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West End Eurovision 2013 - Once receives champion's trophy

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE CAST of John Tiffany’s Tony Award-winning production of Once beat off competition from nine other highly talented companies including Billy Elliot, A Chorus Line, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera, Rock of Ages, Spamalot, Top Hat, Viva Forever! and Wicked, to win this year’s West End Eurovision.

The competition took place at the Dominion Theatre on May 23 and on June 19, at the Phoenix Theatre where Once is currently booking until May 31, 2014, the company received the champion’s trophy from Michael Ball, who led 2012’s winning entrants, the cast of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

West End Eurovision supports TheatreMAD, the fundraising arm of The Make A Difference Trust, whose Chair, David Pendlebury, said:

West End Eurovision is another example of how the industry and its audiences step up time and again to support our work. Without their dedication, commitment and talent we would not be able to be there for the many beneficiaries who rely on our support. All we can do is say thank you again and promise to keep making a difference, the best way we can.”

Previously Posted: Entertainment industry charity, The Make A Difference Trust, has revealed the first West End casts that have signed up to 2013’s West End Eurovision bill which takes place at London’s Dominion Theatre on Thursday, May 23.

Now in its 6th year, the firmly established charity gala – presented by TheatreMAD, one of the charity’s producing brands – sees ten West End shows give over considerable time (and budget) to create a fully costumed and choreographed version of a past Eurovision Song Contest entry.

This year’s opening mix of newcomers and old hands are Viva Forever!, Top Hat, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera and A Chorus Line.

Last year’s fiercely competitive show saw the cast of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber steal the show, taking home the event’s highest accolade – Overall Win. In doing so they set a ‘dix points’ example to follow.

Entrants are also judged on the production of a 75 second creative ident trailer to be screened at an exclusive launch event in a yet to be announced Soho venue on April 24 as well as on the night.

The cast of We Will Rock You, currently playing at the Dominion Theatre, will also make a very special performance, alongside a genuine Eurovision act. In previous years, Bucks Fizz, Katrina and the Waves, Scooch and Javine Hylton have added additional Eurovision magic to the proceedings.

Russell Grant, television astrologer, Strictly Come Dancer and occasional Wizard of Oz, heads a panel of celebrity judges that have previously included Graham Norton, Cheryl Baker (Bucks Fizz), Sally Ann Triplett (Bardo), Katrina Leskanich (Katrina & The Waves), Arlene Phillips, Frances Ruffelle, Sheridan Smith, Justin Lee Collins, Heart 106.2’s Toby Anstis, and producer David Ian.

The show is hosted by Richard Gauntlett.

TheatreMAD (THEATRE: Make A Difference, formerly West End Cares and Theatrecares), celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2012 and is a member of the fundraising family of The Make A Difference Trust which brings together the British Entertainment Community and its audiences to raise funds to support people living with HIV and AIDS, and those members of the entertainment industry facing hardship as a result of a long term critical illness, and who, as a result, are unable to work.

Steven Inman, Director of TheatreMAD, said: “This amazing one off show, gets bigger and better every year, but is only possible because of the incredible support we receive from the theatre community for our work. This year we saw the number of people living with HIV in the UK hit 100,000, with 1 in 4 unaware of their status. Events like this help us to make a real difference in thousands of people’s lives.”

Tickets: £25, £35, £45, £60 (includes top price event ticket and after show party), £100 (VIP ticket includes pre show celebrity champagne reception, top price event ticket and after show party). All are available from the box office, on 0844 847 2510 or online at www.ticketmaster.co.uk/.

Time: 11.30pm to 4.30am (running time is approximately 2 and a half to 3 hours with one interval).