November saw West End stars mingle with home-grown talent as Bridgnorth performers joined some of the country’s top musical theatre stars to raise money for a local boy’s medical treatment. In an evening that will live long in the memory of those who attended, professionals including Jeremy Secomb and Rob Houchen sang with over 180 amateurs in an emotionally charged sell-out event. The show, which included lighting and sound installed by one of London’s top engineers, featured songs from ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, Mary Poppins and ‘West Side Story’ and there were several standing ovations throughout the evening. An auction, which included ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ prizes such as a night in the orchestra pit of ‘Les Mis’, helped raise even more money.
The West End and Bridgnorth Sing for Rupert was organised by WW!’s Sally Themans and Chris Key, associate director of ‘Les Miserables’, to raise funds for Castlefields Primary School pupil Rupert Beckett, who has been diagnosed with stage-four high-risk neuroblastoma. Rupert’s parents are raising the money to take him to the USA for specialist treatment, and this event alone raised over £17,000.
“I think Bridgnorth didn’t know what had hit it!” said Sally Themans.”These were top West End stars – arguably top in the world – here in our midst. It was an absolute honour to welcome them to our town. So many in the community embraced the event and got involved; whether in the audience, as a choral participant or as a helper or sponsor; they all clearly took Rupert to their hearts.”
Lucy Key, who works with Chris at Key Theatre Academy in Much Wenlock, said, “It really was an incredible night and it restored our faith in human nature at a time where there is so much negativity in the world. To think all the professional performers, musicians, choir and of course Sally, gave up their time for free to create something truly wonderful. We are so passionate about the power of music – it brings people together in extraordinary ways. It was a joy to be part of it.”