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Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC

Internationally renowned actor, writer, singer, producer, and director Ray Shell recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express with a live Q&A and performance at Spoonfed New York Country. Ray originated the lead role of "Rusty" in the show's West End production. Directed by Trevor Nunn with choreography by Arlene Phillips, plus costume and set design by John Napier, Starlight Express opened on March 27, 1984 at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London and ran for 7,406 performances. It's the world first musical to be performed entirely on rollerskates.

Music journalist Christian John Wikane interviewed Ray Shell about his career, which began in the U.S. touring companies of Hair and The Me Nobody Knows and continued in Off Broadway plays by Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger (The Dirtiest Musical) and Marc Shaiman and Robert I. Rubinsky (Dementos). Ray first hit London's theatre scene in Little Willie Jr's Resurrection (1978) produced by Lon Satton. He later signed with EMI Records and founded Total Artist In Production (TAIP) at Pineapple Studios.

While discussing his breakthrough role in Starlight Express, Ray fêted many of his cast mates including Jeffrey Daniel (Electra), Jeff Shankley (Greaseball), Lon Satton (Poppa), Frances Ruffelle (Dinah), P.P. Arnold (Belle), and Kim Leeson (Pearl), who made a special appearance during the interview. Accompanied by pianist David Pearl, Shell and Leeson performed "Only You," Pearl and Rusty's duet in the show's original Act Two. Shell also sang his showstopper from Act One, "Starlight Express," and briefly revisited his career as an EMI recording artist with his heartfelt interpretation of "The Man With the Child In His Eyes" by Kate Bush.

The audience included several notable figures! from music and theatre, including Tony-nominated legend Vivian Reed, original CHIC vocalists Alfa Anderson and Norma Jean Wright, original Ikette and famed Brill Building songwriter Joshie "Jo" Armstead, Broadway and West End star Sally Ann Triplett, director Michael Boyd, who previously directed Ray Shell in Inner City: The Reunion Concert (2017) at Feinstein's/54 Below (2017) and Ray Shell: Phoenix (2018) at Joe's Pub, actress Cynthia Nesbit, rapper/songwriter Oh Delvalley, producer Jon Mallow, singer Mark Anthony Lee, legendary hair stylist Sevaria, dancer/skater Lynna'movingstar, and artist Liam Sy Paquemar, whose latest installation will soon be exhibited at the United Nations.

Owned by Chef Randy Witherspoon (caterer for Hamilton, Wicked, and Kinky Boots) Spoonfed New York Country is located in the heart of New York's theatre district and is known for its distinctive, uniqu! e menu of South Carolina Lowcountry cuisine. www.spoonfednyc.com

Photo Credit: Sekou Luke Studio. www.sekoulukestudio.com

high res photos

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell and music journalist Christian John Wikane before their live Q&A at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell onstage at Spoonfed NYC during live Q&A to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Starlight Express. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Music journalist Christian John Wikane interviews Ray Shell at Spoonfed NYC about the 35th anniversary of Starlight Express. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell onstage at Spoonfed NYC during live Q&A to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Starlight Express. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell onstage at Spoonfed NYC during live Q&A to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Starlight Express. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Kim Leeson, who played Pearl in the London production of Starlight Express, joins Ray Shell onstage at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Kim Leeson onstage at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Kim Leeson and Ray Shell sing Only You from Starlight Express at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell and Kim Leeson onstage at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell sings Starlight Express at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell sings Starlight Express at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Rapper/songwriter Oh Delvalley, videographer S Zachary Knox, and Ray Shell. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Left to right: Ray Shell, Lynna''movingstar, Alfa Anderson, Norma Jean Wright, Christian John Wikane, Mark Anthony Lee, Vivian Reed. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Music journalist Christian John Wikane and director Michael Boyd. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Ray Shell and actress Cynthia Nesbit. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Craig Shell, Christian John Wikane, and Joshie Jo Armstead. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Spoonfed NYC co-owner Chef Randy Witherspoon and hair stylist Sevaria. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Spoonfed NYC co-owner Mark Stricklin, Vivian Reed, Christian John Wikane, and Alfa Anderson. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Graphic design artist Frank Marchese and Ray Shell. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Left to right: Norma Jean Wright, Sevaria, Lynna''movingstar, Vivian Reed, and Joshie Jo Armstead. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Cynthia Nesbit at Spoonfed NYC. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Craig Shell and Ray Shell. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

Photo Flash: Ray Shell Celebrates STARLIGHT EXPRESS At Spoonfed NYC
Mark Stricklin, Christian John Wikane, Gregory Smith, and Frank Marchese. Photo by Sekou Luke Studio.

 


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