Shaftesbury Theatre, London
West End Eurovision was a night full of glitz, glamour, feathers, high-heeled boots and sequins and that’s just the men! In all seriousness it was a timely reminder of how we should all be looking to the future, to support and educate. What better way than to celebrate this, but in something we’ve been both enjoying and participating in for years – Eurovision. Combining this with the theatre world, the evening was riotous fun and reminded you how good it feels to see outstanding casts, from top shows, working hard to raise awareness, money for the cause and ultimately to make a difference.
Cast members from the West End’s longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera, were hailed the stars of West End Eurovision 2018, scoring a remarkable double victory. Performing Conchita Wurst’s 2014 winning song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’, and earning top marks of 106, the show was 36 ahead of its nearest rivals, Dreamgirls.
The Phantom of the Opera entry was voted overall winner and was also awarded the Judges’ Award – Best Creative from the panel of choreographer, director and showbiz legend Arlene Phillips, John Partridge and stand-up star Tom Allen.
Featuring a cast of bearded characters including Conchita, Elphaba, Princess Jasmine and The Bearded Lady from The Greatest Showman and a fabulous quick change dress transformation, The Phantom of the Opera cast stormed the event winning more top marks than any other production. The third trophy of the night, the Best Ident, voted for by public text vote, was won by Hamilton.
The final result was:
1. The Phantom of the Opera – 106 votes
2. Dreamgirls – 70 votes
3. Aladdin – 60 votes
4. Young Frankenstein – 50 votes
5. 42nd Street – 42 votes
6. Kinky Boots – 38 votes
7. Mamma Mia! – 32 votes
8. Hamilton – 24 votes
The evening also featured two epic performances by this year’s UK entry, SuRie performing the emotive and uplifting track Storm that carries the hopes of the UK at the 63rd Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday 12 May, and musical theatre leading actress Lucie Jones who represented the UK in 2017 with the nation’s best showing in eight years – with a dance version of her entry, Never Give Up On You.
Legendary charity production West End Eurovision was staged at the Shaftesbury Theatre for the first time in four years and was a sold-out storming success.
Melanie Tranter, chair of the Make A Difference Trust said: ”We are delighted to welcome back West End Eurovision and look forward to it becoming one of our annual fundraisers. Last night’s event was a testament to the generosity of the amazing people in the theatre community coming together to support the Trust. The funds raised will help us to continue our work supporting those living with of affected by HIV and AIDS. Congratulations to The Phantom of the Opera for a well deserved win. We all look forward to them defending the trophy next year.”
Since the first West End Eurovision contest was staged in 2008, the event has raised thousands to support the MAD Trust. The Trust works with its partners to support HIV and AIDS projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa building awareness and providing care support and education.