West End Musical Celebration at The Palace Theatre is a truly spectacular celebration of the much-awaited return of live musical theatre productions. This concert sees some of the best musical theatre stars performing everything from old classics and popular hits, to exciting previews to some of the new hot tickets.
Cast members and the audience were equally thrilled to be at The Palace Theatre and the room was buzzing with excitement. The set list included both famous love ballads and energetic hit numbers. It is unusual to see them outside of their usual shows, with no costumes, staging or special effects. This is the show that honours the best things about musicals: the songs and the vocalists. Among the West End stars, involved in this production, are Ben Forster, Alice Fearn, Sophie Evans, Layton Williams, Rachel John, Trevor Dion Nicholas and Shanay Holmes, who hosts the evening.
From the beginning, the audience is invited to sing along, dance along and clap along (of course, following the social distancing rules), which makes the whole show feel more familiar and intimate. The live band, placed on stage, is another nice touch that makes the show feel more special.
Some of the set tied in to current or recent events. For example, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, performed by Sophie Evans, was a reflection on the symbol of hope and support for NHS during the pandemic. They Just Keep Moving The Line, performed by Alice Fearn, was the nod to the endless changes to the rules, and many times postponed re-opening of the live entertainment. Even West End Musical Celebration itself was originally intended to run in December 2020, just before Christmas, but was cancelled two days before the premiere due to new restrictions introduced in London. Another important subject – the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial equality – were recognised by the powerful performance of Don’t Rain On My Parade by Rachel John.
Among other surprising acts was a sassy Bad Romance mash-up by Layton Williams and goosebump-giving Let It Go / Into The Unknown performance by Alice Fearn. Both were exclusive previews to Moulin Rouge and Frozen, coming to London theatres in autumn. The first standing ovation of the night went to Alice Fearn for Defying Gravity while Sophie Evan’s performance of Don’t Stop Believing got everyone up on their feet.
The final songs – One Night Only and Coming Home – reflected perfectly the thoughts and feelings of the cast. They were happy and proud to be back in a West End theatre, sharing this glorious moment with us, their loyal audience.
West End Musical Celebration is an uplifting and feel-good concert, and it gives you the drive and emotional charge you expect from the best musicals. Leaving the room, I could not wait to go book some tickets to revisit my favourite West End classics. Coming to this show and booking a seat at the upcoming productions are both great ways to support the entertainment sector who struggled so much during recent years. West End Musical Celebration proves that it is a sector worth saving.
West End Musical Celebration is at The Palace Theatre until 13th June 2021. Tickets are on sale here