Len in good Company

Broadway legend Len Cariou is in London for this weekend's Night of 1000 Stars at the Royal Albert Hall.

This fundraising event celebrates the work of pre–eminent producer and director and long–time Sondheim collaborator Harold Prince, whose credits include many of the major Broadway musical theatre productions seen since the 1960s. These include Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd in which Len Cariou played the leading roles.

Lovers of musical theatre are in for a real treat. "We're going to do selections from lots of Hal Prince's musicals," explains Cariou. "He directed both Night Music and Sweeney Todd and I am going to do 'The Ballad of Sweeney Todd' with the ensemble, [Roscoe] Weismann's introduction 'Beautiful Girls' from Follies, then we're going to do selections from Night Music and I am going to sing 'Send In The Clowns'."

"Send In The Clowns" is of course Desirée's second act solo but there is design, and a little irony, to it being sung by Cariou on Sunday night: originally the song in that scene was supposed to be Fredrik's. The story goes that during rehearsals Sondheim went off to write the long–awaited eleven o'clock number for Cariou's character, but after a couple of days came back with "Send In The Clowns" for Desirée. Cariou dined out on that story quite a bit and now makes the song his own in cabaret and concert performances.

On stage alongside Len Cariou for this sparkling event is a host of musical theatre talent including performers from West End shows The Bodyguard, Chicago, Wicked, Mamma Mia! and The Phantom of the Opera and, from Denmark, Christian Lund.

Music will be provided by The City of London Philharmonic, Stephen Disley will play the Royal Albert Hall's magnificent organ and special appearances are promised by Brian Conley and Robin Cousins. Alan Titchmarsh is the evening's compère.