Stars collab for ‘Yolanda’ benefit gala in UK
International aid continues to pour for the survivors of typhoon “Yolanda” with several foreign stars teaming up for a benefit show in London on March 2.
To be held at the Queen’s Theater, the collaboration dubbed “You’ll Never Walk Alone – The West End Unites for the Philippines” will raise funds to “contribute to the ongoing need for emergency shelter, clean water and food as well as helping survivors rebuild their lives,” according to the Philippine Embassy in London, as quoted in a report on GMA News Online.
The program will feature an array of performers: TV personalities, namely BBC’s “Over The Rainbow” champ Danielle Hope, “Strictly Come Dancing’s” Pasha and Katya, “Britain’s Got Talent’s” Francine Lewis (ITV); and theatre players like Cynthia Erivo (“The Color Purple,” “I Can’t Sing!”) and Cassidy Janson (“Lend Me a Tenor,” “Candide”).
Also joining the studded lineup are original London cast members “Avenue Q” musical: Jon Robyns (“Les Miserables,” “Spamalot”), Simon Lipkin (“Rock of Ages,” “I Can’t Sing!”), Julie Atherton (“The Last Five Years,” “Sister Act”), Giles Terera (“The Book of Mormon”), Princeton and Kate Monster.
The gala, in support of the Philippines Typhoon Appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), was said to have “been instigated by the UK-based theater Filipino community, many of whom moved to the United Kingdom in the 1990s to take part in the original production of Miss Saigon, the worldwide smash-hit musical produced by British theater impresario, Cameron Mackintosh.”
The embassy quoted Mackintosh saying that the Philippines had been a “special part of my life ever since Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil and I first went there 25 years ago to cast the original production of Miss Saigon.”
He also described Filipinos, particularly the ones they met as “warm, generous and goodhearted human beings who have become our friends the world over.”
Mackintosh said that he is “only too happy to offer the use of the Queen’s Theater for a fund-raising performance led by stars of the Philippines and the West End to help gather as much money as possible for those in desperate need,” as well as administering international aid.
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said they “are extremely grateful to the cast, crew, producer Paul Spicer and to Cameron Mackintosh and Delfont Mackintosh Theaters for their respective roles in bring together this wonderful event.
“…the gala performance of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ promises to be a real highlight. It is wonderful to have a cast that includes so many Filipino performers as well as stars of the stage and screen.”
For his part, producer Paul Spicer believes that “through entertainment and celebration of the Filipino people’s resilience, we can make a difference.”
Ticket prices range from £32.50 (PhP 2,400), to £75.00 (PhP 5,500.00) for premium seats that include entrance to the exclusive after-party with cast members and special guests.