West End stars unite for 'Yolanda' charity show

By Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Feb 13 2014 12:42 PM | Updated as of Feb 13 2014 11:57 PM

LONDON - A special one-night-only concert "You'll Never Walk Alone" will unite some of the biggest names on television and stars in London's West End in response to the Philippines typhoon appeal by the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC).

The West End is famed for its live shows and theatre. This is also the place that paved the way for the recognition of many Filipino performers.

On March 2, Filipino talents will once again make history at the heart of mainstream professional theater.

ABS-CBN Europe had the privilege of getting a glimpse of the rehearsals of "You'll Never Walk Alone", a show to be hosted by TV personality Gok Wan, and will bring together some of the biggest names in London's West End and on screen.

The Filipino organizers of the show told ABS-CBN Europe that it all began with images of the magnitude of devastation of super typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) in the Philippines.

"When we saw everything on BBC, you want to help straight away. The only thing I knew was performance, and I thought we have a lot of Filipinos in the UK, especially in the West End. It wasn't difficult for people to say yes to help," said Irene Alano-Rhodes, organizer and performer of "You'll Never Walk Alone".

They started the appeal on social media and approached Miss Saigon producer, Cameron Mackintosh.

"They replied right away saying that someone will get in touch with you and they already had a theater in mind straight away- the Queens Theater. You look for a date and find a producer. And they were guiding us what we needed to do," Rhodes said.

"Idea namin noon, konting Pinoy lang mag i-invite ng guest tapos palaki ng palaki yung idea kasi na involve na yung producer, si Paul Spicer," added Junix Inocian, a West End artist and former Miss Saigon cast.

"You'll Never Walk Alone" will showcase various acts to include Joseph Apostol (BBC's The Voice), Cynthia Erivo (I Can't Sing!), Danielle Hope (winner of BBC's Over the Rainbow), Francine Lewis (Britain's Got Talent), Hugh Maynard (Miss Saigon), Pasha and Katya (Strictly Come Dancing, English actress Joana Riding, and some of the stars of Miss Saigon and Avenue Q, a group of Filipino performers, and many more.

"This performance is to keep awareness and to keep the spirit and the heart of the Filipinos alive and to promote and reveal the talent of Filipinos and bring it together with our theatrical community in the West End," said Jacqui Sanchez, director of "You'll Never Walk Alone".

The artists who will perform for free are happy to be part of charitable cause.

"It's my pleasure to be doing it, to be honest, and it's all for a good cause. If it helps the Philippines get over this, it will all be worth it," said performer Julian Essex-Spurrier.

Tickets for "You'll Never Walk Alone" are now on sale.