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Grammy Award winner Mary J. Blige and BAFTA Award winner Dame Edna Everage are to take to the stage at this year’s Royal Variety Performance 2013, being held at the home of British Variety, the London Palladium.
Also taking part in what promises to be an unforgettable evening of music, theatre, comedy and dance will be: Gary Barlow, who will be delivering an exclusive performance, BRIT and MOBO Award winning singer Jessie J, making her Royal Variety debut, hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, singer and presenter Olly Murs, comedian Jimmy Carr, jazz singer Caro Emerald, legendary duo Chas & Dave, marking their 50th anniversary, Welsh opera singer Bryn Terfel, CBE and Olympic champions Torvill & Dean, who will soon be celebrating the 30th anniversary of their record breaking Olympic Gold medal performance of Ravel’s Bolero.
Comedy comes from the madcap Irish stand-up, Jason Byrne, the affable comedian and actor, Hal Cruttenden and, fresh from a successful run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the award winning, Seann Walsh.
There will also be performances from Britain’s Got Talent winners, Attraction, the cast of the hit West End musical Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, world-first exclusive performances from Harry Hill’s I Can’t Sing! - The X Factor Musical and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward. Gareth Malone will be appearing with his new choir Voices, there will be an exclusive performance from current Strictly Come Dancing champion Flavia Cacace & the cast of Dance ‘Til Dawn, and rising UK star, John Newman, whose summer hit single Love Me Again topped the charts 20 countries.
Chas & Dave: 'Chas & Dave on the Royal Variety Performance? About time too, we say!'
Gareth Malone: 'All My Life I have dreamed of performing on The Royal Variety. It's great to be performing with Voices and is a huge honour for us all. I can't wait.'
Jimmy Carr: 'It's a great honour and privilege to have me at the Royal Variety. I can't believe their luck.’
Jessie J: 'I have watched the Royal Variety Show since I was a little girl and always dreamt of being on it. It will be a real special moment for me. I can't wait.'
Olly Murs: 'I'm thrilled to be performing at this year's Royal Variety Performance. It's been one of my dreams since I started my career in music to perform for the Royal family, and I can't wait – hopefully I'll get a cheeky kiss from the Royals!'
The star studded spectacular, hosted by award winning comedian and actor John Bishop, takes place on Monday 25th November and will be screened on ITV in December. It is being produced by ITV Studios.
The event is staged in aid of the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, whose patron is Her Majesty The Queen. The money raised from the show helps those people from the world of entertainment in need of care and assistance.
The 2013 Royal Variety Performance is commissioned by ITV’s Controller of Entertainment John Kaye Cooper and executive produced by ITV Studios’ Fiona Clark and Glenn Coomber.
Attraction are a nine strong Hungarian group who won Britain's Got Talent with their mesmerising Shadow Act. Attraction were the first foreign performers to win Britain's largest talent competition. Their first performance instantly grabbed the attention of the public and was seen by more than 50 million viewers around the world. Attraction's power and unique charm is down to the emotional content of their performances.
They cross all language and age barriers and touch different audiences whenever they perform. Leader of the troupe, Zoltán Szücs, is a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer, who formed the group in 2004.
Bryn Terfel has built his towering international reputation by singing key roles by Mozart, Verdi and Puccini, and in recent years has distinguished himself as one of the great Wagnerian singers of the age. He’s also that rare phenomenon: a thoroughbred classical singer who can comfortably tackle songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein or music-theatre roles such as the lead in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Nevertheless, Bryn felt that his trip to the Rocky Mountains to make Homeward Bound with the Mormon Tabernacle choir was another new departure. It gave him, he has said, “an incredible feeling of adventure, because this is something new,” as well as the sense of “an acceptance by a group of people who are incredibly loving, accepting and supporting”. Bryn is joined onstage by his fellow Welsh countrymen, Only Men Aloud.
The stylish multi-award winning Caro Emerald makes her debut Royal Variety Performance today. The Dutch singer’s second album ‘The Shocking Miss Emerald’ topped the UK charts earlier this year, rivalling the amazing success of her debut record, 2010’s ‘Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor’. Caro’s signature blend of vintage jazz mixed with calypso, bossa nova, hip-hop and lashings of brass has become a favourite on both the airwaves and the dance floor. A talented performer who oozes style and panache, Caro will return to Britain in 2014 for an extensive tour.
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory:
Roald Dahl’s deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka comes to life in a new West End musical directed by Sam Mendes, with Douglas Hodge playing Willy Wonka. When Charlie wins a golden ticket to the Wonka Chocolate Factory, it's the chance to feast on the sweets he's always dreamed of. But beyond the gates astonishment awaits, as the five lucky winners discover not everything is as sweet as it seems. Featuring ingenious stagecraft, the story that has captivated the world for almost 50 years can now be enjoyed onstage at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Chas & Dave:
2013 marks 50 years since Charles Hodges and David Peacock first met. Better known as Chas & Dave they've carved out a place in the hearts of the nation with their musicianship, honesty, and pure and simple entertainment value. But the story goes deeper than that; between them, they’ve worked with and gained the respect of the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Lonnie Donegan and many more. 2013 also brings the first new Chas & Dave album in a generation: ‘That’s What Happens’ – recorded at Abbey Road and produced by Joe Henry, featuring guest slots from Jools Holland, Hugh Laurie, Albert Lee, Martin Taylor and original Buddy Holly drummer J.I. Allison. It represents the latest remarkable chapter in the Chas & Dave story.
Dame Edna Everage:
Dame Edna Everage is a globally acclaimed “gigastar”, unmistakeable for her greeting “Hello possums!” She began a stage career in the 1950s in Australia before moving to London, and playing herself in the 1971 film Barry McKenzie Holds His Own and its sequel, making her debut in London’s West End in the stage show Housewife, SuperstarLondon West End debut in 1976, and becoming a Dame the same decade. During the 1980s and ‘90s she became an internationally recognised televised personality, receiving four BAFTA Award nominations for her television specials and her acclaimed and much-imitated talk show The Dame Edna Experience. , which featured celebrity guests including Cher, Robin Williams and Sean Connery. In 1991 Everage was awarded a Rose d’Or for her television special A Night on Mt. Edna, and in 2000 her Broadway show Dame Edna: The Royal Tour won a Special Tony Award. She is the author of three books, including her autobiography My Gorgeous Life, and is the subject of Handling Edna: The Unauthorised Biography by her manager of almost six decades, Barry Humphries, A.O, C.B.E.
Flavia Cacace is an internationally renowned dancer who holds competitive titles in Argentine Tango, Ballroom and Showdance with her dance partner Vincent Simone. Best known for seven years as a firm favourite of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, 2012 saw Flavia win the series with celebrity partner Louis Smith.
Vincent & Flavia, with the Creators of their hit show "Midnight Tango" are back with their brand new production "Dance 'Til Dawn" - A sensational dance show from the Golden Age of Hollywood where a romance unfolds between a beautiful starlet and her handsome lover. "Dance 'Til Dawn" will transport you to a time of elegance with stunning sets, wonderful music and world class dancers.
Gareth Malone & Voices:
Through his nationwide search Gareth Malone has assembled the country’s finest young talent, the 17 members of Gareth Malone’s Voices are between 18-27 years of age. Gareth Malone the “UK’s most recognisable choirmaster” describes the new album Voices as a “watershed moment” for choral singing, which treads uncharted territory by mixing lush, choral textures with innovative and contemporary recording techniques on tracks like “A Little Respect” “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart” and “Nights In White Satin.”
Rising to fame in the nineties as one fifth of the pop sensation Take That, Gary Barlow has continued to become one of Britain’s most accomplished singer songwriters as well as judge and mentor on The X Factor. He was recently named in the Queen’s birthday honours list and was awarded an OBE for his huge contribution to British music as well as his significant charitable endeavours. After 23 years in the business Gary Barlow has sold over 30 million records as part of Take That including: eight No.1 albums, fifteen No.1 singles and seven million concert tickets as well as being the proud recipient of six Ivor Novello Awards.
This is Hal’s second time on the Royal Variety Performance, having performed previously in 2009. One of the top comedians working in the UK today, Hal’s unique perspective on life sets him apart as a true original.
With recent television appearances including ‘Live at the Apollo,’ ‘Have I Got News For You,’ and ‘Mock the Week,’ Hal is a firm favourite in both the stand up circuit and world of comedy panel shows.
Also a highly accomplished writer and actor, Hal joins us tonight from the middle of his third UK tour, ‘Tough Luvvie.’ Next year, his first sitcom, ‘Hal’ will begin broadcasting on Radio 4.
‘I Can’t Sing’:
‘I Can’t Sing’ is the upcoming musical comedy written by Harry Hill, directed by double Olivier Award winner Sean Foley and with music and lyrics by Steve Brown.
Promising a sidesplittingly funny original score, eye-popping sets and some contestants and judges who may seem oddly familiar, the show exposes the (allegedly) true story behind the biggest talent show on TV, through the eyes of a pair of star crossed lovers pitted against each other as contestants.
Opening at the London Palladium in March 2014, the show features rising stars Cynthia Erivo as the young hopeful Chenice and Alan Morrissey as eco-warrior/Ukulele enthusiast Max, with leading man Nigel Harman as a talent show judge called Simon!
Irish comedian Jason Byrne's shows are infamous for his playful audience interaction. With appearances on TV, Radio and Film, Jason was awarded a Sony Radio Gold Award in 2012 and his self-penned sitcom Father Figure aired on BBC1 this Autumn, along with two stand-up DVDs Cirque du Byrne and Special Eye released November 2013. Performing legendary shows at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival every year, Jason has just returned from a sell out Australian tour and is currently taking his brand new show, Special Eye, across the UK and Ireland.
Jessie J’s career started early, commencing at nine with a starring role on the West End. Her debut album, “Who You Are” was released in 2011 and quickly made her an international multi-platinum selling superstar with two number one singles in the UK including “Price Tag” and “Domino”. By 2013 she had topped the chart in no fewer than 19 countries and had performed at the Olympics and at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert. Jessie became the first British woman in history to have six top ten singles from one album. She released her second album ‘Alive’ in September, and has just finished her sold out 19 date UK arena tour.
Carr has performed at the Royal Variety Performance twice in his illustrious career as a comic; in fact, one of his very first TV appearances was at the 2002 show. His deadpan delivery, lightning fast wit and fiercely intelligent puns have since earned him a growing reputation as a truly international star.
With his live stand-up tours seen by over 1.5 million people, Jimmy is famously dubbed ‘the hardest working man in comedy,’ and is set to embark upon his upcoming nationwide 200-date tour ‘Funny Business’ in April next year.
A regular as a razor sharp host and guest on popular TV and Radio programmes including ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats’, ‘Big Fat Quiz’ and ’10 O’Clock Live’, Jimmy Carr is a house hold name and at the vanguard of the British comedy scene.
John Newman erupted onto the UK music scene in 2012, when he lent his distinctive gravelly vocals to dance band Rudimental’s number 1 ‘Feel The Love.’ The track established the artist as a powerful new voice in UK R&B, an impression reinforced by his chart-topper ‘Love Me Again’ in July 2013.
Born to a mother obsessed with Motown and Northern Soul, John’s heartfelt melodies now weave between an eclectic melange of musical influences.
Having launched his debut album ‘Tribute’ in October this year- which landed straight at the top of the chart- John has been busy playing various venues across the country and has recently announced a UK tour for early 2014.
Mary J. Blige:
Iconic Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and actress with album sales in excess of 50 million, Mary J. Blige has completed her first-ever Christmas album ‘A Mary Christmas.’ The album features Blige's soulful interpretation of classic Christmas numbers including ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘The Christmas Song’. Blige is joined by a number of A-list guests, including Barbra Streisand and Jessie J.
Olly Murs first burst onto the scene in 2009 as a contestant on the X Factor, and has since become one of the biggest success stories the show has ever produced. In fact he is the most successful male solo artist to ever graduate from it. He has three studio albums (two of which reached number one) and four number one singles under his belt. He has sold out arenas throughout the UK and played to packed venues in the US and Australia amongst others. This year, he was a special guest on the Robbie Williams stadium tour - winning the hearts of millions around Europe.
Jordan “Rizzle” Stephens and Harley “Sylvester” Alexander-Sule – better known as Rizzle Kicks - have rocketed to fame since their first official single ‘Down With The Trumpets’ reached number 8 in the charts in 2011, and the hit ‘Mama Do The Hump’ peaking at number 2 in 2012. The boys both attended the Brit School, which is where they first decided to merge their talents together to create their own distinctive hip-hop, pop and insanely catchy sound. They have recently released their second album ‘Roaring 20s’ which included the hit single ‘Lost Generation’ that debuted at number 6. At only 21 and 22 years old, Rizzle Kicks have shown they are more unique and more irresistible than any other pop act in the charts.
2013 Edinburgh Fosters Comedy ‘Best Show’ Award nominee and star of Channel 4’s ‘Stand Up For The Week’, ‘Seann Walsh World’ and ‘Big Bad World’ for Comedy Central, BBC1’s ‘Live At The Apollo’ and ‘Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow’ Seann Walsh is the most frighteningly precocious talent to emerge from the UK comedy circuit in years. Cleverly mixing off-the-wall reflections on young modern life with his trademark unique physical stage presence, Seann is one of the most exhilaratingly fresh talents around.
Stephen Ward charts the rise and fall from grace of the man at the centre of the Profumo scandal. Friend to film stars, spies, models, government ministers and aristocrats; his rise and ultimate disgrace coincided with the increasingly permissive lifestyle of London’s elite in the early 1960s. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Christopher Hampton and Don Black, and directed by Richard Eyre, the musical centres on Ward’s involvement with the young and beautiful Christine Keeler and their chance meeting in a West End night club, which led to one of the biggest political scandals and most famous trials of the 20th century.
Torvill & Dean:
Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean have been wowing audiences worldwide with their innovative and daring skating performances for more than thirty years. In February 2014, the Olympic, multi World, European and British Ice Dancing champions will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their record breaking Olympic Gold medal performance of Ravel’s Bolero. In January, their popular entertainment series Dancing on Ice, is also back on ITV for its ninth series and promises to be the most spectacular yet.
John Bishop Q & A
Are you looking forward to hosting this year’s Royal Variety Performance?
It’ll be a great thing to do and a great thing to be asked to do, with the tradition behind it. I’m really looking forward to it.
How did you find performing in front of members of the Royal Family in 2010 at the Royal Variety Performance?
It wasn’t so much performing in front of the Royals, it was performing in front of a curtain knowing that Take That were behind it with 90 male dancers wearing skin-coloured leotards, so it looked like 90 naked men and Take That. So that kind of loses your focus about anyone else in the audience.
What is the enduring appeal of the Royal Variety Performance?
It has got a tradition. I remember it as a kid and it has got at heritage behind it. It’s one of those shows that you don’t always get these days, which is a variety show where all the family can sit and watch it. Your grandmother can sit with your kids and refer back to various shows of the past. The Royal Variety Performance was a bit like the Grand National when we were kids. It was the show you watched with the rest of the family and if there was ever anyone from Liverpool on there that would always give us a lift. It’s also one of those shows that can launch a career.
How will hosting the Royal Variety Performance differ from doing your stand up?
There’s a stand up element to hosting it but it will be a slightly different job because you’ve got to slip in and out of the show. The main thing is that this is a variety show for everybody and you don’t often get to share the stage with such a diverse group of people. So it’s more about sharing the stage than dominating. As a stand up you’re on your own, here it’s all about the show.
Which of the acts are you particularly looking forward to seeing perform?
Gary Barlow is a great act and Dame Edna is a legend. Olly Murs is brilliant, I’ve seen him a couple of times this year. John Newman has had a phenomenal year, Hal Cruttenden, Jason Byrne, Jimmy Carr, there’s some great stand ups. The range is what’s good about it. Though to be honest the act I’m really interested in seeing aer Britain’s Got Talent winners, Attraction.
Have you met any of the Royal Family?
I did a thing for the Olympic Committee at the Royal Albert Hall and William and Kate were guests of honour. I sort of introduced them on the stage and William said ‘Thanks John’…now I’m not saying that we’re mates on the back of that but still!