Elton, Sting & Pop Stars Head Old Vic Gala, 5 FebDate: 28 January 2003
Royalty of pop and rock are joining theatrical dignitaries at a high-profile gala held next week - Wednesday 5 February at 7.00pm - to raise funds for the West End's historical Old Vic.
At the charity concert, Elton John (pictured), who is chairman of the Old Vic Theatre Trust, will be joined on stage by a string of some of the biggest names in music. Amongst those currently confirmed to participate are: Sting, Elvis Costello, Lulu, Sinead O'Connor, Texas' lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, jazz vocalist Diana Krall and garage artist Daniel Bedingford. Still unconfirmed but expected to attend are U2's Bono, Kylie Minogue and others.
Multi award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, on the board of the Trust, will also display his vocal talent. Spacey's last stage appearance was in the Almeida revival of The Iceman Cometh, which played at the Old Vic in 1998 before transferring to Broadway. Ever since, Spacey has been a staunch supporter of the theatre.
Last year, Spacey and fellow board member Judi Dench used the UK premiere of their film The Shipping News as a gala that raised nearly £40,000 for the venue, and Spacey has vowed that the next time he does a theatrical production, it will be at the Old Vic (See The Goss, 11 Mar 2002). He has previously employed his little-known singing skills at fundraisers in aid of the victims of September 11th.
For next week's concert, the stars will perform some of Elton John's best-known songs. Over the years, the singer-songwriter's many hits have included "Rocket Man", "Bennie and the Jets", "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Daniel", "Candle in the Wind" and "Honky Cat".
Over 180 years old, the Old Vic is one of the West End's oldest theatres but, despite its heritage, it has had a rough time in recent years. In 1997, then-proprietors Ed and David Mirvish put the theatre up for sale after 16 years' of ownership during which they lost up to an estimated £30 million.
The Old Vic Theatre Trust was set up to acquire the venue. It is now trying to raise money to secure the theatre's future and to make urgent structural repairs on the Grade II-listed building, including mending the decayed roof, damp-coursing, replacing worn seats and updating fading interiors as well as improving disabled facilities.
Ticket prices for next Wednesday's charity gala are: £250 for the show only, £500 with pre-theatre champagne reception and £1,000 for full VIP treatment, including access to the star-studded after-show party. For further information, call the event organisers on 020 7620 0558.
- by Terri Paddock