Greg Barnett will host Monday Night at the Apollo where some of the West End’s best-known performers will sing an eclectic mix of music from their favourite genres. Performers will share their most cherished memories and experiences from their careers, alongside performances of music which is personal to them, in a relaxed and informal theatrical celebration.
The full line-up for the first concert on 24th May will be Aimie Atkinson (Six, Pretty Woman), Cassidy Janson (&Juliet, Beautiful), Lucie Jones (Waitress, Rent), Cedric Neal (Chess, Mowtown the Musical) and Julian Ovenden (South Pacific, Downton Abbey) Monday Night at the Apollo has been conceived of to support the theatre industry, and ten percent of all ticket sales will be donated to Acting for Others, an organisation made up of 14 individual theatrical charities.
Tickets for Monday Night at The Apollo, hosted by Greg Barnett are on sale here.
You’re hosting Monday Night at The Apollo, what can you tell us about the shows?
We’re so excited to be bringing this series to the West End and doing our small part in helping the theatre industry rebuild after such a tumultuous year. The shows are going to be a celebration of theatre and live music with an array of exceptionally talented theatre stars singing the music they love from across all genres.
It’s going to be a wonderfully eclectic night of music in the vein of Later with Jools Holland/Graham Norton. We’ll get to chat with the stars about their music choices and wheedle out an anecdote or two from their time treading the boards. It will be a chance for audiences to get up close and personal with their favourite stars and find out what really makes them tick and a chance for our artists to reveal a little more about themselves to the audiences and fans that make theatre so special. The Apollo is such a gorgeous theatre that really lends itself to the intimacy the night will undoubtedly have. We are also raising money for the charity ‘Acting For Others’ and ten percent of the proceeds will be going to them.
They are being produced by your new company, what inspired you to take this step in 2020 and why have you chosen these concerts to launch the company
Hugh Summers and I founded the company ‘Wild Mountain Productions’ to produce work that focuses on prominent issues of today. Racial issues, climate issues, social issues are among the important topics that drive our creativity. We currently have our first play, ’The Farm’, in development and are aiming to stage it as soon as the current pandemic allows. As 2020 wore on we realised that the theatre industry, along with many other struggling industries, are at the centre of the political and social maelstrom that covid has created.
We knew we had to find ways to help get theatre doors open again and bring back performers and audiences alike to share in the wonders of live performance. From here ‘Monday Night at the Apollo’ was born. Theatres and live music venues are doing everything they can to keep their heads above water and we wanted to celebrate every single one of them with this series of concerts, staged at one of the West End’s finest venues; the ‘Apollo’. Raising money for struggling freelancers and venues is at the very forefront of our thinking and we are proud to be able to support such an incredible organisation in ‘Acting for Others’, an umbrella charity that supports 14 other charities which provide financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need.
You’ve got a fantastic line-up of stars taking part, how did you decide on who would be involved and how did you sell the idea to them?
We wanted to put a cast of performers together who were fantastic musicians as well as theatre performers. We feel it’s important not to just celebrate theatre but also live music and it made sense to approach these incredible artists who transcend West End theatre and are known as much for their music. The line-up for the first gig of Aimie Atkinson, Cassidy Janson, Lucie Jones, Cedric Neal and Julian Ovenden definitely fits this criteria. Having been a part of this industry for a long time, I am lucky to have worked with and be friends with some of the finest performers this country has to offer.
When you’re surrounded by talented people on a daily basis, you begin to take their talent a little for granted, but when you take a step back you get blown away by just how skilled these people actually are. That is one thing that 2020 can’t take away from us, the sheer brilliance of the performers that have spent a lifetime training to be the best at what they do for the delight of those of us lucky enough to see them perform. Everyone who works in the theatre world has been affected by the closure of our industry and everybody is very keen to do everything they can to help others in need. Using their immeasurable skills, each of these artists knows that they can do their part in an incredibly viable way.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you in bringing all of this together?
The biggest challenge has undoubtedly been trying to predict the government’s covid rules. The current restrictions mean that we will likely still have a socially distanced in-house audience for the shows in May/June and this has led us to the decision to continue to livestream the series, so that audiences from around the country and beyond can still see their favourite artists live. This will be hosted by the excellently run Thespie, who’s track record in live-streaming is impeccable. We have the most incredible team working with us to ensure that those watching from home will have every bit as enjoyable an experience as those lucky enough to join us in the theatre. I love watching music gigs from the comfort of my own home and know that the eclectic nature of our shows will appeal to a wide ranging audience. We will also be streaming around the world so that fans from overseas can get to enjoy their favourite artists back on stage again.
And what are you looking forward to most about sharing the stage with these stars of theatre?
I mean, come on, these are five of the most talented, loveliest people that have ever graced the stage – what is there not to look forward to?! I’ve been chatting with them all about what they are going to sing and I can tell you, you’re in for an absolutely awesome night of music! We’ve also put together a top notch band. I can’t wait to be up there sharing with our audiences the sheer class of these wonderful performers.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Monday Night at The Apollo?
You’re in for a unique experience with these one off concerts! Each performer will bring their individualism and star quality back to the West End and into your living rooms and together we can all experience a night of gorgeous music and chat with some of our favourite artists. For every show that opens we are taking one step closer to our beloved industry returning in full force!