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Galas: Late Night Laughter, Jersey Boys & Rose

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The cast and puppets of Avenue Q will be joined by comedians Pam Ann, Pete Firman, Jim Jeffries and Sara Pascoe at the West End’s Noel Coward Theatre next Wednesday, 10 September 2008, for Late Night Laughter.

The evening is being held in aid in Myeloma UK, a charity set up to inform and support people affected by myeloma, an increasingly common form of bone marrow cancer with which ten people are diagnosed every day.

The entertainment run from 11.00pm to 1.00am, after the normal evening performance of Avenue Q, whose current cast is led by Any Dream Will Do’s Daniel Boys (See News, 6 Nov 2007). Tickets cost £22.50, including a free interval drink, and can be booked on 0844 482 5144 or online at www.delfontmackintosh.com/latenightlaughter.

Later this month, Jersey Boys will stage a special one-off midnight matinee at the Prince Edward Theatre on Thursday 25 September 2008 in aid of TheatreMAD, which is also the adopted charity for this year’s Whatsonstage.com Awards (See News, 12 Aug 2008).

Recently founded by the group of volunteers who, for the last 18 years, have organised cabaret and other fundraising events for Theatrecares, West End Cares and Crusaid, TheatreMAD is a committed response from the British theatre community and its audiences to raise money and awareness to help people affected by HIV, AIDS and other critical illnesses.

Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, following the four boys – played by Ryan Molloy (as Valli), Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock - on their journey from the wrong side of the tracks in the state of New Jersey to international success as pop music sensation The Four Seasons. The band wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they were 30.

Amongst their many hits included in the show are “Sherry”, “Walk Like a Man”, “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)”, “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, “Working My Way Back to You” and “Who Loves You”. The musical has been written by Rick Elice and Marshall Brickman and uses the original music written by band member Bob Gaudio.

Tickets for the Jersey Boys midnight matinee, which starts at 11.30pm, range from £15 to £35 with £60 premium tickets including champagne and a programme. To book, call 0844 482 5127 or visit www.jerseyboyslondon.com.

Further ahead, the Rose Theatre, Kingston will hold a gala, black-tie evening on Sunday 5 October 2008 at 7.30pm. Entitled Night of East End Stars, the cabaret entertainment is hosted by EastEnders John Altman, who has gathered many of his showbusiness friends to take part in the fundraising effort for the £11 million Rose Theatre, Kingston, which opened in January (See News, 21 Jan 2008).

Amongst those confirmed to appear are: Barbara Windsor, June Brown, Gemma Bissix, Stefan Booth, Kara Tointon, Steven McFadden, Michelle Collins and Patsy Palmer.

First conceived by local councillors and residents in 1986, the Rose Theatre, Kingston – modelled on Elizabethan London’s Rose, which was built in 1587 and premiered many of Shakespeare’s early plays - was in active development for six years prior to its opening, with Sir Peter Hall in place as its founder artistic director and vocal champion for five years. The veteran director has since handed over the reins to former English Touring Theatre Stephen Unwin (See News, 21 Jan 2008).

Fundraising hiccoughs caused numerous delays in the opening of the theatre, which receives no Arts Council or Lottery grants. Additional money is still needed to secure future programming and operational costs and to implement Hall’s long-term vision of the theatre as an active producing house with its own ensemble company.

Tickets for Night of East End Stars are priced £50 and £60, which includes champagne and food, and can be booked on 0871 230 1552 or online at www.rosetheatrekingston.org.

- by Terri Paddock


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