07 January 2024

Actress dashes more than 150 miles to save musical after stars get ill

07 January 2024

An actress travelled more than 150 miles to ensure the show went on after both the leading lady and understudy became ill and could not perform in a musical.

Jessica Daley travelled from her home in Middlesbrough to the Curve theatre in Leicester to sing the starring role of Eva Peron in a 7.30pm performance of Evita on Saturday.

The theatre had spent the day trying to find a replacement and Daley responded to the call, arriving to sing the demanding role from the side of the stage while the rest of the cast performed.

Martha Kirby and her understudy Chumisa Dornford-May were too ill to go on, although Dornford-May has since recovered and will return to the stage for Sunday’s performance.

The theatre shared a picture of Daley receiving a standing ovation, alongside the words: “She is a diamond – a huge round of applause for Jessica Daley!

“@jessicacaca7 joined us this evening to perform as Eva Peron, meaning our production of Evita could go ahead.

“Here she is receiving a well deserved standing ovation from our loyal and supportive audiences.”

Ms Daley replied saying: “A moment. Lord”, with a crying face emoji, and has pinned the post to her X account.

Audience members replied to Curve’s post to thank Daley.

“Amazing performance…so glad that the show could go on! Thank you Jessica…what a star!!” said one, while another wrote: “She was amazing, as were the whole cast. Thank you, Curve, for pulling out all the stops to put on the show this evening. Special thanks to @jessicacaca7 for being so courageous. Brilliant performance.”

In 2019, Ms Daley led the international tour of Evita to “high acclaim”. She has also performed in stage versions of Billy Elliot, An Officer And A Gentleman and The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Tim Rice wrote the musical about the life of Argentine political leader Eva Peron in 1978, which was turned into a film in 1996 with Madonna in the title role.

Sir Tim took to X to congratulate Daley on her performance.

He wrote: “Many congratulations Jessica!

“Just as important, many thanks.

“Show was going great guns anyway but hats off to all the company supporting your brilliance superbly when 2 terrific Evas were unwell. @Jessicacaca7 @CurveLeicester.

“Friends said it was an unforgettable performance.”

She replied with the words: “Lord above thank you boss!!! An absolute honour to sing your wonderful words again.”

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