you are a stand up comedian, you can’t do the same joke twice but if you are a singer and do songs from the show you have to do the same joke twice. The audience wants the same joke and the same punchline - who am I to disagree?”

Performing open air concerts can present its own challenges, particularly due to the vagaries of the British weather.

“The conditions can vary so much,” said John. “If the wind’s blowing in a certain direction it can sweep the sound away or it could be perfect. If it’s humid that’s really nice for your voice but presents more challenges for the sound.

“But I’ve learned that you should not really change how you do things. I have learned over the years to basically perform in such a way that it’s almost foolproof. It sounds ridiculous but with Bring Him Home, I know exactly how to perform that song no matter where I am to get it across.

“Plus we have these great sound systems now, certainly at somewhere like Lytham. It’s a massive show and I think anyone who hasn’t been before will be surprised at the scale of it.”

The Bolton News: Katherine Jenkins

One feature of this is the full orchestra which will accompany John.

“Working with an orchestra is a unique experience,” he said. “You don’t get the opportunity as much these days - in the West End you might have 10 musicians with a lot of keyboards. Here I think we’ll have 40 musicians on stage.

“It really gives you a lift as a performer. You hear things you have never heard before. With an orchestra there are so many layers; it’s not like singing to a click track which is exactly the same every time; it’s organic and it’s got this nice warm, live sound. You can’t get that anywhere else.”

For Lytham John will be taking a short break from his role as Edward Dindon in La Cage Aux Folles.

“This show is life affirming and joyful,” he said, “and it’s great for me because I only come on for the last 25 minutes.

“I’m talked about all the way through but I just come on near the end, do a couple of big numbers and that’s it - it’s a great job.

“It’s certainly the absolute opposite to Les Mis.”

Lytham Proms, Lytham Hall, Sunday, August 27. Details from www.lythamfestival.com. La Cage Aux Folles is in Regent’s Park, London until September 16