SINGER Peter Corry does not believe in standing still. Aged 53, and leaning into decades of experience in the music business — a high note is playing the role of Inspector Javert in the record-breaking musical Les Misérables — he now also produces and directs his own shows.
“It’s all systems go,” says the Belfast-born baritone.
For his latest production, The Showman is Coming, he is working closely with his wife Fleur Mellor. “We both produced it — she choreographed it and I directed it. It’s very much a team effort.”
The couple married last June in Italy, and he’s still pinching himself — “I find myself very lucky”.
He has three adult children from a previous marriage: Joshua, 26, Israel, 22 and Molly Rose, 20.
Do any of them intend to follow his career path? “Not even slightly in my footsteps.”
The Showman is Coming, takes place at The National Concert Hall on Thursday, May 23. Tickets on sale now.
What shape are you in?
I’m in pretty decent shape. I don’t do a huge amount of exercise but I keep myself quite busy. I do a bit of walking and I like to swim when I can — in the pool. I don’t think I’ve been in the sea since I watched Jaws as a kid.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
I’ve given up all dairy products. I’ve cut down on my sugar. And I used to drink a lot of strong coffee but I’ve cut down to one coffee in the morning and during the rest of the day I’m drinking either decaf tea or peppermint tea. My cholesterol was getting a little on the high side — it was on the wrong side of six.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Red wine — I love Rioja. And Milka chocolate. When I was eating lots of it, I would keep it in the freezer and have it with a cup of tea. I’ve tried to cut that down a bit.
What would keep you awake at night?
Sometimes if I’m busy with projects, I wake up in the middle of the night. When this happens I go downstairs into the office, do an hour or so of work, and get it out of my system. I also have a note pad and pen beside the bed, so if I wake up, instead of trying to keep it in my head, I write it down.
How do you relax?
I binge watch certain TV series from time to time. My wife and I are currently watching the new Star Trek on Netflix, which is surprisingly good. And on my own, I’ve just started the recent season of Game of Thrones. I love Jerry Seinfeld, so I also back-watch old series of it.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I’d love to meet Tom Hanks. I think he’s a real down-to- earth character. Mozart, apparently he was a real party animal, but also to have died in his 30s and to have written such beautiful music is stunning. Phil Silvers from the 1950’s TV series Bilko — he played a sergeant in the American army. His timing was just impeccable. Frank Sinatra. And Richard Bright Corry my great grandfather who spent years working in South Africa. I only found out about him recently.
What’s your favourite smell?
In 1997 I was touring with Les Misérables in England. When we were in Manchester, I walked into one of the shops and said I’m looking for a new aftershave. The female sales assistant turned to me and in a Manchurian accent said: ‘I’ve the very thing for you, it’s called Kiton. We call it kit on, kit off.’ It’s been my aftershave ever since. I’m not saying that’s what happens.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means but I’m happy with the way I look.
When is the last time you cried?
My daughter and her boyfriend were over for dinner recently. We were talking about when she was a kid and there were tears in my eyes just thinking about it. As a performer, your emotions are instinctively quite close to the surface.
What traits do you least like in others?
Unreliability — people who say they will do something and don’t.
What traits do you least like about yourself?
Timekeeping — I get annoyed with myself when I’m not on time for something. I don’t like rushing. I like to be organised.
Do you pray?
No. But if I was going to follow a religion — it would be based on the commencement speech Everybody is Free to Wear Sunscreen recorded by Australian director Baz Luhrmann. It’s all the things you want in life, you want for other people.
What would cheer up your day?
Red wine and chocolate.