Ray Shell Celebrates 35th Anniversary of STARLIGHT EXPRESS with exclusive Q&A Live at Spoonfed New York Country
Internationally renowned actor, writer, singer, producer, and director Ray Shell celebrates the 35th anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express with a special live Q&A at Spoonfed New York Country on Monday, March 25, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. Ray premiered the role of "Rusty the Steam Engine" in the show's original West End production. Directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography by Arlene Phillips, Starlight Express opened March 27, 1984 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London and ran for 7,406 performances. Spoonfed New York Country is owned by Chef Randy Witherspoon, caterer for Hamilton, Wicked, Kinky Boots, among other shows.
Ray will perform a couple of songs and speak with music journalist Christian John Wikane about his breakthrough role in the show, which was nominated for "Best New Musical" at the 1984 Laurence Olivier Awards. Designer John Napier would subsequently win a Tony Award for "Best Costume Design" and Drama Desk Awards for "Outstanding Set Design" and "Outstanding Costume Design" during the show's Broadway run.
Ray's musical journey began in the U.S. touring companies of Hair and The Me Nobody Knows. He performed in Off Broadway plays by Marc Shaiman (Dementos) and Tom Eyen/Henry Krieger (The Dirtiest Musical) before moving to London in 1978 with the original company of Little Willie Jr's Resurrection. After his tenure in Starlight Express, Ray became the toast of the West End, with starring roles in the original companies of Children of Eden, Miss Saigon, Gone with the Wind, and The Bodyguard, among several other productions.
In 2017, Ray directed the critically acclaimed Gilgamesh at London's White Bear Theatre and returned to the U.S., starring in Bud, Not Buddy (The Kennedy Center) and Inner City: The Musical Reunion Concert (Feinstein's/54 Below). The following year, he made his New York solo debut with Ray Shell: Phoenix at Joe's Pub and starred as Sgt. Emil Foley in the UK touring company of An Officer and a Gentleman: The Musical.
Ray's career has encompassed everything from singing with Whitney Houston, the Police (Synchronicity tour), and Nona Hendryx to vocal coaching Grace Jones, Sia, Jamiroquai, and contestants on The Voice (BBC) and X-FACTOR. He is the author of Iced (Random House), Spike Lee: The Eternal Maverick (Street Angel Books), and is adapting Feedin Miranda for film development with Sugar Films in London. He is currently the Artistic Director of TAIP LAB: Wilson North, Carolina.
"He created the role of Rusty ... but there's nothing 'rusty' about his thrilling vocal talents, or the ease of the sparky rapport he establishes with an audience." - The Stage
$15 food or drink minimum
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Photo credit: McVirn Etienne