When Celebs on Stage Get Sick: The Most Memorable West End Theatre Moments

When it comes to live theatre, anything can happen. And sometimes, that means actors and actresses getting sick mid-performance. Whether it’s a sudden illness or a pre-existing condition, celebs on stage are not immune to health issues. Here are some of the most memorable West End theatre moments when celebs got sick:

  1. Alfie Boe in Les Miserables During a 2011 performance of Les Miserables, Alfie Boe, who played the lead role of Jean Valjean, was struck with a stomach bug mid-show. Despite feeling ill, Boe continued to perform, even throwing up backstage during one of the musical numbers. His dedication to the role earned him praise from audiences and critics alike.
  2. Sheridan Smith in Funny Girl In 2016, Sheridan Smith was forced to pull out of several performances of Funny Girl due to stress and exhaustion. She had been under intense pressure while filming a TV series at the same time as performing in the musical. Smith returned to the stage after a break, but her absence made headlines and raised concerns about the well-being of performers in the industry.
  3. Stephen Fry in Twelfth Night During a 2012 production of Twelfth Night, Stephen Fry, who played Malvolio, fell ill and had to leave the show mid-performance. The play was stopped for about 15 minutes while the producers found a replacement. In the end, the understudy took over and the show went on.
  4. Understudy in The Phantom of the Opera In 2017, the lead actor of The Phantom of the Opera, Ben Forster, fell ill mid-performance. The show was stopped and the understudy, Kieran Brown, took over the role of the Phantom. Brown received a standing ovation for his performance, which was praised by both the audience and the cast.
  5. Martine McCutcheon in My Fair Lady In 2001, Martine McCutcheon, who played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as ME. She was forced to take a break from the show for several weeks while she recovered. Despite the setback, McCutcheon returned to the stage and continued to perform until the show’s run ended.
  6. Sierra Boggess in The Little Mermaid During a 2008 performance of The Little Mermaid, Sierra Boggess, who played Ariel, lost her voice mid-show. She was forced to lip-sync the rest of the performance while another actress sang offstage. Despite the setback, Boggess was praised for her professionalism and dedication to the show.

In conclusion, while celebs on stage getting sick can be disruptive to a show, it’s also a reminder of the challenges and dedication required in live theatre. These memorable moments show the resilience of actors and actresses, as well as the importance of understudies and teamwork in the industry. It’s also a reminder that even celebrities are not immune to health issues and the toll of performing night after night.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
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