James of musical brings Broadway to Flanders. Niels Destadsbader, Philippe Geubels and Gert Verhulst and Margriet Hermans, among others, will get their own musical. Tonight James Cooke will receive Natalia as the first guest. From the sofa, the singer watches musical actors and dancers tell her (musical) story, in which five songs highlight five important moments in her life.

And that starts with Nathalie Druyts, a little girl who lives in a very large house. A house where Johann Sebastian Bach resounds through the rooms and where father’s will is law. In the second scene she becomes a growing teenager who pushes the boundaries at an unusually strict boarding school and makes friends for life. Later, in the following companies, she reveals herself through Idol 2003 to Natalia the singer who discovers her voice and a woman who finds love. And the viewers also see how she has to say goodbye to her greatest hero, her father, way too young.

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Natalia. ©  Play 4


James Cooke called Natalia and the other BVs eight months ago to ask if he could make a musical about them, he says. “We then did four months of research: the editors talked to family, friends, former playmates,… and put together a file. I thought I knew everything about Gert Verhulst. Not true! For example, we found his very first love, a woman he hadn’t seen for thirty years.”

It was always fingers crossedCooke says, whether the information from the file was correct. He gives the example of Natalia’s Nissan Sunny. “On the evening of the broadcast of her audition in Idol 2003 she was taking swimming lessons, that’s how we found out. As she was about to leave for home, she noticed in the pool parking lot that she had received dozens of text messages congratulating her. We knew she drove her mother’s Nissan Sunny at the time. Well, we went to the Netherlands looking for such a Nissan Sunny. It had to be right. Suppose she then says: I was sitting on the couch with my whole family…

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It will be an evening full of surprises, Cooke promises. In the episode of Natalia, for example, her partner Frederik and their 18-month-old daughter Bobbi-Loua suddenly appear. And a little later: the American singer Anastacia, her best friend and godmother of Bobbi-Loua. “Due to the corona crisis, the two best friends had not seen each other in real life for a long time. Anastacia had also only seen Bobbi-Loua via Facetime.”

And so there will be more surprises in the coming weeks. “At the Pfaffs there is a guest appearance by Sergio: he was there when Kelly and Sam gave their first kiss in a hotel room. Christoff sings for Willy Sommers and Cindy, because he paired them up. And Gert Verhulst is surprised by Free Souffriau (until recently Mega Mindy from the Studio 100 series of the same name, ed.).”

James the musical, Play 4, 8.35 pm

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