AS one fifth of boy band The Wanted, Tom Parker's life was a whirlwind of hit singles, sell-out arena tours and adoring fans both sides of the Atlantic.

Then the band called it a day, in 2014, and he found himself sitting at home, wondering what was next. "I spent three months with no direction. It was an adjustment period, after spending a decade with the band," he says. "I remember thinking, 'What now?' It was quite scary."

What came next was musical theatre. Tom is currently starring in Grease as Danny Zuko, alongside Danielle Hope, winner of BBC1's Over the Rainbow, and former EastEnders actress Louisa Lytton as Rizzo. "It was daunting at first, I felt out of my depth, coming from a pop background," says Tom. "I had to change my singing style, I've learned a whole new discipline. Vocally, it's way more demanding than being in a band. It was a struggle at first but I've grown into the role.

"It's a great show to start with. I originally went for the role of Teen Angel, but as Danny I get some big singing numbers. What's lovely is that people who've known Grease since they were kids now come with the next generation of fans.

"It's a show that never goes out of style, the songs still sound fresh and it's a story people can still relate to. It's a cool guy trying to impress his mates."

Grease started life on Broadway in 1972, and later became the hit movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The Rydell High musical, featuring the cool guy T Birds and sassy Pink Ladies, has an unforgettable score that includes You’re The One That I Want, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’.

Tom is getting used to his Fifties quiff. "I've always had short hair, I've had to grow it to maintain the quiff and I like it," he says. "I love the whole '50s vibe."

With The Wanted, Tom had two UK No 1 singles and nine Top 10 singles, as well as hits in America, where they sold three million singles. They starred in The Wanted Life on E!, following the band's success in the States.

Does he miss the boys? "Yeah, we grew up together and shared an experience that most people never get. We still see each other; Jay (McGuinness) came to see the show the other night."

So what's next? "I'm getting married next year, I had to put the wedding off because of the tour, and I want to do more recording and DJ-ing," says Tom. "I don't plan too far ahead though. For now, I'm loving Grease. Some audiences are wild - it's like being back in The Wanted!"

* Grease is at the Alhambra October 9-14. Call (01274) 432000.