Date: 7 April 2005
Originally published in: Manchester Evening News (UK)
Written by: Carmel Thomason
As fans of The Who continue to pack out Manchester’s Palace Theatre this week to see Pinball Wizard Jonathan Wilkes in Tommy, the venue is planning another treat for fans of the seventies band. Three of the rock opera’s original 1996 West End cast, Kim Wilde, Hal Fowler and Steve Deveraux, are re-uniting on stage for a new show, Sunday Night At The Manchester Palace.
The celeb-packed event, which takes a look at the history of musicals, is to raise money for charity DebRA, which supports sufferers of the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa.
Pete Townshend is on tour at that time and so is unable to join the bill, which includes Bonnie Langford, Tracie Bennet, Coronation Street’s Julia Howarth (Claire Peacock) and John Thomson. However, he is donating one of his guitars to the event’s charity auction, which will be signed personally for whoever places the highest bid.
Deveraux, explains: “We all had a great time working on Tommy. Kim and Hal fell in love on the show and are still married, with two lovely children. I’ve since done a couple of gigs with Pete and we have all stayed firm friends. When we were planning to do the show in Manchester, I spoke to Pete about coming to perform. The date fell when he was just setting off on tour. But he still wanted to be involved, so he’s sending one of his best guitars, which he has played on stage, to be auctioned on the night, and it will be signed personally for whoever bids for it.”
Other auction prizes up for grabs include a chance for four children to watch Manchester City train and meet the players afterwards, a VIP night out at West End show Mary Poppins, including supper at celeb-haunt The Ivy with two of the show’s stars, a VIP day out at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show with Kim Wilde, and a VIP package for two at rugby league giants Wigan Warriors, including meeting the players and taking home a signed shirt and ball.
Organisers are taking bids before the event. For details of these and other prizes, call Sue Powaza on 01344 771961.