There’s just one week left until this year’s Royal Variety Performance, the major concert that takes place at the Royal Albert Hall in London and the first since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The first show was held in 1912, at the Palace Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue and had King George V and Queen Mary in attendance. Profits went to the Variety Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, and so the tradition began. Now, 110 years later, some of the biggest artists, musicians and entertainers gather for one night to raise money for the Royal Variety Charity, which works to help people in the world of entertainment.
With previous acts including Sir Rod Stewart, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Bette Midler, Dame Shirley Bassey, James Blunt and Steps, and with senior royals in attendance, the performance always drums up excitement. Here’s everything to know about the upcoming show.
When is it taking place?
The live event is taking place on December 1. The performance will be broadcast on ITVX later in December.
Who is in the line-up?
There’s an absolutely stellar line-up, including legendary producer and composer Nile Rodgers along with his celebrated disco band Chic, chart-topping British artist George Ezra, Ellie Goulding, Eurovision favourite Sam Ryder and dance singer Becky Hill.
Plus, actor Rita Wilson and Grammy Award winner two-time Grammy winner Gregory Porter are set to sing a duet and Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds will peform their 1996 hit, Three Lions.
There will be a special version of Sing in honour of the late Queen, bringing together Andrew Lloyd Webber, Take That’s Gary Barlow, choirmaster Gareth Malone and members of the London Youth Choir. The song, which was written by Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, was first performed at the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012.
There will also be acrobatic feats from Giffords Circus and Cirque Du Soleil, a spell-binding performance from German magicians The Ehrlich Brothers, a soprano show from Fatma Said and comedy from Al Murray, Maisie Adam, Omid Djalili and Axel Blake.
Ttwo major theatre productions will also be present, with the cast of the musical Cabaret (who won seven Olivier awards) giving a special performance, and Disney’s Newsies, which opens the following week, performing an extract from the musical.
Who is hosting?
In early November ITVX shared the news that British comedian Lee Mack will host this year’s show, taking over from Alan Carr (who hosted the previous two years).
Mack said: “I was actually going to buy tickets for this year’s Royal Variety Performance, so not only is it a real honour to be asked to host it, it’s also saved me a few quid. I now just have to work out the logistics of introducing these brilliant acts and also rushing back to my seat to watch them.”
Which Royals are attending?
We are thrilled that our Royal guests of honour at this year's Royal Variety Performance will be Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar. pic.twitter.com/d1ocmN8pqh— Royal Variety (@RoyalVariety) November 16, 2022
Every year senior royals watch the major show, and this year the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Forfar are set to attend. While they may not be as familiar faces as Kate and Wills, now that Harry and Meghan have stepped back, and following the deaths of the Queen and Prince Phillip, they are picking up an increasing number of public-facing roles.
Prince Edward is Queen Elizabeth’s youngest child, and Sophie, his wife, was a public relations aficionado before their marriage.
Are there any tickets available?
Unfortunately not – tickets for the star-studded show are now completely sold out, but the performance will be screened on ITVX later in December.
Anything else to look out for?
The Queen was the patron of the Royal Albert Hall and visited the music hall 130 times over her reign. Traditionally, at the beginning of the show, attendees sing the National Anthem after members of the royal family have arrived. Given that it has been just months since the Queen’s death, both singing God Save the King and watching this year’s show are likely to feel particularly momentous.