The American writing partnership of composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb will be celebrated at this year’s Night of 1000 Voices event, where Tony Award winners Joel Grey and Anthony Crivello will perform alongside Ruthie Henshall, members of the cast of Avenue Q and other West End stars.

The Night of 1000 Voices - hosted this year by Myleene Klass, formerly of Hear’Say and a finalist on this year’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! - will be held, in aid of the National Autistic Society, for one night only on Sunday 6 May 2007 at the Royal Albert Hall, where the annual event has been taking place since 1999.

Since their first collaboration in 1965 with Flora, the Red Menace, Kander and Ebb continued to work together until Ebb’s death in 2004 (See News, 13 Sep 2004). Their shows included Zorba, The Happy Time, 70 Girls 70, The Rink, The Act, Steel Pier, Curtains, Kiss of the Spider Woman and, most notably, Chicago (1975) and Cabaret (1966), the last two of which were both made into Oscar-winning films and which are currently revived in the West End.

Joel Grey created the role of the Emcee on stage in the original 1966 Broadway production of Cabaret (for which he won a Tony) and, opposite Liza Minnelli, in the 1972 film version (for which he won an Oscar). In the 1996 Broadway revival of Chicago, he played Amos Hart. More recently, he created the role of the Wizard in Wicked on Broadway.

Anthony Crivello won a Tony for his performance as political prisoner Valentin in the 1995 musical Kiss of the Spider Woman, which Kander and Ebb along with book writer Terrence McNally based on Manuel Puig’s play and novel of the same name. His other US stage credits include The News, Les Miserables, Marie Christine, Do I Hear a Waltz? and, currently in Las Vegas, the title role in The Phantom of the Opera.

Ruthie Henshall was Olivier-nominated for her role as Roxie Hart in the first cast of the current London production of Chicago, now in its tenth year in the West End. She reprised her performance on Broadway and later returned to the West End production to play the show’s other star murderess, Velma Kelly. Other soloists so far confirmed to take part in this year’s The Night of 1000 Voices include Teri Bibb, Kenneth Nichols and David Michael Johnson. They will be accompanied by the Sing Live choir, amassed from around the British Isles, and the City of London Philharmonic orchestra.

Previous years’ celebrations have been themed around director Trevor Nunn, lyricist Tim Rice, composer Stephen Sondheim and musicals through the millennium. Tickets for this year’s event range from £17.50 to £60, with a limited number of gala packages priced at £150.

- by Terri Paddock