On Saturday 20 September 2014, for one night only, Bradford Theatres will present a very special homage to the Alhambra Theatre’s early days of Variety and subsequent long entertainment history. The event will be headed up by Michael Ball, who will be joined on stage by a glittering line-up of guests, including Billy Pearce, Lesley Joseph, The Krankies, Joe McElderry, Joe Pasquale and dancers from Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
Michael Ball, Britain’s leading musical theatre star, has won critical and public acclaim over the last 25 years with his dynamic, award-winning lead roles in the West End and on Broadway. And, with his concurrent career as a multi-platinum recording artist, top selling live concert performer and radio and television broadcaster, the Olivier-Award winning Ball has been, for many years, in the enviable position of combining these individual aspects of show business with continuing success.
The ever-popular Yorkshireman Billy Pearce will return to the Alhambra stage as part of the Variety event before his sixteenth pantomime season later in the year. Multi award-winner Billy has won just about every comedy award going, including a British Comedy Award, Solo Comedian of the Year, Best Television Comedy Newcomer, and most recently he was presented the Arts and Entertainment Award at the 2013 Yorkshire Awards. Billy has performed in five children’s Royal Variety shows and three Royal Variety shows and is currently touring the UK in his stand-up show Funny Guy.
Joe McElderry will make his debut on the Alhambra stage at the Variety event, before joining Billy Pearce in this year’s Alhambra pantomime. Having auditioned for The X Factor at the age of just 18, he wowed audiences and quickly gained the number one slot in the UK charts with ‘The Climb’. Joe returned to TV in 2011 to win Popstar to Opera Star with a landslide victory. Joe has released four albums, confirming him as a hugely important recording artist and talented songwriter. Joe has performed live for Her Majesty the Queen at the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. Although Joe is still just 22, he is currently writing and recording for his fifth album which is set for a 2014 release.
Lesley Joseph is best known for playing Dorien Green, the neighbour from hell, in the sitcom Birds of a Feather, alongside Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. Lesley has a wealth of theatrical experience to her credit, in virtually all aspects of the business, having trained at LAMDA before carving out a career for herself on stage. Her acting roles have covered a wide range from serious drama, to musicals and revue, in both the West End and major theatres all over Britain. Her film and television credits include performances for all the major television channels in the UK and film work with major directors including Franco Zeffirelli. More recently, Lesley’s theatre credits have included the West End run of The Vagina Monologues, huge tours of Calendar Girls and Hot Flush! To families in every corner of Britain, Lesley is also well known for her work in pantomimes. She appeared in Bradford’s in 2005/06 as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The Krankies enjoyed success as a cabaret act in the 1970s and on television in the 1980s, featuring in their own television shows. In 1978 they got their "big break" when they were given a place at the Royal Variety Performance. The Krankies are no strangers to the Alhambra Theatre’s stage, having appeared in pantomime in 1983/84 prior to the major refurbishment and again afterwards in 1988/89. The Krankies have also appeared on a number of occasions in variety events at the Alhambra’s sister venue, St George’s Hall. Janette celebrated 50 years as a professional entertainer last year. The Krankies have been an act for 47 years and this year they have been married for 45 years.
Comedian Joe Pasquale has delighted audiences with his live stand-up tours for almost 20 years. Along the way he’s voiced characters for Hollywood movies Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties and Horton Hears A Who! and starred in The Muppets’ 25th Anniversary show. Added to this Joe was crowned King of the Jungle in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here in 2004; starred in ITV’s Dancing on Ice in 2013 and appeared on 6 Royal Variety Performances. He has become a mainstay of the British Pantomime season with sold out performances each and every Christmas!
Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company have performed in Bradford regularly since their first visit in 2005 with Swan Lake, which returned for its third visit earlier this year. Members of Matthew Bourne’s dance company bring a welcome addition to the Variety night line up. More special guests and famous faces will be part of this once-in-a-lifetime star-studded evening!
Adam Renton, General Manager Bradford Theatres comments:
“Having hosted two of the biggest touring shows coming to the Alhambra in 2014, Disney’s The Lion King and National Theatre’s War Horse, everyone at Bradford Theatres is now looking ahead to our special celebration to acknowledge this magnificent milestone. We want the 100th event to be hugely memorable and I’m delighted that we have secured such a fantastic line-up of talented performers who have agreed to be part of our evening.”
Alhambra Theatre, Saturday 20 September 2014