West End Raises Tsunami Funds, Actor Still MissingDate: 5 January 2005
Fame actor Ross Baker (pictured) is one of the estimated 150 Britons still missing and presumed dead following the Asian tsunami, which has claimed more than 150,000 lives. Baker’s musical is amongst the many West End shows now actively raising relief funds for victims of the disaster.
While on break from the UK touring production of Fame, Baker was holidaying at the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi when the Boxing Day tsunami struck. Earlier this week, Baker’s cousin and brother flew out to Thailand in search of the actor but they have returned unsuccessful.
Fame resumes its tour next week in Nottingham when Baker’s role of Jewish violinist Schlomo Metzenbaum will be played by his understudy Angus Macmillan. In a statement, show producers said: ““Everyone in the Fame company is hugely shaken by the news that Ross is still missing, but principally this is a tragedy for Ross’s family and friends, and for all those families and friends who have lost loved ones. Our thoughts are with Ross’s family and we will support them in any way we can.”
The touring company members will collectively decide how to pay tribute to Baker when they reconvene on Monday. In the meantime, the separate production of Fame at London’s Aldwych Theatre is one of the many West End shows actively raising money for wider emergency relief efforts. Other leading musicals which have launched charity appeals over the past week include The Producers, Mamma Mia!, Saturday Night Fever, The Woman in White, Chicago and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the last of which has reported an average of £4,000 raised from audiences at each performance.
Queen musical We Will Rock You has dedicated its 1,000th performance to the cause. At the special showing, on Wednesday 12 January 2005 at the Dominion Theatre, Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor will join band members on stage. All proceeds will be donated to UNICEF’s tsunami appeal fund.
- by Terri Paddock
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: If you are involved with or aware of other tsunami relief appeals taking place in the theatre world, please do email us details. We are currently collecting further information and will be updating this news alert later this week.