- Title: Best of London's West End unite to declare 'The Show Must Go On'
- Date: 3rd June 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 2, 2021) (REUTERS) PEOPLE QUEUING TO GET INTO THE PALACE THEATRE, PEOPLE HAVING TEMPERATURES CHECKED AT FRONT OF QUEUE PEOPLE HAVING THEIR TEMPERATURES CHECKED PEOPLE WAITING TO ENTER THEATRE WOMAN SCANNING NHS QR CODE TO CHECK INTO VENUE VARIOUS OF SIGN FOR "THE SHOW MUST GO ON" (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTRESS AND STAR OF "PRETTY WOMAN THE MUSICAL", AIMIE ATKINSON, SAYING: "Well, this is the first time all, you know, all of these West End shows have been together on one stage, and I think after everything that's happened, we needed that solidarity. And we needed that kind of union and coming together and being like, no, we're here. This is what we do. This is like a massive taster of all the shows that are available in the West End, and you know, come back and see us. So I think it's, it's a really important and special evening." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR AND STAR OF "LES MISERABLES", JOHN OWEN JONES, SAYING: "Do you know, it is a privilege to be here at any point, but it feels even more special to be back on a West End stage right now, because we've been denied this, you know, what is basically an artist's oxygen - live performance. You know, it's not the same, as I said, is like doing filmed live streaming gigs, even though this will be streamed around the world. There's nothing that beats the live interaction between a cast member and an audience member." AUDIENCE SITTING IN AUDITORIUM MAN WALKING DOWN AISLE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR AND STAR OF "LES MISERABLES", JOHN OWEN JONES, TALKING ABOUT HOW MUCH LOCKDOWN HAS CHANGED THEATRE, SAYING: "Do you know what I don't think it has really changed. I mean, it just seems to be a pause, being backstage, you know, with friends and people I've worked with before, the only difference is we're not wearing masks, you know, and we're all tested. And it's all pretty safe. And that's the only difference. I mean, the vibrance and the life and the vitality is still there. You know, it's very exciting to be back. And it hasn't really changed. And the only way it has changed for the audience at the moment is social distancing. But eventually, that will go back to normal. But yeah, as I said, it's more of a pause than a complete stoppage. And we will be back stronger than ever, I think." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR AND STAR OF "& JULIET", JORDAN LUKE GAGE, SAYING: "On a larger scale, it's, it just really shows how loved our industry is, and how really it is, it is the heartbeat of so many people's lives. And it kind of takes losing something for you to realise how important it is. So just the support that we've had from people buying the tickets, and donating really means so much and will help so many so many actors and so many theatre producers and theatre makers. So yeah, it's such an important such an important night." AUDIENCE SITTING IN FRONT OF STAGE AHEAD OF SHOW STARTING SIGN ON STAGE READING (English): "THE SHOW MUST GO ON" (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR AND STAR OF "& JULIET", JORDAN LUKE GAGE, ASKED HOW HE FEELS ABOUT A POTENTIAL DELAY TO BIG SHOWS REOPENING, SAYING: "We've been told that as long as the data is, is okay, then things should be allowed to open on the roadmap. So I'm remaining positive, but I mean, you never know. We've just, I feel like we will be able to battle whatever happens, whether things aren't completely open, and we have to continue socially distancing for a while, that might, that might be the option. But all we have is hope. So I'm holding on to that." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTRESS AND STAR OF THE "MARY POPPINS" MUSICAL, ZIZI STRALLEN, ASKED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THEATRES NOT RETURNING TO NORMAL, SAYING: "The impact will be huge, mainly on people's mental health, mental health, and just and financially, you know, I lost my livelihood, I literally lost my job. And so it's not just losing the theatre, it's like, I've lost everything that I've ever trained to do. So it's, I can't, I can't make money. So you know, people need to come back to their joy and their living. And, yeah, I think it's very important for people's mental health, I really do, even the, especially the audiences." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTRESS AND STAR OF "TINA - THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL", AISHA JAWANDO, SAYING: "I'm hoping I'm optimistic and hoping for the best and maybe that maybe we'll get some more funding somehow for the theatres themselves so they can stay open and running. And then you also need funding for the people who were involved from crew to lighting to the cast, backstage, wigs, wardrobe. They need to also pay mortgages and buy groceries and stuff. So I just hope there's more that we can get and we can receive because we do work hard. It's just unfortunate that we can't all find something else to do. To some people, they found other niches and for others, they're just waiting for theatres to come back. So hopefully there's just some more help in that sector."
- Embargoed: 17th June 2021 00:35
- Keywords: London The Show Must Go On Theatre West End musicals
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Europe,Theatre
- Reuters ID: LVA001EFPMIJD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Stars of West End productions revelled in the return of theatre but feared for a potential third wave on Wednesday (June 2) as they performed in a musical showcase ahead of more UK reopenings on June 21.
"The Show Must Go On", a showcase of 18 London musicals opened its sold out run of shows to an audience of over 650 people marking the return to the stage for many of its actors.
On stage at the Palace Theatre from June 2-6, all profits from the show will go to performing arts charities Acting For Others and The Fleabag Support Fund.
The star of the West End production of "Pretty Woman", Aimie Atkinson, said the performers joining forces in one production was a show of solidarity and reminded everyone of the theatre's importance after a challenging year.
"We needed that kind of union and coming together and being like, no, we're here. This is what we do. This is like a massive taster of all the shows that are available in the West End, and you know, come back and see us," she said.
Actor Jordan Luke Gage, who plays Romeo in "& Juliet" and is gearing up to star in â€œHeathersâ€, said the existence of "The Show Must Go On" highlighted how loved the theatre industry was.
"It is the heartbeat of so many people's lives. And it kind of takes losing something for you to realise how important it is," he said.
He added he was remaining positive about potential delays to the June 21 goal. "I feel like we will be able to battle whatever happens," he said.
The BBC reported on Monday (May 31) the UK was in the early stages of a third wave of coronavirus infections and a government advising scientist said ending restrictions in England should be postponed.
Zizi Strallen, who is currently playing the titular role in "Mary Poppins", felt a further delay to theatre openings would be detrimental to peoples mental health.
"The impact will be huge, mainly on people's mental health... and financially, you know, I lost my livelihood, I literally lost my job. And so it's not just losing the theatre, it's like, I've lost everything that I've ever trained to do... So you know, people need to come back to their joy and their living," she said.
"Les Miserables" actor John Owen Jones was more optimistic about the potential bump in the roadmap, saying theatre would return "stronger than ever".
The show features 50 performers, including a choir made up of Musical Theatre 2020 graduates and a full orchestra. It will be livestreamed for those who cannot access the West End on Sunday (June 6).
Capacity at the theatre is reduced to 50 per cent, audience members have to wear face masks at all times and were temperature checked before entering the venue.
(Production: Ben Makori, Mindy Burrows)
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