MAKE A BIG WISH COME TRUE
When Mike and I were invited by Delfont Mackintosh to the launch of the musical BIG, I didn't realise that I was going to learn about the Make a Wish Charity. This charity exists to grant - as far as it can - a wish for children who are fighting for their lives, such as a visit to Hamley's or meeting their favourite football team.
But Make a Wish was the first thing that Michael Rose, producer of BIG, told us about. He has taken the huge Dominion Theatre for 9 weeks, and has pledged that he will donate £1 for every ticket sold to Make a Wish for the entire run of the show. The show's stars - the tall, slender Jay McGuiness, the stunningly glamorous Kimberley Walsh, much-loved Matthew Kelly and the effervescent Wendi Peters - all nodded in support, as Michael introduced Nicky Wrench from the charity.
Nicky revealed that she herself had been a Wish child. As a young teenager, she had a form of leukaemia and had to spend 10 months in hospital. This devastating experience came at the difficult time for her family, as it coincided with her older sister starting college. This left them all feeling drained and disaffected from each other. Nicky was offered a wish, and although her main ambition was to meet Westlife, she put that aside to ask for a family holiday, with the proviso that her father wouldn't fly. Make a Wish made it possible for the family to go on a cruise, and Nicky said that though they set out as 4 separate people, they returned as a family. This was just one very personal example of the healing power of making wishes come true. Nicky now works full time for the charity. Michael Rose immediately pledged further support to the charity, in the form of a premiere with proceeds to grant more Wishes.
Then it was down to business. Jay and Kimberely came to the microphones to sing us the big romantic number from the show - but as Jay started his second verse, he grinned at Kimberley and turned to the musical director, and asked, "Is this the right lyric?" "No," admonished Kimberley, with a smile."You're singing my verse. He's in another show in the West End at the moment," she explained. "There's a lot in his head." Laughing, they started the song again. It will be a hit - and you may need to brush a tear from your eye.
We wanted to tell Matthew Kelly how much we'd enjoyed Carousel, but we couldn't get near him, or Jay or Kimberley, who were surrounded by selfie-seekers. We had an interesting chat with the MD, and with the very friendly Wendi Peters, who has lightened up many shows over the years. We could have danced on the giant keyboard, just as Tom Hanks does in the movie, but we decided we were too big to do that!
An added bonus was that we then had a screening of the movie BIG - no, neither of us had seen it before, and it is as delightful as we'd been told.
Book now for BIG - and Make a Wish!