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Actress dashes 150 miles to save performance of Evita after leading lady and understudy fall ill | Ents & Arts News

An actress travelled more than 150 miles to ensure a performance of Evita the musical went ahead.

Jessica Daley travelled from her home in Middlesbrough to the Curve theatre in Leicester to step into the starring role of Eva Peron after both the leading lady and her understudy were too unwell to perform.

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

Luckily, the performer was already familiar with the role, having led the international tour of Evita to “high acclaim” in 2019.

She has also performed in stage versions of Billy Elliot, An Officer And A Gentleman and The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Audiences stood on their feet at the end of Ms Daley’s performance, with the theatre sharing a picture of the actress taking a bow.

“She is a diamond – a huge round of applause for Jessica Daley!” the theatre wrote on X.

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

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

One of those who thanked Ms Daley was Sir Tim Rice, who co-wrote the musical about the life of Argentine political leader Eva Peron in 1978.

The hit musical was then turned into a film in 1996 with Madonna in the title role.

Pop star Madonna in the role of Evita Peron and actor Jonathan Pryce as Gen. Juan Peron wave from the balcony of the Casa R osada presidential palace during the filming of Director Alan Parker's "Evita" i n Buenos Aires March 9. Madonna mimed the hit "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from the famous balcony while the song, which she recorded last year, rang out from loudspeakers over the square below. Argentine President-Menem agreed to allow the balcony, where Evita actually spoke, to be used in the
Pop star Madonna in the role of Evita Peron

“Many congratulations Jessica! Just as important, many thanks,” Sir Tim wrote.

“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.”

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

Mary Poppins actress Glynis Johns has died | Ents & Arts News

Glynis Johns, the actress who played Mrs Banks in 1964 film Mary Poppins, has died.

The British actress, born in South Africa, was 100 years old.

She died on Thursday at an assisted living home in Los Angeles of natural causes, her manager said.

Mitch Clem added: “Glynis powered her way through life with intelligence, wit, and a love for performance, affecting millions of lives.”

Glynis Johns (centre) starred in the film Mary Poppins. Pic: Rex/Everett/Shutterstock
Glynis Johns (centre) starred in the film Mary Poppins. Pic: Rex/Everett/Shutterstock

“She had a wit that could stop you in your tracks powered by a heart that loved deeply and purely,” he said.

“Today is a somber day for Hollywood. Not only do we mourn the passing of our dear Glynis, but we mourn the end of the golden age of Hollywood.”

Johns is best known for appearing in Mary Poppins, in which she played suffragette Mrs Winifred Banks, the mother who reconnects with her children thanks to Julie Andrews’ magical nanny.

Her star turn in the classic film included her performance of the rousing song “Sister Suffragette”.

Glynis Johns in Mary Poppins in 1964. Pic: Rex/Glasshouse Images/Shutterstock
Glynis Johns in Mary Poppins in 1964. Pic: Rex/Glasshouse Images/Shutterstock

Wearing a blue dress with white gloves, a straw hat and a ‘Votes for Women’ sash, Johns sings: “We’re clearly soldiers in petticoats, and dauntless crusaders for women’s votes.”

Mary Poppins won five Oscars from 13 nominations and remains one of the most enduringly popular movies made by Walt Disney.

Throughout her decades-spanning career, Johns took on multi-faceted roles and became known for being a perfectionist.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m not interested in playing the role on only one level,” she said in 1990. “The whole point of first-class acting is to make a reality of it. To be real. And I have to make sense of it in my own mind in order to be real.”

Johns played Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music, for which she won a Tony in 1973 for Stephen Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns – but lost the part in the film version to Elizabeth Taylor in 1977.

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Glynis Johns in 1982. Pic: AP
Glynis Johns in 1982. Pic: AP

Sondheim wrote Send in the Clowns to suit Johns’ distinctive, husky voice and she later said: “I’ve had other songs written for me, but nothing like that. It’s the greatest gift I’ve ever been given in the theatre.”

In 1960, she was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for The Sundowners. Her final acting role was in the 1999 film Superstar, starring Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell.

Johns was the fourth generation of a theatrical family. She was born to her actor father and pianist mother in South Africa, as they were on tour there at the time of her birth.

By the age of 12, she was a dancer and became an actor in London’s West End by the time she was 14 years old.

Her big screen breakthrough came when she played the titular mermaid in the 1948 comedy Miranda.

Johns had one son, who died in 2007.

Doreen Mantle: One Foot In The Grave actress dies aged 97 | Ents & Arts News

Actress Doreen Mantle, best known for her role in the BBC comedy series One Foot In The Grave, has died aged 97.

She died “peacefully at home”, her agent said.

Mantle starred as Jean Warboys, the annoying friend of Victor Meldrew’s wife, in One Foot In The Grave.

John Stape [Graeme Hawley] arrives home to find Fiz Stape [Jennie McAlpine] talking with Joy Fishwick [Doreen Mantle].

Doreen Mantle (left) playing Joy Fishwick in Coronation Street in 2010 with Jennie McAlpine and Graeme Hawley

She also appeared in the BBC detective series Father Brown, as well as Doctors.

Mantle also played Joy Fishwick in ITV soap Coronation Street.

Her other credits include My Family, Dirk Gently, Jam And Jerusalem, Doc Martin, Jonathan Creek and Yentl.

She won an Olivier Award in 1979 for her role in Death Of A Salesman in the National Theatre.

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John Stape [Graeme Hawley] covers Joy Fishwick's [Doreen Mantle] mouth. He's shocked when he's sees she's dead.

Graeme Hawley and Doreen Mantle in a 2011 episode of Coronation Street

Mantle also featured in her one-woman show My Truth and Reconciliation, and appeared in 84 Charing Cross Road at The Ambassadors Theatre, as well as classic comedy Billy Liar at the Duke of York’s Theatre.

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In a statement, her agent said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our beloved client and much-loved stage, screen, and radio actress Doreen Mantle, aged 97.

“She died peacefully at home. She is survived by her two sons, four grandchildren and one brother.”

Meg Johnson: ‘Kind and wonderful’ Emmerdale actress dies | Ents & Arts News

Emmerdale actress Meg Johnson – who played Pearl Ladderbanks on the ITV soap – has died, her family have said.

A joint statement from Johnson’s family, talent agency Jorg Betts Associates and ITV Emmerdale said: “It is with great sadness that we announce that actress Meg Johnson passed away peacefully yesterday evening surrounded by her family.

“Meg was a kind and wonderful lady, full of warmth and always with a twinkle in her eye.”

The statement added that Johnson had dementia for the last few years, but “battled on personally and professionally regardless”.

Johnson played Pearl Ladderbanks in Emmerdale from 2003.