Johnny Ward Walkinstown man in Copper Face Jacks The Musical

By Taylor Gleeson

Copper Face Jacks, Dublin’s most beloved nightclub, is being featured on the main stage of the Olympia this July.

Since it opened in 1995, Copper Face Jacks has drawn in countless customers who are treated to wild nights they will never forget. It’s only fitting the nightclub has a musical dedicated to it.

Johnny Ward as Gino Wilde 1

Johnny Ward stars in Copper Face Jacks the Musical

In Copper Face Jacks: The Musical, Johnny Ward brings his experience to the stage of the Olympia Theatre. Hailing from Walkinstown, Johnny Ward has previously worked on Dancing with the Stars, Love/Hate, Fair City, and much more.

Playing promiscuous Dublin football captain Gino Wilde, Ward’s portrayal of the character has been compared to Conor McGregor with his over-the-top outfits and playboy demeanour. 

Gino Wilde falls in love with Noleen, a woman from Kerry with the dream of working at Voluntary Health Insurance. The two lock eyes at Copper Face Jacks, and the rest is quite the story.

Critics agree that the musical is full of craic and audience members will be laughing along with the cast.

Getting his breakthrough moment in Boyzonly, a Boyzone tribute group, Ward is no stranger to singing and dancing. With prior television, movie and theatre experience, Johnny’s talent covers the whole board.

Johnny Ward and Cast 1

Johnny Ward with members of the cast

Johnny took some time to speak with The Echo about his latest show, and how it will be difficult for audience members not to laugh.

Do you think your time on Dancing with the Stars helped you prepare for the musical?

Absolutely not. I’m not a dancer and working with Emily was very different. I was out of my comfort zone. We were doing the same thing every day and acting isn’t like that. It obviously will help in some ways but it’s a completely separate thing.

What do you want the audience to get from this musical?

Whatever they want. It’s very very funny. Copper Face Jacks is a musical about a man with about 42 different kids and a girl who is pursuing a dream to work in the VHI claims department. If you don’t laugh, there is something wrong with you. It’s great acting, great writing, great choreography. There is something for everyone. 

Have you worked in theatre before?

Yes, I have had a lot of experience in theatre. I’ve done it in Cork, Dublin, Melbourne and in London for two months.

I was in Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables.

What is your favorite part of the musical?

The writing. We’re blessed to work with Paul – I am a fan of his previous work.

It will be very difficult trying not to laugh, it’s very funny. And we have made friends for life here.  

How long have you been preparing for the musical?

Last year we did four weeks. This year we had a week and half for rehearsals. The first day it was very difficult – you’re just hoping you can remember everything. The second day it got a bit easier and by the third day you’re getting there. Now we’re doing a producer’s run and hopefully it goes well.

If Copper Face Jacks: The Musical returned would you do it again?

Absolutely. I would love to do it again. It’s not easy making people laugh and I hope I have given the part some justice. I am having a great time doing this.

Copper Face Jacks: The Musical comes to the Olympia Theatre on Thursday, July 11 and runs until Saturday, August 12, with a preview on Wednesday, July 10.

There are no shows on Sundays.

Tickets cost €26 plus a booking fee and are available online at or at the Olympia Theatre Box Office.

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