2015, London Royal Albert Hall

13th November, 2015


HRH PRINCE HARRY, PRINCE HENRY OF WALES KCVO

Executive Producers, Royal Variety Charity: Laurie Mansfield & Giles Cooper

Creative Director, ITV Studios:  Lee Connolly

Executive Producer, ITV Studios:  Fiona Clark

Director, ITV Studios:  Julia Knowles

The Royal Variety Performance returned to the magnificent Royal Albert Hall for only the second time in the show's history and was attended by HRH Prince Harry for the very first time.

2015 was also the year that the EABF changed its name to the Royal Variety Charity for on 26 June, the Executive Committee of the EABF met for an historic Annual General Meeting. Chairman Giles Cooper had previously gained approval from the Deputy Prime Minister's Office to change the name of the charity and Buckingham Palace and the Cabinet Office followed by awarding the charity the honour of official use of the title 'Royal' within the charity's name. The Executive Committee subsequently voted on this day to adopt the change of name with immediate effect.

In terms of profit for the Royal Variety Charity the 2015 Royal Variety Performance proved by far the most successful in the history of the event. Chairman Giles Cooper commented, 'the size of the Albert Hall helped, but primarily we 'priced the house' more agressively and this combined with the introduction of selling tickets online for the first time resulted in 2015 being an enormous success',

Award-winning actor and comic Jack Whitehall (age 27) became the youngest ever host of the Royal Variety introducing performers from around the world, including music legends Sir Elton John and Jeff Lynne's ELO. Pop superstars included Kylie Minogue and Little Mix, as well as the show's opening performance from the world's biggest-ever boy band, One Direction; in what was billed their last performance before taking a year's break.

A highlight included a magical show stopping moment from the cast of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi-award winning musical Mary Poppins, when Mary flew to the stage suspended by a wire stretching the entire length of the Albert Hall! Also taking to the stage was a spectacular water based acrobatic performance from the internationally renowned Cirque Du Soleil and Britain’s Got Talent winners Jules, Matisse and Friends.

More music came from the King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin, Irish legends The Corrs and from the USA, The Killers front-man Brandon Flowers, Josh Groban and country singer Kacey Musgraves. Comedy came from Chris Ramsey, Romesh Ranganathan, Matt Forde and the cast of the Play That Goes Wrong who stole the show with some surprise star cameos including participation from Kylie Minogue, Josh Groban and Jack Whitehall!

The Queen of British soul Beverly Knight MBE performed the national anthem to kick off the show and later in the night sang a number from the record breaking musical Cats.

Before the show Jack Whitehall commented, “It's a tremendous honour to be hosting the Royal Variety Performance. Having been lucky enough to perform for Prince Charles and Prince William in previous years I look forward to the opportunity of sailing a little too close to the wind in the presence of Prince Harry this time round. It's my third time on the show and I still am yet to perform in front of the Queen, she must be really desperate not to see my act.”

SHOW PROGRAMME:

Host and Performers

Jack Whitehall - Host

With his boundless energy and razor-sharp wit, Jack Whitehall is regarded as one of the UK’s most exciting and accomplished comedy talents. His meteoric rise was kick-started in 2009 when he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. After years of hard work and dedication, Jack performed his debut arena tour in 2014, becoming the youngest solo comic to play the O2. “It’s a tremendous honour to be hosting The Royal Variety Performance. Having been lucky enough to perform for Prince Charles and Prince William in previous years, I look forward to the opportunity of sailing a little too close to the wind in the presence of Prince Harry this time round. It’s my third time on the show and I still am yet to perform in front of the Queen - she must be really desperate not to see my act.”

Beverley Knight MBE

Queen of British Soul, this singer, songwriter and record producer was awarded an MBE in 2007 for her services to music and charity and recently made a flawless transition to the West End. “It is a great honour to be asked to participate in The Royal Variety Performance and to be performing the iconic ‘Memory’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’. As with the rest of the nation I grew up watching the Great and the Good shine on that stage. I cannot believe I am about to join such a prestigious list.”

Brandon Flowers

As front man of The Killers, Brandon Flowers was catapulted into the international spotlight in the early 2000s as the band quickly established themselves at the forefront of pop music.  Brandon has announced that his gig in London on November 16th will be the last chance for UK fans to see him live until he next returns with The Killers. With that in mind, we’re fortunate to be welcoming him at The Royal Albert Hall tonight.

Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey is one of the hottest rising comics in the UK.  “As a Northerner I never thought I’d ever get to see a member of the Royal Family, let alone perform in front of one… to me they are almost mythical. It’s an absolute honour and a privilege to be part of such a prestigious show. This is also a personal victory for me in my marriage as my wife met the Queen when she was 7 and has never shut up about it.”

Cirque Du Soleil

Since its formation in 1984, 150 million spectators have witnessed a Cirque du Soleil show. The company have wowed audiences with their visionary theatrical creations in over 300 cities, in more than 40 countries, across six continents. “It is a great honour for ‘Amaluna’ to be performing for His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales. The Royal Variety Performance is an institution in the UK and we can’t wait to be on stage with all the other acts”.

The Corrs

20 years on, and 40 million album sales later, The Corrs are an iconic Brit Award-winning Irish band. The four siblings rose to prominence with their debut, multi platinum album, ‘Forgiven Not Forgotten’, in 1995. “We are so looking forward to performing at The Royal Variety and it will be such an honour to play for Prince Harry.”

Jeff Lynne's ELO

Jeff Lynne’s ELO have released numerous gold and platinum albums during their highly successful career, firmly establishing themselves as one of the most important bands in rock and roll history. Their iconic style, blending rock and pop  “I always wondered what it must be like to play on The Royal Variety Performance, I’m really excited and thrilled to be asked.”

Josh Groban

Josh Groban is an internationally renowned singer, songwriter and actor whose baritone voice is instantly recognisable and unparalleled among his peers. With worldwide record and DVD sales surpassing 30 million, the multi-platinum artist has scored seven Top 10 albums in the US to date.  “The Royal Variety Performance was one of my first television appearances in the UK, at the beginning of my career and I’m always honoured and excited to return to this special night.”

Jules, Matisse & Friends

Jules, Matisse and Friends stole the nation’s hearts when they won this year’s series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ earning esteemed praise from all four judges.  “To be invited to perform at The Royal Variety Performance for His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales is the greatest honour imaginable.”

Kacey Musgraves

27 year old Kacey Musgraves is country music’s biggest new star. Released in 2013, her major label debut ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ won a Grammy for Best Country Album the following year in a contest that saw Musgraves ranked against the likes of Taylor Swift. “I’m really excited to be bringing a little bit of Texas to The Royal Variety Performance! I absolutely love performing in the UK so it’s such an honour to be here. I know it will be a special evening.”

Kylie Monogue

A real testament to her legendary status, tonight marks Kylie’s 6th appearance on The Royal Variety Performance. In 1987 Kylie released her first single ‘Locomotion’. It went to No. 1 in Australia and hit the top five throughout the world. She has since released 12 albums, multiple live recordings, TV and DVD packages and 56 hit singles. “It’s a huge honour to appear on The Royal Variety Performance and to have been invited back six times over my career is truly overwhelming.  I always enjoy the uniquely special atmosphere of this show and tonight will be no exception.”

Little Mix

Since defying the odds by becoming the first and only group to win ‘The X Factor’ in 2011, Little Mix have not stopped flourishing. Their debut single ‘Wings’ rocketed to No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and they went on to make US chart history when their album ‘DNA’ entered the Billboard chart at No. 4, making them the first ever British girl group to feature in the top five with a debut album release. “We are so incredibly honoured to be asked to perform at The Royal Variety Performance for the first time. We’re so excited and we can’t wait!!!”

Mary Poppins

Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi award-winning musical production of Mary Poppins has triumphantly and spectacularly brought to the stage the magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane. To celebrate the continuing international success of the production we are joined tonight by the ‘Practically Perfect’ star of Mary Poppins, Zizi Strallen and, stepping in time from Austria, David Boyd who is Vienna’s current ‘Bert’ together with the two young stars of the U.K. touring production.

Matt Forde

Matt Forde started performing comedy aged 16 and has now established himself as Britain’s leading political comedian. Since 2011, Matt has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, returning annually to sell-out shows. “It’s an honour to be a part of The Royal Variety Performance and to perform at The Royal Albert Hall for the third time. (The first two were in the side room, but don’t tell anyone).”

One Direction

Formed and launched in 2010 on ‘The X Factor’, One Direction comprises Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. Their debut single, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ went straight to No. 1 in the UK charts and their debut album hit the top spot in 15 different countries, making them the first British group ever to have a debut album top the Billboard. “It is always a privilege to perform at The Royal Variety Performance, especially alongside legends like Sir Elton John. It’s a show that has something for everyone and we are really excited to be a part of it.”

The Play That Goes Wrong

Olivier Award Winning Best New Comedy, ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, took theatres by storm when it landed in the West End last year and has continued to hurl its gleeful audiences into hysterics since. Adopting and revitalising the classic ‘play within a play’ format, this highly physical and silly comedy features cast and crew of the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ attempting to stage a 1920s murder mystery – and everything that can go wrong, does. “We are shocked to have been asked to take part in tonight’s Royal Variety Performance and hope to high heaven not to ruin anyone’s evening.”

Ricky Martin

Grammy Award winner, Ricky Martin became a global superstar upon the release of his World Cup anthem ‘La Copa de la Vida’, which reached No. 1 in over 70 countries. “What a privilege to have been invited to perform at the world renowned Royal Variety Performance. I am so excited to be returning to the UK for this special occasion.”

Romesh Ranganathan

The last few years have been incredible for Ranganathan with his two critically acclaimed Edinburgh Festival shows, ‘Rom Wasn’t Built In A Day’ and ‘Rom Com’ being nominated for the coveted Edinburgh Festival Awards for Best Show 2014 and Best Newcomer in 2013.  “I’ve long suspected that I originate from Sri-Lankan Royalty, so being able to perform at The Royal Variety Performance feels like destiny. It is a huge honour, and I can’t quite believe I’ve been asked. I’m hoping that my booking isn’t the result of an admin error. I’m delighted to be involved either way.”

Sir Elton John CBE

Elton John, CBE, is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed and successful solo artists. With over 250 million record sales worldwide, Elton has achieved 37 gold and 27 multi-platinum albums, holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time (‘Candle In The Wind 1997’) and has played more than 3,500 concerts in over 80 countries. Elton has received multiple awards including Grammys and Brits and composed the Tony Award winning production ‘Billy Elliot The Musical’ plus the iconic film and theatrical musical ‘The Lion King’, with lyricist Sir Tim Rice. In 1994 Elton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 1998, received a knighthood for services to music and charity. We are thrilled to welcome Elton John back tonight for his fourth Royal Variety Performance, performing a special preview from his new studio album ‘Wonderful Crazy Night’, due for release early next year. “It’s always an honour to be on the bill for this prestigious night of entertainment. I’m particularly excited this year, as it will give me the opportunity to play new material for the public for the very first time.”

2015 Royal Variety Performance Programme, Show & Aftershow ticket

Kylie Minogue
Royal Variety 2015

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Jeff Lynne's ELO
Royal Variety 2015

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Ricky Martin
Royal Variety 2015

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Sir Elton John, CBE
Royal Variety 2015

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The Play That Goes Wrong
Royal Variety 2015

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The Play That Goes Wrong
Royal Variety 2015

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The Corrs
Royal Variety 2015

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Romesh Ranganathan
Royal Variety 2015

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Matt Forde
Royal Variety 2015

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Josh Groban
Royal Variety 2015

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Beverley Knight
Royal Variety 2015

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Brandon Flowers
Royal Variety 2015

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Chris Ramsey
Royal Variety 2015

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Cirque du Soleil
Royal Variety 2015

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Jules, Matisse and Friends
Royal Variety 2015

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Little Mix
Royal Variety 2015

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Kacey Musgraves
Royal Variety 2015

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One Direction
Royal Variety 2015

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Mary Poppins musical
Royal Variety 2015

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