Gok Wan to Host YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE Philippines Benefit Concert at Queen's Theatre, 2 March
Thanks to the overwhelming success of his Channel 4 series How To Look Good Naked, acclaimed fashion stylist and on-screen consultant Gok Wan is now an institution on our screens. Not only has Gok appeared in a further six series of the award-winning show, he has also hosted Gok's Fashion Fix, Gok's Clothes Roadshow and Gok's Style Secrets, leading to him becoming one of Britain's most sought after entertainers. No stranger to the stage, Gok recently made his theatre debut in Birmingham Hippodrome's panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and was seen in the accompanying Channel 4 documentary Gok Does Panto.
Gok said today: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be hosting You'll Never Walk Alone, the West End's response to the recent disaster in the Philippines. The atmosphere is going to be electric, the cast are phenomenal and this event is going to be a fantastic way to reignite awareness of this beautiful country where so much has been completely devastated. The work the DEC are doing to provide much needed aid to the areas affected is vital, the reconstruction process is far from over and people of the Philippines still need our help."
Gok will be joined on by an array of stars from the Philippines, the London stage and beyond. Names already confirmed include Danielle Hope, Strictly's Pasha and Katya, Cynthia Erivo, Cassidy Janson, Britain's Got Talent's Francine Lewis, Joanna Riding, Hannah Waddingham, Joseph Apostol, Hugh Maynard, Michael Xavier, Emmanuel Vass and Avenue Q original London cast members Julie Atherton, Jon Robyns, Simon Lipkin and Giles Terera.
On 7 November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most intense tropical storms ever to make landfall anywhere in the world, struck the Philippines. Millions were affected by torrential rain, winds of over 140mph and flooding of up to 15 feet, devastating coastal areas. Over 14 million people have had their lives torn apart, with approximately 590,000 homes completely destroyed and well over 4 million people forcibly displaced due to the destruction.
You'll Never Walk Alone - The West End Unites for the Philippines is a one-night-only gala concert in support of the Philippines Typhoon Appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which brings together 14 of the UK's leading aid charities to raise money in order to quickly reach those in need. The money raised will contribute to the ongoing need for emergency shelter, clean water and food as well as helping survivors rebuild their lives.
Promising an unforgettable evening of music and comedy and lead by a cast of Britain's brightest stars of the West End and beyond, You'll Never Walk Alone will be an uplifting reminder of the importance of collaboration and the fact that theatre really can make a difference. The concert will also featuring an ensemble of Filipino performers and a magnificent on stage band.
The event has been instigated by the UK based theatre 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 theatre impresario, Cameron Mackintosh.
Cameron Mackintosh said: "The Philippines have 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. As well as being an exceptionally talented nation, the people we have met are also warm, generous and good-hearted human beings who have become our friends the world over. The recent terrible natural disaster there has affected so many people and along with the international aid, I am only too happy to offer the use of the Queen's Theatre 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."
DEC Chief Executive Saleh Saeed said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support for our Philippines Typhoon Appeal but even in that context 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. We are extremely grateful to the cast, crew, producer Paul Spicer and to Cameron Mackintosh and Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for their respective roles in bring together this wonderful event."
Producer Paul Spicer said: "In such dire situations we often feel helpless, but through entertainment and celebration of the Filipino people's resilience, we can make a difference. This will be a truly one-off event rooted in hope and inspired by the Filipino spirit and vivacity. Disasters like this may often seem a million miles away from our reality, but when a crisis occurs it affects humanity as a whole. By lending our efforts to this appeal, we are expressing loyalty not only to the people of the Philippines, but to humankind."
You'll Never Walk Alone is directed by Jacqui Sanchez and choreographed by Grant Murphy, with musical direction by Alan Berry. It is produced by Paul Spicer and Matt Firth for Stage Acts Productions with the kind support of Delfont Mackintosh Theatres. Avenue Q puppets are by Paul Jomain - www.Qpuppets.co.uk.