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On Sunday 12 January, stars from Curve musicals past, present and future came together for one night only to celebrate the award-winning theatre’s 5th Birthday at its Gala Concert.
The special fundraising evening marked the final event in Curve’s 5th Birthday season, with all proceeds going directly towards the theatre’s participation and learning programme, Experience Curve, which includes Curve’s annual Community Production.
Introduced by Curve’s Artistic Director Paul Kerryson, the evening saw Leicestershire’s talented local community and Curve Young Company casts from Oliver, Sweeney Todd and The Dreaming, sharing the stage with West End stars.
Janie Dee was reunited on stage with the children from Curve’s smash-hit production of The King and I, Hot Stuff’s Ngo Ngofa returned to perform Simply The Best from Leicester’s favourite musical and Lucy Schaufer performed Dividing Day from the Curve’s 2008 production of The Light in the Piazza, before giving audiences a taster from the upcoming Christmas 2014 production of The Sound of Music singing Climb Ev’ry Mountain. Curve’s Chicago cast also razzled dazzled, treating audiences to numbers from the musical greats from Curve shows past and future; Gypsy, West Side Story, Hairspray, Rent and Annie.
Frances Ruffelle who reprised her role as the legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf at the Gala Concert said: “I am so excited to be returning to Curve for the Gala Concert after one of the best creative experiences if my life, playing Piaf. Curve is certainly on a roll and I would love to come back and work with Paul Kerryson again – so please invite me!”
First timers to Curve included Louise Dearman and Lauren Samuels who performed the title song from brand new musicalWater Babies, which will have its World Premiere at Curve on 24 April. Ex Eastenders actor David Witts also made his Leicester debut before joining the cast of Hairspray as Link Larkin opening 28 February and The McOnie Company introduced audiences to its first excerpts from the new theatre dance piece Drunk, which premieres at Curve on 28 January.
After the concert, Paul Kerryson commented:
“We’d like to thank everyone for helping make our 5th Birthday Gala Concert such a tremendous success. It was fantastic to see our community casts performing side by side with such acclaimed West End performers. As a charity, we would not be able to provide the life-changing opportunities such as our Community Productions and Curve Young Company, without the much-valued support from our audiences.”