Middlesbrough actress Jessica Daley drives 150m to revive role in Evita at Leicester's Curve Theatre

  • Actress Jessica Daley captured her dash to the stage on TikTok (video contains mimed expletive)

An actress has described the weekend which saw her revive a leading lady role with less than eight hours notice and 150 miles between her and the stage as "absolute chaos".

Jessica Daley received a call at her home in Middlesbrough at 11.42am on Saturday asking if she could perform at Leicester's Curve theatre at 7.30pm that night after both the leading lady and understudy fell ill.

She last played the starring role of Eva Peron five years ago in the international tour of Evita in 2019.

Cue a long drive and some speedy revision and the 32-year-old made it on stage where she delighted the audience and received a standing ovation for her efforts.

Speaking on Monday, Jessica told ITV Tyne Tees: "It's just been absolute chaos. An incredible weekend and such an amazing opportunity. Just a completely unique experience that I don't think I will ever get to experience again."

Jessica Daley received a standing ovation for her performance at the Curve Theatre in Leicester. Credit: Jessica Daley/TikTok/Curve/PA

Following the double blow of illness on Saturday, the theatre spent the day trying to find a replacement.

Jessica responded to the call and embarked on her journey before arriving to sing the demanding role from the side of the stage while the rest of the cast performed.

Martha Kirby and her understudy Chumisa Dornford-May were too ill to go on, although Dornford-May has since recovered and was due to return to the stage for Sunday’s performance.

The theatre shared a picture of Jessica receiving a standing ovation, alongside the words: “She is a diamond – a huge round of applause for Jessica Daley!

“@jessicacaca7 joined us this evening to perform as Eva Peron, meaning our production of Evita could go ahead.

“Here she is receiving a well deserved standing ovation from our loyal and supportive audiences.”

Audience members replied to Curve’s post to thank the actress.

In 2019, Ms Daley led the international tour of Evita to “high acclaim”. She has also performed in stage versions of Billy Elliot, An Officer And A Gentleman and The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

She first rose to prominence in Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for Dorothy in the BBC's show Over the Rainbow in 2010.

Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Tim Rice wrote the musical about the life of Argentine political leader Eva Peron in 1978, which was turned into a film in 1996 with Madonna in the title role.

Sir Tim even took to X himself to congratulate Daley on her performance.

He wrote: “Many congratulations Jessica! Just as important, many thanks.

“Show was going great guns anyway but hats off to all the company supporting your brilliance superbly when 2 terrific Evas were unwell. @Jessicacaca7 @CurveLeicester.

“Friends said it was an unforgettable performance.”

She replied with the words: “Lord above thank you boss!!! An absolute honour to sing your wonderful words again.”

Jessica continued: "I'm very, very grateful for all of the support. It's been a really wonderful reminder of what we as musical theatre performers are capable of, what we can do and the skill set required to adapt to be resilient and to collaborate. It's been such a fantastic weekend and I feel truly alive."

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