Just a quickie for the infusion of pure joy that was Hello Harry! A Celebration of 40 Years at Stage Door. Amid the constant shower of shit that passes for news about theatre at the moment, this online concert to celebrate the incredible 40 year career of Harry Gabriel, the Shaftesbury Theatre’s Stage Door Keeper, was an absolute ray of sunshine.
Put together by Giles Terera, the guest list was truly astonishing, featuring a veritable who’s who of the theatre world, all connected one way or another with Harry through the 40 years of shows he has seen pass through the Shaftesbury Theatre.
The sense of pleasure from the people giving their anecdotes – Anthony Hopkins in a terrible Hawaiian shirt, Judi Dench and Chita Rivera, Eddie Izzard and Johnnie Fiori – are a real testament to the power of being a thoroughly decent person, and a timely one too.
And being able to call on this calibre of performer really elevated this concert to exceptional places. David Bedella casually retooling ‘Hello, Dolly’ from his back garden. Jason Pennycooke dancing beautifully through ‘Mr Bojangles’, & Juliet’s leads delivering gorgeous harmonies on a reworked ‘Show Me Love’ and a finale that included scorching work from Clive Rowe on ‘I Got Life’ and Rachel John on ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, both ably assisted by the London West End Gospel Choir. A fitting tribute to a fine man.
You can watch the concert on YouTube – it is nominally free of charge so please do consider donating to their Crowdfunder which will benefit Cancer Research UK, Black Lives Matter and The Black Curriculum.