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A star-studded gala at Theatre Royal Drury Lane to celebrate the songs of Stephen Sondheim - a not-to-be-missed spectacular
A star-studded gala at Theatre Royal Drury Lane to celebrate the songs of Stephen Sondheim - a not-to-be-missed spectacular
A star-studded gala at Theatre Royal Drury Lane to celebrate the songs of Stephen Sondheim - a not-to-be-missed spectacular
334 backers pledged £114,976 to help bring this project to life.

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Sondheim 85th birthday gala at Theatre Royal Drury Lane

£114,976

334

* * * UPDATE: New supporters include Daniel Evans, Jenna Russell, Anne Reid, Liz Robertson, Tim Flavin, Rula Lenska * * *

Enjoy the wonderful songs of Stephen Sondheim, performed by some of the leading lights of the West End, at London's beautiful Theatre Royal Drury Lane... 

To celebrate the 85th birthday of the composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, The Stephen Sondheim Society, in association with Richard Douglas Productions, would like to honour their patron with a star-studded charity gala at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Sunday 25th October. The renowned Musical Director Gareth Valentine – Follies in Concert (Royal Albert Hall), City of Angels (Donmar) Into The Woods (Regent's Park) – will, schedule permitting, conduct the full-sized orchestra, and the leading lights of the West End, plus guests from across the pond, will give their thanks to Mr Sondheim, who has given his blessing to the event.

This unforgettable evening of song and dance acknowledges the outstanding contribution that Sondheim has made to modern musical theatre. And when better to do this than in his 85th year?

30th Anniversary Side by Side by Sondheim
30th Anniversary Side by Side by Sondheim
Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Theatre Royal Drury Lane

We're raising funds for the gala by selling advance tickets directly from this website. The theatre is reserved, so to guarantee a seat at this once-in-a-lifetime event, book your tickets NOW by choosing the reward level that suits you. Even if you can't make the event, we'd appreciate the support, so we've thrown in a few extras, including the chance to own a hand-numbered, limited-edition artwork from actor and renowned caricaturist Clive Francis, souvenir brochures signed by the cast, annual memberships to the Stephen Sondheim Society, and even Sondheim-inspired mugs!

"Hey, Old Friend!" by Clive Francis. Limited-edition print
"Hey, Old Friend!" by Clive Francis. Limited-edition print

The Stephen Sondheim Society is a charitable trust established to promote the public knowledge and appreciation of the works of Mr Sondheim, and to advance the public education in music, particularly – but not exclusively – to young people by holding an annual music competition.

For this special one-night-only gala, the Society is teaming up with Richard Douglas Productions - the creative team behind successes such as the 30th Anniversary Side By Side By Sondheim (for the Shooting Star Children's Hospice), Children Will Listen (ChildLine), Follies In Concert (Starlight Children's Foundation) and Barbara Cook & Friends (World AIDS Day).

The Sondheim 85th Gala will see a host of well-known faces from the musical theatre scene gather for a one-off performance. The calibre of gala performers is always high, and previous guest stars have included the likes of Imelda Staunton, Dame Judi Dench, John Barrowman, Adrian Lester, Ruthie Henshall, Elaine Paige, among many others. We can't leave anyone out, so thanks to the following for their support in the past:

Previous galas
Previous galas

Any profits from the gala will be donated to The Silver Line – the helpline for older people established by Dame Esther Rantzen DBE. This charity provides invaluable assistance to vulnerable older people, helping to break through the stigma of loneliness and isolation, and tackling the problems of abuse and neglect. The Silver Line Helpline provides three functions to support older people:

  • a befriending service to combat loneliness
  • a means of empowering those who may be suffering abuse and neglect, if appropriate to transfer them to specialist services to protect them from harm
  • a sign-posting service to link them into the many, varied services that exist around the country

So we urge you to secure your place at this event by booking your tickets now and helping us to raise the funds we need.

NB Tickets will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, and you will be automatically allocated the best available seats. NB: box prices are quoted per box, so might offer better value for smaller groups. For multiple seats, you can simply increase the pledge value accordingly - i.e., double the pledge value for two seats. If you have any accessibility requirements or preferences, please outline this when submitting your pledge.

Seating plan: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Seating plan: Theatre Royal, Drury Lane

Risks and challenges

Organising such an ambitious - and one-off - concert is a large ask, and as with most theatre productions on this scale, it's expensive, requiring a lot of financial commitment up front.

We understand that we're asking you to book in advance of the show without a fully confirmed cast list, but our Producers' track record in staging spectacular West End extravaganzas is well proven, and we've had stellar support for previous events. If anything, this one-off UK birthday gala will attract even more well-known and respected performers, so you can expect the very best from the UK musical theatre scene... and, if we get the funding, perhaps even a Broadway star or two!

NB We are not explicitly raising funds for charity with this campaign - 100% of the money raised will go towards staging HEY OLD FRIENDS! But if the event is profitable, we pledge to donate these profits to The Silver Line, to support the outstanding work done by Dame Esther Rantzen and her team. We need your help up front, so please take this opportunity to secure your tickets now.

We're pre-selling all tickets for the event through this Kickstarter project, so if you want to be a part of this unique celebratory event then commit now.

Corporate sponsorship is available, so if you're a company looking for the complete package - seats, logos, advertising and inclusion in PR - then please secure your reward now. Seats at this landmark concert, in the heart of the West End, will make the perfect corporate gift, and you'll be supporting a fantastic cause in The Silver Line.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.55

    A BIG thank you from us and your name listed on a special acknowledgement page on SONDHEIM.ORG... Every £1 counts, so if you're a fan of Sondheim and you want to see this gala show in his honour, please give us what you can. We'll keep you informed every step of the way with exciting cast announcements, special guests and programme details.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    A digital copy of a specially commissioned Sondheim-themed birthday cryptic crossword
    + big thank you on the sondheim.org site

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    4 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $23

    Souvenir gala brochure
    + digital copy of a specially commissioned Sondheim-themed birthday cryptic crossword
    + big thank you on the sondheim.org site

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $39

    A copy of the gala commemorative brochure
    + a choice of a "Have some tea, my Lord, some chrysanthemum tea" or "The coffee cup, I think about you..." or "Another vodka stinger" mug

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    13 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $54

    Advanced booking: BALCONY (A–B or H–L)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £70 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first served basis.

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    Limited 25 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $70

    Advanced booking: BALCONY (C–G)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £90 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Limited 21 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $70

    Advanced booking: GRAND CIRCLE (r/v)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £90 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Limited 8 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $77

    One year's membership of The Stephen Sondheim Society
    + commemorative poster
    + souvenir brochure
    + mug of choice

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    10 backers
    £
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $93

    Advanced booking: GRAND CIRCLE (A–L)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £120 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Limited 82 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $155

    Advanced booking: ROYAL CIRCLE (J–L)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £200 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Limited 5 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $155

    Advanced booking: STALLS (T–ZZ)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £200 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $186

    Advanced booking: ROYAL CIRCLE (A–H)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £240 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Limited 33 backers
    £
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £120 or more About $186

    Advanced booking: STALLS (AA–S)

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £240 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Limited 46 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $232

    Advanced booking: STALLS (AA–S)
    + hand-numbered, limited edition print of the gala poster artwork by theatrical caricaturist Clive Francis
    + souvenir brochure
    + mug

    For multiple seats, amend the pledge amount accordingly (e.g., £300 for two seats at this section of the theatre). You will be allocated best available seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 40 backers
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    Pledge £200 or more About $310

    Advanced booking: BOX (M, N, O, P) - seats two (£100 per person)

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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
    £
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  16. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £400 or more About $620

    Advanced booking: BOX (EE, J, K, L) - seats four (£100 per person)

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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
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  17. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £500 or more About $775

    Advanced booking: BOX (C / CC) - seats four (£125 per person)

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  18. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £600 or more About $929

    Advanced booking: BOX (E) - seats six (£100 per person)

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    £
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  19. Reward no longer available

    Pledge £800 or more About $1,239

    Advanced booking: BOX (B / BB) - seats six (£133.33 per person)

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    £
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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,549

    Advanced booking: 2 premium seats in the stalls
    + visit to a rehearsal to meet the cast and creatives as they prepare for the show. This is your opportunity to meet some of the biggest and brightest names in the West End... and maybe even a Broadway star or two!
    + commemorative brochure
    + your name listed in the programme acknowledgements
    + limited-edition Clive Francis print (framed)

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    Limited 1 backer
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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,250 or more About $1,936

    Advanced booking:
    2 premium seats in the stalls
    + visit to a rehearsal to meet the cast and creatives as they prepare for the show. This is your opportunity to meet some of the biggest and brightest names in the West End... and maybe even a Broadway star or two!
    + framed poster signed by the cast and creatives
    + your name listed in the programme acknowledgements
    + souvenir brochure
    + limited-edition print by Clive Francis (framed)

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    Limited 1 backer
    £
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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,500 or more About $2,324

    Advanced booking: 2 premium front stalls seats
    + VIP invitation to the aftershow party for a celebrity meet-and-greet, where you can rub shoulders with the cast and creatives
    + your name listed in the programme acknowledgements
    + commemorative brochure
    + limited-edition Clive Francis print (framed)

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    Limited 2 backers
    £
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  23. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $7,745

    Corporate event sponsorship:
    10 seats in the front stalls
    + your logo on the cover of the programme
    + a full-page colour advert in the programme
    + acknowledgement as a sponsor in all PR materials
    + commemorative brochure*
    + limited edition Clive Francis print* (framed)
    + mug of your choice*
    (*one for each guest)

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    Limited 5 backers
    £
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Funding period

- (42 days)