RUTHIE HENSHALL – SHOW HOST

Ruthie trained at Laine Theatre Arts. Following her training, she joined the UK Tour of A Chorus Line, playing Maggie. Ruthie’s West End debut was in Cats, where she played a variety of roles including Jemima, Demeter, Jellylorum, Griddlebone and the leading role of Grizabella.

Following Cats, Ruthie joined the world premiere cast of Miss Saigon, taking over the role of Ellen. She also played Ellen in the final Broadway company of the show, and on the acclaimed symphonic recording.

In 1991, Ruthie created the role of Aphra in Children of Eden before appearances at Chichester Festival in Valentine’s Day, Divorce Me, Darling and Sisterhood. Ruthie then took over as Fantine in the West End production of Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre. She was later invited to recreate this role for the acclaimed tenth anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the “Dream Cast”, which was filmed for television.

Ruthie’s appearance in Crazy For You at the Prince Edward Theatre established her as one of the most popular stars in the West End. She was nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance and took the show to Canada where she played opposite Mickey Rooney. Upon her return to the West End, she took over the role of Nancy in Oliver! at the London Palladium.

In 1994, Ruthie starred in She Loves Me at the Savoy Theatre, winning her first Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

Ruthie starred as Roxie in the original London company of the revival of Chicago. Her performance got her nominated for her third Olivier Award, as well as being voted the ‘Most Popular Musical Actress of the past 25 years’ by Theatregoers. In 1999, Ruthie made her Broadway debut playing Velma Kelly, and in 2018 returned to Chicago in the West End to play Mama Morton, making Ruthie the only British actress to have played all three leading roles in Chicago.

Other appearances in New York include Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 and the plays The Vagina Monologues and The Other Woman. Her appearance in Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together, alongside Carol Burnett, was filmed for television.

After three years in New York, Ruthie returned to London to star in Peggy Sue Got Married, which saw her fourth Olivier nomination. She toured the UK as the leading lady in Fosse before returning to the West End in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Woman In White. Ruthie created the title role in Marguerite, a new musical by the creators of Les Misérables and Oscar-winner Michel Legrand, and for which she received her fifth Olivier nomination. In 2011 she appeared in Noel Coward’s play Blithe Spirit as Elvira.

In 2014, Ruthie joined the cast of Billy Elliot as Mrs Wilkinson at the Victoria Palace Theatre in the West End. Her performance was broadcast in cinemas around the world, with the live broadcast topping the UK and Ireland box office.

In demand as a concert performer, Ruthie has toured extensively in the UK, USA and Australia. Ruthie’s book So You Want To Be In Musicals was released in 2012.

Television appearances include: BBC’s Doctors, Wizards vs Aliens, Valery in The Case, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Law & Order, The Mysteries of 71st Street, The Sound of Musicals and as a judge on Dancing On Ice. Recordings include: I’ve Loved These Days, Pilgrim, The Ruthie Henshall Album, Love Is Here To Stay, Chicago, She Loves Me, Crazy For You, Les Misérables, The Children of Eden and I Love Musicals.

In 2020, Ruthie appeared in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! and became a firm fan favourite, competing in various trials alongside her campmates.

BEN FORSTER

Performing

Music Of The Night

Chicago Medley

You Will Be Found

Gethsemane

you can’t stop the beat

Ben won a scholarship to attend the Italia Conti Performing Arts Academy at the age of 16. From there, Ben’s transition from Sunderland schoolboy to the theatre world of London was captured in a successful prime time BBC1 documentary, ‘The Dream Academy’.
Since debuting in his first West End musical at the age of eighteen – La Cava, created by the Broccoli family of James Bond fame, Ben has had a successful theatre career. He has performed in numerous shows including Grease in the West End and the international tour, Lennon and McCartney’s All You Need is Love and was part of the original cast of the hugely successful West End production, Thriller Live, taking the show from London onto international tours.
Ben shot to fame in 2012 after winning the ITV1 show, ‘Superstar’ – Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s TV talent search for Jesus in the rock arena musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. Ben competed against thousands and performed live to millions throughout the series. His talent and loveable personality won the hearts of the British public, who selected him to go on to win the coveted role and star alongside Spice Girl Melanie C, Tim Minchin and Chris Moyles, in a spectacular arena tour of the UK. In 2013 the show toured Australia, before Ben then returned back to the UK with the show, winning critical acclaim once more for his portrayal of the role.
Between these tours Ben starred as Brad Majors in the reinvented 40th Anniversary production of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show for which he achieved rave reviews.
Ben has also produced two acoustic albums, which have won him international acclaim and established him as a successful recording artist.
During 2014, Ben returned to the West End to guest star in the role of Magaldi in the hit musical Evita alongside Marti Pellow for its run at the Dominion Theatre. He returned to the West End stage reprising his role as Brad Majors in the special celebrity run of The Rocky Horror Show, alongside the creator and theatrical legend Richard O’Brien.
In 2015, Ben assumed the leading role of Buddy the Elf in Elf The Musical. Elf ran at the Dominion Theatre and Ben has garnered considerable critical acclaim for his performance as Buddy, and was nominated for “Best Actor in a Musical” at the WhatsOnStage Awards.
In February 2016 Ben started performing the title role of the “Phantom”, in The Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End, leading the show in its 30th anniversary year to an Olivier Award and 5 star reviews.
In 2017 Ben took his own one man show to Japan and performed to sell out audiences. He most recently reprised his role of Buddy the Elf in Elf the Musical which was also shown on Channel 5 over Christmas.

lauren samuels

Performing

WEST SIDE STORY MEDLEY

I’LL NEVER LOVE AGAIN

Judy Garland Medley

You Will Be Found

Les Misérables MEDLEY

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Lauren Samuels is one of the West End’s most talented young performers, who’s most recent credits include Cinderella at The Lyric Hammersmith and Henry V at The Barn.
Lauren made her professional debut playing Wendy in Peter Pan at the Leicester Curve, and in 2010 appeared on Over The Rainbow for the BBC. Following her success on the TV show, Lauren made her West End debut in the lead role of Sandy in Grease (Piccadilly Theatre). She then starred as Scaramouche in We Will Rock You both at the Dominion Theatre and on it’s 10th Anniversary World Arena Tour.
Other credits include La Ronde (Bunker Theatre – Whats On Stage for Best Off West End Production), Romantics Anonymous (Sam Wanamaker Theatre, The Globe) Polly Peachum in The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre), Jenny in Love Story (Bolton Octagon), Ellie in Water Babies (Leicester Curve), Vampirette in Vampirette (Manchester Opera House), Yonah in Children Of Eden (Prince of Wales Theatre), Cathy in The Last Five Years (Tabard), Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (Cyprus), Jules in Bend it Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre), Mary in Vanities (Trafalgar Studios) and Jenny in The Big Corner (Octagon Theatre).
Lauren received a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Bend It Like Beckham and a Manchester Evening News nomination for Best Actress for her performance as Jenny in Love Story.

MATT HENRY MBE

Performing

I’m Not My Fathers Son

THEY LIVE IN YOU

YOU WILL BE FOUND

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Award-winning West End actor, singer, songwriter, and artist: Matt Henry (MBE) is a man impossible to ignore. He was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours list (2017) for his work in Musical Theatre. Also, that year Matt received a Grammy nomination for his solo performance on The London KinkyBoots cast recording. In (2016) he was Winner of The Laurence

Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Lola in Kinky Boots and voted by London theatre goers as Best Actor in a Musical at the What’s On Stage awards (2016).

Matt has also toured the UK promoting his debut album Red Flare supporting Grammy and Tony winning pop icon, Cyndi Lauper back in 2016. His debut album Red Flare was recorded live at the studio of Dan Gillespie Sells (The Feeling) and produced by Mr Hudson and is now available to purchase on iTunes.

As a finalist on the BBC’s The Voice, where he was mentored by both will.i.am and Jessie J, Matt’s performance of Ray LaMontagne’s ‘Trouble’ racked up over four million hits on YouTube and the original ‘Trouble’ re-entered the UK charts that week, testament to Matt’s performance.

Previous theatre credits include: Hushabye Mountain (Hope Mill), Our Lady of Blundellsands (Liverpool Empire), One Night in Miami (Nottingham Playhouse), The Two Noble Kinsmen (Shakespeare’s Globe), Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre and UK tour); Lion King (Lyceum); Miss Saigon (UK tour); Saturday Night Fever (Apollo Victoria); Hair (UK tour); The Rat Pack Live from Vegas (Adelphi and UK tour) The Harder They Come (Stratford East and UK tour); The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal & Derngate) and The Frontline (Shakespeare’s Globe).

SOPHIE EVANS

Performing

JUDY GARLAND MEDLEY

WICKED MEDLEY

YOU WILL BE FOUND

 Les Misérables MEDLEY

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Hailing from Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valleys, Welsh singer and actress Sophie Evans came to prominence in 2010 when she was picked from over 10,000 hopefuls to appear on the hugely popular BBC series Over The Rainbow.

After making it to the final at only 17, Sophie was named runner-up and was subsequently chosen by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber to don the legendary ruby slippers and play the alternate Dorothy in selected performances of The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium in 2011. In February 2012 Sophie was handed the role of Dorothy full time, becoming a leading lady of the West End at the most famous theatre in the world; a role she would continue in until the show closed in September that year.

Alongside her role in The Wizard of Oz, Sophie studied Performing Arts at the prestigious Arts Educational in London, which had been generously funded by Lord Lloyd-Webber. She also found time in her hectic schedule to perform live around the country, as well as various TV appearances, most notably on the S4C show cariad@iaith/love4language and as the subject of the ITV documentary Dare To Dream, which charted a year in Sophie’s life. Broadcast in December 2012, BBC One Wales’s The Really Welsh Christmas Show also saw Sophie performing alongside the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and guests including Michael Ball and Only Boys Aloud, in her own Christmas special. That month also saw her embark on a Christmas tour with Russell Watson, performing at the London Royal Albert Hall and Manchester Bridgewater Hall, which led into her first solo UK tour in early 2013, and a busy summer of festival appearances around Wales. 2013 also saw Sophie make her big screen debut in Edgar Wright’s The World’s End, starring alongside Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Martin Freeman. In early 2014, she was part of an all-star cast performing, Irving Berlin: From Rags to Ritzes, beginning in London and later touring nationwide.

She also featured as Debbie in the BAFTA Award winning film Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus. 2014 saw the release of Sophie’s debut album ‘The Studio Sessions’, offering an intimate take on some of her best loved songs including ‘Over the Rainbow’ and covers of Elton John’s ‘Your Song’ and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. Later that year Sophie toured Japan with Paul Potts. Christmas 2014 Sophie did another Really Welsh Christmas show with BBC Wales. At the beginning of 20 15 Sophie toured the UK with Britain’s Got Talent runners up Richard and Adam. In September 2015 Sophie returned to the West End for a run of ‘You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews’ at St James theatre.

In 2016 Sophie travelled the world with the Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance’. She did a 10-week run on Broadway, an American and Canadian tour and parts of Asia. Towards the end of 2016 Sophie joined Ross Leadbeater on his Great British Songbook tour. Christmas 2016 saw Sophie debut in a New Christmas musical at The Salisbury Playhouse ‘The Night Before Christmas’ written by Gareth Machin and composed by Glyn Kerslake. Sophie re-joined the cast of Lord of the Dance to complete their 2017 UK and Ireland tour and joined the cast of The Knights of Music with Phillip Schofield, which toured the UK. She finished 2017 with a concert of ‘A Night at the Musicals’ at Cardiff’s St. David’s Hall. 

This year, Sophie has travelled overseas to perform amongst a star-studded line-up in ‘Voices of the West End’, a series of shows in Tokyo, Japan. Sophie has just completed 2 years starring in her dream role as Glinda in “Wicked” in the West End. This September she will headline her own shows in London, Cardiff and Treorchy.

LAYTON WILLIAMS

Performing

You Don’t Even Know It

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

you can’t stop the beat

Layton was born in Bury, Manchester and he began his career at the age of 12 playing the title role of Billy in the West End production of Billy Elliot. He made his debut TV appearance as Kylie in the BBC comedy Beautiful People. He went on to train at Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts which was documented on CBBC’s School for Stars.

Layton will be returning to the title role of Jamie in Everybody’s Talking about Jamie on the UK/International Tour of the show in Autumn 2021. Over lockdown, Layton shot The Bremmer Files for Shiny Button and was recently announced to be starring in Greg Davies’ new BBC One comedy The Cleaner alongside Helena Bonham-Carter and David Mitchell. 

Theatre Credits include Jamie in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Apollo Theatre and UK Tour); Paul in Kiss Me Kate (Sheffield Crucible); Seaweed in Hairspray! (2018 UK Tour); Angel in RENT (London/UK Tour); The Car Man (Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures); Simon in The Lord of the Flies (Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures) and Young Michael in Thriller Live! (West End).

TV/Film credits include Rocketman (Paramount); Larry in Benidorm (ITV). Layton played series regular ‘Stephen’ in the BBC Comedy Bad Education and reprised his role in the Bad Education feature film.

Layton is the director of ‘Pros from The Shows’ which provides high quality workshops for young performers. They have reached thousands of students across the country hoping to inspire the next generation and nurture talent.

A regular supporter of the charities Stonewall and Ditch the Label, Layton regularly visits schools and makes speeches at events to raise awareness of LGBTQI+ issues and bullying. This year, Layton won the LGBTQI+ Champion Award at the Black British Theatre Awards.

FRIEDERIKE KRUM

Performing

I COULD’VE DANCED ALL NIGHT

you can’t stop the beat

Friederike Krum is an award-winning German Mezzo Soprano based in London, acclaimed for her vocal versatility. Her private and public concerts take her all across Europe as her audiences are mesmerised by her exceptional variety of repertoire, from classical to contemporary, as well as her ability to switch her voice from a fully classical mezzo soprano to a mellow, smooth voice that allows her to sing jazz, musical and famous crossover songs. In 2020 she released her Gershwin album ‘Somebody Loves Me’ the songs of Gershwin at the legendary Jazz club Ronnie Scott’s with the superb James Pearson on piano.

She has performed alongside some of the world’s leading opera and crossover stars including Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Neil Shicoff, Agnes Baltsa & Russell Watson. Friederike trained in Hamburg with Professor Ingrid Kremling and later worked privately with Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. She has received several prestigious awards and TV documentaries about her life and career have been aired. Friederike recorded a charity single with platinum-selling UK classical crossover star, Russell Watson. Friederike and Russell performed their duet together at the Royal Albert Hall in 2018 as special guest stars in ‘The Best of the West End’ show to standing ovations and Friederike returned to the Royal Albert Hall in 2020. She also starred with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Cristian Mandeal at the Cadogan Hall in 2018 where she sang the ‘Vocalise’ by Rachmaninoff & ‘The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs’ by Górecki.

Together with her friend Plácido Domingo Jr she performed at the prestigious José Carreras TV gala.

Her talent for opera, crossover and jazz has seen her perform for TV audiences of millions and some of the world’s biggest venues and leading orchestras. A favourite of Royals and dignitaries, Friederike has become the ‘Voice of Reconciliation’ as a German soprano chosen to sing regularly for the British Forces as well as German Forces. She performed at the official WW1 Centenary Remembrance service in the Cathedral of Berlin and on request of the German Forces at the NATO camp in Afghanistan.

Her clients & audiences include top brands across Europe as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the late Baroness Thatcher. She was asked to sing the National Anthem in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal and perform for HRH the Duke of Cambridge.

In 2020 she performed at a Christmas concert alongside Sir Rod Stewart, Robbie Williams & Jack Savoretti in a line up of stars hosted by Nile Rodgers.

Friederike will be touring Germany in 2022/23 with Italian actor Bruno Maccallini ans their show ‘Amore’. 

Friederike will be recording two new albums in 2022 and perform her fabulous Gershwin Album accompanied by James Pearson in New York.

Friederike Krum is ‘Ambassador of Arts’ of Alpha Club.

Jewellery worn on the night by Friederike Krum and Lauren Samuels was kindly donated by Butler & Wilson.

MATTHEW CROKE

Performing

WEST SIDE STORY medley

YOU WILL BE FOUND

come what may

les Misérables medley

you can’t stop the beat

Widely recognised for portraying the title character in the West End production of Disney’s Aladdin, Matthew Croke is no stranger to the stage. The singer, dancer, and actor has understudied and performed in several major roles, including West Side Story’s Tony, Wicked’s Fiyero, Funny Girl’s Eddie, Chicago’s Amos Hart, Grease’s Eugene, Singin’ in the Rain’s Don Lockwood, Cinderella’s Prince Charming, Larry in A Chorus Line, and Zeke in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Most recently starring at The Royal Albert Hall with the Alpha Club – “Best Of the West End”.

Croke has also appeared on television and lent his voice and talents to numerous productions with ITV and appeared many times on The Royal Variety Performance.

Born and raised in Sheffield, Croke received training at the Maureen Law Theatre School, Sharon Berry School of Dance, and Laine Theatre Arts College. He credits his sister, Rachel Croke, as inspiration for his love of musical theatre, and they currently share the role of principal at the RMC Academy of Theatre Performance in his hometown.

Croke released his debut solo album, Only Dreaming, in late 2018. Which is available on all downloading platforms and through his website www.mattcroke.com. Featuring the talent of his Disney family – Hiba Elchikhe, Trevor Dion Nicholas, and Nick Afoa, the album featured tunes from Aladdin, Big Fish, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Moulin Rouge!, The Wiz, and more. He was also very honoured to have been part of the original cast recording of Webborn & Finns ‘The Clock Makers Daughter’ which is available on iTunes. His West End performances continue to impress, and fans can stay tuned to his latest projects via his active social media channels. @mattcroke

Most recently Matthew successfully gained a place on Olly Murs’ team on ITV’s The Voice performing ‘Come What May’. 

Matthew also starred in Paul Taylor Mills’ and Arlene Phillips new production of Hair last year which he has just reprised the role of Berger this year at the London Palladium.

JOHN OWEN-JONES

Performing

MUSIC OF THE NIGHT

EVERMORE

les Misérables medley

You Can’t Stop The Beat

John Owen-Jones is a record-breaking West End and Broadway actor and singer. John is best known for his critically acclaimed and award-winning performances as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and as The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera. John remains the youngest actor in West End history to have played Jean Valjean in Les Misérables (a role he also played twice on Broadway) and has performed as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera nearly 2000 times – more than any actor in the show’s entire West End run.

John is an accomplished concert performer and has played many solo headline shows around the UK and abroad. In May 2021, John turned 50 and performed in two sold out solo shows at Cadogan Hall, London. He has also appeared in concert all over the world in venues including The Royal Albert Hall in London, Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and Carnegie Hall in New York. John has appeared on the BBC Proms in the Park concerts, toured the UK in concert with Katherine Jenkins and has been a special guest in concert with Michael Ball and Alfie Boe. He has performed leading roles in stage concert versions of The Hired Man, Sweeney Todd, Tiger Bay and in 2019 played Jean Valjean again, in the Les Misérables The Staged Concert at the Gielgud Theatre, London, alongside Alfie Boe.

At the beginning of 2020 John performed for the first time in China, as one of The 3 Phantoms, returning a week before the virus story broke! As lockdown continued he performed various online concerts Leave A Light On, Magic At The Palladium and Zedel with Rachael Tucker.  In 2021 John sang on two online charity tracks with the Welsh Musical Theatre Orchestra and West End of Wales Orchestra to support musicians.  John sang in The Show Must Go On at The Palace Theatre to support the entertainment industry.

John has performed extensively in theatre in the West End and around the UK in shows such as Sweeney Todd for the English National Opera with Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson, Showboat at the Royal Albert Hall, A Little Night Music at the National Theatre with Dame Judi Dench. John has been on television in various shows, Pointless, Songs of Praise, The Royal Variety Show and on Friday Night is Music Night for BBC Radio 2.

John has released five solo albums which he also produced. ‘Hallelujah’ EP (2006) ‘John Owen-Jones’ (2009), ‘Unmasked’ (2011) ‘Rise’ (2015) ‘Bring Him Home’ (2017) and ‘Spotlight’ (2019).

www.johnowenjones.com

www.twitter.com/johnowenjones

www.facebook.com/johnowenjonesofficial

mica paris

Performing

A light at the end of the tunnel

Oh Happy Days

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Michelle Antoinette Wallen, MBE (born 27 April 1969), known professionally as Mica Paris, is a British singer, presenter, broadcaster and actor. She was born in Islington in North London, and moved to Brockley, South London, when she was nine.

Mica grew up singing in her grandparents’ church, and by her mid-teens was making regular appearances with The Spirit Of Watts gospel choir, with whom she featured on the 1985 EP Gospel Joy. At the age of seventeen, she became a backing vocalist with the UK band Hollywood Beyond. Mica appeared on their album, “If” in 1985.

Mica Paris is one of the UK’s finest and most respected singers with a long career of hit singles and albums marking her out as the undisputed British Queen Of Soul.

Signed to the 4th & Broadway label on Island Records at the age of eighteen, the range, power, soul and deep emotion in Mica’s singing voice made an immediate impact on the UK music scene in August 1988 when she released her debut album, the platinum selling “So Good”. The album included her first Top 10 hit “My One Temptation” which peaked at #7 in the UK charts as well as a collaboration with jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine on “Like Dreamers Do” and “Breathe Life into Me”, both Top 30 UK hits. This was followed by a duet with US soul singer Will Downing on the classic Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway song “Where Is The Love” which broke the UK Top 20.

The follow up album ”Contribution” was released in October 1990, again on the 4th & Broadway label. This extended Mica’s soul and gospel influences to bring in hip-hop and house music and featured the track “If I Love U 2 Nite”, written by Prince and recorded at his Paisley Park studios. With Omar, a classically trained musician, Mica recorded “I Should’ve Known Better” in 1990. It was issued on the B side to “South Of The River” and later re-recorded for inclusion on 1998’s “Black Angel” album.

Mica performed “Blowin’ In The Wind” with Anita Baker, Bonnie Raitt and Natalie Cole at the ‘Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute For A Free South Africa’ event at Wembley Stadium on 16th April 1990, held two months after Mandela’s release from prison in South Africa. Mica provided the title track to Isaac Julien’s “Young Soul Rebels” film soundtrack the following year. She also worked with the saxophonist Courtney Pine again on “Redemption Song” (1992); the Stereo MC’s on “Don’t Let Up” (1992; and Bobby Womack on “I Wish I’d Never Met You” (1991).

Before the release of her third album in 1993, Mica took to the theatre stage for the first time starring in two West End shows, ‘Mama I Want To Sing’ and ‘Sweet Lorraine’.

Mica’s third album “Whisper A Prayer” was released in June 1993 on 4th & Broadway and included the singles “I Never Felt Like This Before” and “I Wanna Hold On To You”, as well as “You Put A Move On My Heart” which was later recorded by Tamia in 1995 on Quincy Jones’s “Q Jook Joint” album. This was followed by further collaboration work on music with Guru on his “Jazzmatazz: The New Reality” album (“Looking Through Darkness”, 1995); Mark Morrison (“Tears For You”, 1996) and Maxwell (“Mantra”, 1996).

Mica released her fourth album “Black Angel” on EMI’s Chrysalis label in August 1998. It contained a cover version of U2’s “One”, and a duet with James Ingram, “Love’s Gone”. “Black Angel” produced two more singles in “Stay” and ‘Carefree”. More collaborations followed with Omar (“Confection”, 1994); Max Beesley (“High Vibes”, 1994); Dubversive (“Police & Thieves”,1998); the “Mobo All Stars” compilation album in 1998; Mister Exe (“One Million Smiles”, 1998); Prince (“Just My Imagination”, 2000); and Boy George (“I Could Be Someone”, 2000). A collaboration with David Gilmour and Jools Holland on the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins track “I Put A Spell On You” followed in 2001. The trio have regrouped on several occasions to perform the song.

Two years later, Mica performed on the title track of the Walt Disney / Touchstone Pictures soundtrack for High Heels And Low Lifes, which was later included on the soundtrack compilation album in 2001. In 2003, Mica released the Moby sampling “Heart” with Seraphim Suite. She contributed vocals to the track “I Don’t Understand” on Milk & Sugar’s album “Housemusic.De”. 2004 saw Mica feature as a guest on The New Inspirational Choir’s album “Inspirations” along with Keisha White and Jocelyn Brown. In October 2004, Mica also took part in the UK tour of the stage play ‘The Vagina Monologues’.

In 2005, Mica released the album “If You Could Love Me” on Wounded Bird Records, featuring backing from the Brecker Brothers on the title track, with executive producer Andreas Neumann and producer Bernard Grobman. Also in 2005, she released the album “Soul Classics”, with executive producers Rick Blaskey and Andreas Neumann. Mica collaborated with Lemar on the track “Can’t You See” on his album “The Truth About Love” in 2006, and in February 2008, she released the duet “Secret Lovers” with Alexander O’Neal. This was followed by a residency at the Indigo 02.

In June 2009, she released her sixth studio album “Born Again” as an independently distributed artist. She embarked on a nationwide tour, which included dates at the Jazz Cafe in February 2009, to showcase the material. The album was produced by Brian Rawling with James Morrison contributing Mica’s first single “Baby Come Back Now”. The second single, “The Hardest Thing”, was remixed by Stonebridge, Almighty and 2Darc. The title track “Born Again” was the final single released from the album.

At this point in her career, Mica turned her talents back to London’s West End. An incredible live performer, she stole the show at the Royal Albert Hall’s All Star Tribute to Dusty Springfield concert in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support on 5th May 2011. This was followed by two long runs in theatre shows with the UK tour of the musical ‘Love Me Tender’ in the summer of 2015 and more recently for eighteen months through to 2020, the lead role of Miss Sherman in the London West End production of ‘Fame’ to great acclaim and rave reviews.

In between these two runs in the theatre Mica recorded a two-track single featuring “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” and “Imagine My Frustration” in honour of Ella Fitzgerald with the Guy Barker Orchestra in 2017 followed by a series of sell out concerts later that year.

In August 2020, BBC4 broadcast a special one-off documentary titled ‘Gospel According To Mica – The Story Of Gospel Music In Six Songs’. Straight from completing her run in ‘Fame’ at the Peacock Theatre, Mica had flown out to the US to film the documentary earlier that year. Presented by Mica as her own personal journey, the programme charted the history of gospel music through ground-breaking songs from “Amazing Grace” to Stormzy’s “Blinded By Your Grace Part II” going back and revisiting the origins of the songs and finding out why some of her contemporaries have returned to their gospel roots. The documentary inspired Mica to record her first album in over ten years once signed to Warner Music’s eastwest label and was recorded within a few weeks, with production by Brian Rawlings at his studio and the British Grove Studios where the contribution of the Soul Sanctuary Choir was recorded. Preceded by the new original song “Mamma Said”, inspired by Mica’s grandmother who first encouraged her to sing in church, and the Labi Siffre song “(Something Inside) So Strong”, the album titled “Gospel” was released on 4th December 2020 to critical acclaim across the board and #1 in the UK R&B Album charts. The album also features another new original song “The Struggle”, telling the story of Mica’s meeting with Gladys Knight, as well as spellbinding versions of Rag ‘N’ Bone Man’s “Human”; John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace”; Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”; and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

Alongside her recording, live and theatre career Mica has also extended her talents into broadcasting and acting.

In 2002, Mica hosted a programme on BBC Radio 2 titled ‘Soul Solutions’, attaining an average of one million listeners to become the most successful soul and R&B show in the UK. She also narrated several music documentaries for the station. Later that year Mica presented the 2002 Channel 4 television documentary ‘The Gospel Of Gospel’ which revealed the influence of the black American church tradition on pop music. Produced and directed by David Upshal, it featured contributions from Ray Charles, Isaac Hayes, BB King, Al Green, Chaka Khan, Alexander O’Neal, Edwin Hawkins, The Blind Boys Of Alabama and Mary Mary. She also broadcast a two-part show, ‘Purple Reign: The Prince Story’, on BBC Radio 2 which covered the entirety of the artist’s unique career and featured interviews with George Clinton, Chaka Khan and Jimmy Jam. She appeared as a narrator on an award-winning documentary featuring Diana Ross focusing on her European and international success rather than her megastar status in the US.

In 2005, Mica appeared in reality TV series ‘Hit Me, Baby, One More Time’ and ‘Come Dine With Me’. From 2007, she was a co-host for two seasons of the popular consumer style programme ‘What Not To Wear’ for the BBC. Whilst presenting ‘What Not To Wear’, Mica encountered many women whose stories touched her. She began to examine her own life and choices, and was compelled to tell her story in a bid to inspire confidence and self-esteem to those women and others. Her book ‘Beautiful Within: Finding Happiness And Confidence In Your Own Skin’ was published by Simon & Schuster UK in 2008. Other television presenting followed with Mica being an expert judge on Gok Wan’s ‘Miss Naked Beauty’ for Channel 4 and ITV’s ‘CelebAir’.

In 2007, she played the part of Amelia Walker, a fictitious American jazz singer, in ‘At Bertram’s Hotel’, an episode of the ITV series ‘Marple’. During the drama the character gives a concert at the Royal Albert Hall and also sings with Louis Armstrong’s band rehearsing in the hotel dining room whilst both were guests at the hotel. On 8th July 2008, Mica, her mother, father and sister appeared as The Paris Brigade on an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s ‘The F Word’ as part of the celebrity brigades series. Mica has continued to appear on a variety of television programmes from Channel 5’s news talk show ‘The Wright Stuff’; ITV’s all-female panel talk show ‘Loose Women’; ‘The Michael Ball Show’ and the BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

In 2008, Mica partnered with BBC Radio 2 on her own series ‘Mica Meets…’. With her thirty years in the music industry and a black book to be reckoned with, Mica invited all her favourite female artists to chat to her about their careers, the challenges they faced whilst playing their incredible music. The series included a remarkable interview with Gladys Knight, recorded in Asheville, North Carolina which provided a fascinating insight into the life of the legendary singer.

During 2013, Paris became a regular guest on ITV show ‘This Morning’. In February 2017, she stood in for Craig Charles on his Saturday night ‘House Party’ on BBC Radio 2 for two weeks. She later stood in for Trevor Nelson on his Saturday night ‘Rhythm Nation’ at the same station in April 2017. In October 2017, she performed a medley of 1980s classics on the BBC’s ‘Children In Need Rocks The 80s’. In 2020, Paris was cast in the BBC soap opera ‘EastEnders’ as Ellie Nixon.

Whilst promoting the “Gospel” album she has appeared on ‘BBC1’s Festival Of Remembrance’; ‘Songs Of Praise’; ’Late With Jools Holland’; ‘The One Show’; ‘BBC Breakfast’; ITV’s ‘This Morning’; ‘Lorraine’; ‘Sunday Brunch’; and ‘Saturday Kitchen Live’ as well as radio spots with Zoe Ball, Steve Wright, Trevor Nelson, Robert Elms and the ‘Good Morning Sunday’ show. On Christmas Day morning Mica presented and broadcast ‘The Christmas Day Gospel Show’ on BBC Radio 2.

Mica is the official Ambassador for Centrepoint and is spearheading the latest new Independent Living Programme initiative. She is also an Ambassador for the Amy Winehouse Foundation and has sung at many special fundraising events for the charity. Additionally Mica is the Music Ambassador for The Willow Foundation. More recently she has been preparing to get involved in the United Nations’ World Peace Day campaign and the forthcoming Global Citizen 2021 event.

Previous charity work has included raiding funds for the National Children’s Home by designing a pillowcase for their ByteNight charity event; working with the Space For Music project to help renovate and relaunch Band On The Wall, a venue in Manchester owned and operated by the Inner City Music charity.

2003 saw Mica being presented with the Gold Badge Award by the British Academy Of Composers and Songwriters for her special contribution to the British entertainment industry.

Mica Paris was appointed Member Of The Order Of The British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to music, entertainment and charity.

WOMAN

The WOMAN supergroup features four of rock musical theatre’s most powerful female voices and ‘We Will Rock You’ alumni – Mazz Murray, Kerry Ellis, Gina Murray and Anna-Jane Casey. Their special 2020 cover of ‘I’m a Woman’, on which Brian May performed as well as producing, was released during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support the work of two leading women’s cancer charities – Target Ovarian Cancer and The Caron Keating Foundation.

WOMAN have recently teamed up with Brian and The Alpha Family for the ‘Pinkest of Pink’ Alpha Auction charity, where the winner would receive Brian’s custom pink guitar, signed and dedicated to them, and the opportunity to be presented the guitar in person by WOMAN in a private meet and greet at tonight’s event!

kerry ellis

Performing

Memory

Wicked Medley

I’m a Woman

les Misérables medley

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Kerry Ellis has fast become recognised as the leading lady of West End musicals from her starring roles in London and on Broadway. She has also achieved chart-topping success as a recording artist signed to Universal Decca and has gone onto release six solo recordings in so far including her acclaimed debut album Anthems which featured guest musicians from iconic bands Queen, Foo Fighters and The Darkness.

When looking at Kerry’s career it is difficult to pick out what may be considered the defining moment, as there are so many unique and impressive experiences to choose from. From making her West End debut in My Fair Lady to originating the role of Meat in We Will Rock You and going on to perform in lead roles in lead roles in Les Misérables, Oliver! and Cats, Kerry was also notably the first British actor to play the lead of Elphaba in history making Wicked replacing Idina Menzel and performing on both the West End and Broadway. In fact she was named the favourite West End Elphaba in a public vote organised by Whatsonstage in 2013.

Kerry has also performed in national tours and concert productions of other renowned musicals but this is just her stage career. In 2010, Kerry released her acclaimed album Anthems, produced by Brian May and introducing her to whole new audiences. After extensive touring with Brian May including the release of a live album, in 2017 Glory Days was released as the first full studio recorded album of Ellis and May as a duo and featured original songs written both the duo together. Brian May needs little introduction as the guitarist of Queen, the rock and roll hall of fame member has dominated popular music for almost 50 years and it is perhaps his belief in Kerry and continuing desire to work with her that is testament to what a unique and special talent Kerry is.

Ellis has performed all over the world singing in some of the most beautiful places imaginable and with some of the most legendary performers possible. From Buckingham Palace with Queen, Proms in the Park, the Olivier Awards with Barry Manilow, the Royal Albert Hall with Kristen Chenoweth, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland to as far off as the Shanghai’s culture Square; the list goes on and does not cease to exist.

Mazz Murray

Performing

Chicago Medley

42nd Street

As If We Never Say Goodbye

I’m A Woman

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Most recently, Mazz played Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s smash hit Sunset Boulevard at the Alexandra Palace Theatre in London to huge critical acclaim, and she was also a part of The Show Must Go On which was recorded live for Sky Arts.

Mazz made her theatre debut playing Patsy Cline in The Roy Orbison Story and has starred in many West End and UK productions, including Mama Morton in the recent production of Chicago (Phoenix Theatre), Tanya in Mamma Mia (West End), A Girl Called Dusty, Rent, Smokey Joe’s Café, Fame, Only the Lonely, Boogie Nights and Pippin. One of Mazz’s most notorious roles was with rock supergroup Queen in their musical We Will Rock You, starring as Killer Queen for nine years in the West End.

Film credits include Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Santa Claus: The Movie and Hope & Glory.

Television credits include Footballers’ Wives, The Bill, EastEnders, The Man from Auntie, Eye Spy and The Quest.

A new project she undertook during the pandemic was a new theatre cookbook named And 5, 6, 7, EAT which she created alongside The Theatre Cafe with a portion of proceeds going towards the charity Acting for Others. The cookbook is available to buy at www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk

Music Recordings include Sweet Charity, Chicago and Fiddler on the Roof. She is part of the rock group Woman – in 2020 they hit number 1 in the rock charts with their single “I’m A Woman” which they recorded with the legendary Brian May in aid of breast and ovarian cancer charities Caron Keating Foundation and Target Ovarian Cancer. The band also toured with Earth Wind and Fire and Billy Ocean.

Mazz released her debut solo album, Midnight Mazz in 2018 and has recently released her brand-new album Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again which is a collection of ABBA love songs. Her albums are available at www.theatre-shop.com andwww.mazzmurray.com

Gina Murray

Performing

Don’t Rain On My Parade

Chicago Medley

I’m a Woman

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Gina has just starred in Starting Here Starting Now at Waterloo East and recently completed a successful run as Velma von Tussle in the National Tour of Hairspray, and played Donna to critical acclaim in Mamma Mia in Cyprus. Prior to this she returned to the role of Mama Morton in Chicago on the National Tour and in Singapore, having played her in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre in 2008 and 2009, and also on the China Tour.

Gina’s other West End credits include; A Christmas Carol, The Full Monty, Fame, The Roy Orbison Story, Patsy Cline – A Musical Tribute & Carnaby St. Off West End she played Gloria Kramer in the critically acclaimed production of One Touch of Venus and Chloe in Broken Journey, both at the Kings Head Theatre. Her numerous other credits include; The Accrington Pals, Jihad The Musical, Alfie and Fuddy Meers.

Gina played Jo in the feature film Sorted, alongside Matthew Rhys & Tim Curry and subsequently played Kelly in the follow up feature from the same director, entitled The Flirting Club.

She’s also performed on the small screen in various TV programmes, including 2 x series of Witless (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Eastenders (BBC), Judge John Deed (BBC), Teenage Kicks (Sky One), The Bill (ITV) and in several TV commercials including Aldi, Special K, Harper Collins, Littlewoods, TD Ameritrade and many others.

Voice-overs are a big part of Gina’s career; she has recorded many English Language tapes, adverts, computer games and animations including Alice in Alice in Wonderland, Summer Camp and Scary Larry. Gina currently features in NETFLIX cartoons including, Go Go Corey Carson and as Wonderbeam in Starbeam.

Gina co-wrote and starred in her own comedy show in Hollywood at Comedy Central Studios called Here Comes Treble alongside her sister, West End star Mazz Murray, with whom she trained at Redroofs Theatre School.

The two sisters have collaborated again, but this time to form acoustic rock/pop group, WOMAN. Their powerful and distinctive vocals give them a totally unique sound. WOMAN released their first album called WOMANVILLE and is available to purchase on iTunes now. Gina and Mazz both write songs for the group and have recently had the honour of touring with Earth, Wind & Fire and Billy Ocean, appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, amongst other prestigious venues across the UK. In 2020 WOMAN achieved a UK iTunes Rock number one with rock legend Brian May and their single I’M A WOMAN (all proceeds went to The Caron Keating Foundation and Target Ovarian Cancer). Gina has also travelled Bahrain, Oman and Paphos singing for the British Royal Navy and Marine Corps. Earlier this year, Gina proudly featured in the Theatre Cafe and Mazz’s Stagey cookbook And 5,6,7 EAT.

Gina is currently working on her debut solo album – so watch this space!

For more information, please visit www.womantheband.com / www.intertalentgroup.com  

Anne-Jane Casey

Performing

west side story Medley

Don’t Rain On My Parade

Chicago Medley

I’m A Woman

You Can’t Stop The Beat

Anna-Jane Casey has been performing professionally for over 30 years in all areas of the arts. She hails from Lancashire and moved to London at 16 to play Rumpleteaser in Cats and has remained at the top of her game ever since. Notable roles played in the West End include Velma Kelly in Chicago, Buffy and Dinah in Starlight Express, Anita in West Side Story, Frankie Frayne in On Your Toes, Lady Of The Lake in Spamalot, Mavis Turner in Stepping Out and Mrs Burke in Girl From The North Country.

Other lead roles around the UK include the title roles in Sweet Charity, Annie Get Your Gun and Piaf as well as Annie Clarke in Calendar Girls, Mabel in Mack and Mabel, Shelly Porter in The Band Played On and Violet Butterfield in Flowers For Mrs Harris.

Her TV credits include Silent Witness, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Doctors and Family Guy and she can often be heard on BBC2’s Friday Night is Music Night as well as the BBC Proms concert season. She has been the featured soloist singer with most major orchestras throughout the UK and Europe and also performs her own cabaret on a regular basis. She is also one quarter of  ‘WOMAN” who’s single “I’M A WOMAN” featuring Brian May went to number 1 on the iTunes UK rock charts in 2020.

The Royal Albert Hall has been a “second home” for her for the last 10 years with her version of Tap Your Troubles Away in the John Wilson Broadway Prom garnering close to 1 million views.