The Night of 1000 Voices, the musicals spectacular held annually at the Royal Albert Hall, marks its own tenth year in 2010 by celebrating another milestone: the 80th birthday of legendary American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

The 2010 gala performance will take place on Bank Holiday Sunday 2 May and will raise funds for Leukaemia Research, the charity which is itself marking its own 50th anniversary next year.

Amongst the stars so far confirmed to take part are Kerry Ellis, Philip Quast and Broadway’s Adam Pascal, who will be accompanied by the City of London Philharmonic and the massed choirs of Sing Live UK and USA under the musical supervision of David Firman.

Hugh Wooldridge, creator and director of The Night of 1000 Voices, said: "This evening is a must for all who love musicals. You will hear the best performers in the world performing some of the greatest songs in the world’s finest venue. Come and join in the fun and help raise funds for a splendid charity whilst raising the roof of the Royal Albert Hall."

Further cast and programme information will be announced closer to the time. Previous years’ celebrations have been themed around the likes of director Trevor Nunn, lyricist Tim Rice and musicals through the millennium, and have featured a roll-call of famous performers, from Cliff Richard to Michael Ball.

The Night of 1000 Voices will be just one of the many events and productions taking place to commemorate the birthday of Stephen Sondheim, who turns 80 on 22 March 2010. Today’s news follows the announcement last week that the Donmar Warehouse will next year revive Sondheim’s 1994 musical Passion as part of the composer’s birthday celebrations (See News, 30 Oct 2009).


In other concert news, West End stars Leanne Jones, Daniel Boys, Hannah Waddingham, Julie Atherton, Samuel Barnett, Ashleigh Gray, Paul Spicer, Oliver Tompsett and Rachael Wooding will headline the fourth annual Christmas in New York, which is at the Prince of Wales Theatre for one night only on 6 December 2009.

The concert, which is billed as "an unforgettably magical yuletide journey infused with creative invention and reinterpretation", is an annual celebration of seasonal songs and carols, and this year will feature over 70 people on stage.

Christmas in New York started in 2006 at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, and for the previous two years has been staged at the Lyric. It's produced by Neil Eckersley and Paul Spicer for Speckulation Entertainment.