DRAG diva deluxe Velma Celli invites you to “join me in my kitchen as I celebrate all my favourite witchy and misunderstood characters from movies and musicals” online on Saturday night.
The cabaret creation of York actor Ian Stroughair will be presenting Velma’s hit show, Equinox, Something Fabulous This Way Comes, from Case de Velma Celli.
“Equinox is a love letter to all the witches and magical creatures who have graced our stages and screens, from Wicked to The Wizard Of Oz and every belty enchantress from the coven in between,” says Velma, who will sing her siren songs at the witching hour, “when daylight and darkness are almost equal”.
Since going into self-isolation in Bishopthorpe lockdown after an Australian tour, Ian has performed two Velma shows online: a fundraiser for St Leonard’s Hospice on May 2 and Large & Lit In Lockdown on May 16.
Tickets for show number three, Equinox, cost £7 at: ticketweb.uk/event/velma-celli-equinox-live-stream-tickets/10604915. Around 30 minutes ahead of the 8pm start, audience members will receive a link to watch the performance, which can be streamed on a PC or internet-enabled smart TV.
Charles Hutchinson puts the bewitching questions to a still virtual Velma Celli
How did the Large & Lit In Lockdown show go? Did you have a special guest join you in remote mode?
“It was SO much fun. Sarah [Walker] and I have really fine-tuned the production of a show in a kitchen now during these bizarre times – said nobody EVER!
“I had West End superstar Louise Dearman join me for a remote duet. She’s immensely talented. Check out her albums on ITunes et al.”
How’s life in loosened lockdown ticking over for you after more than 75 days?
“I’m good. Taking each day as it comes and I’m trying to remain that way. As we know, theatre is most likely to be the last thing to open but I try not to think about that too much for my own sanity.”
What is the history of your Equinox show?
“I did a UK tour of Equinox first. Rare to get that opportunity but it came right off the back of a hit run of my show A Brief History Of Drag, so I said ‘Yes’, having not yet written the show!
“We’ve played a tour of Australia too and, of course, the West End.”
What draws you towitchy and misunderstood characters from movies and musicals?
“Just my upbringing of The Wizard Of Oz and The The Wiz and the like. It was when the old movies were still treasured and we watched them as a family.”
Were you always drawn to them? Do you feel a connection by any chance?!
“I think I might be drawn to them because I understand the misunderstood and the outcasts, what with being a member of the LGBTQI+ community.”
Who and what features in Equinox and why?
“All your fave witchy, dark, fabulous witch moments in musical theatre and the movies. Ursula to Elphaba and everything in between.”
What do you most enjoy about the witching/bewitching hour?
“It’s a time to unleash the magic and be utterly awesome.”
What costume can the online audience look forward to this weekend?
“A fabulous black dress.”
Any guest contributors popping up or will you be flying solo?
“I’ll have West End star Jodie Steele joining me, remotely again of course. She’s appeared in Wicked, Rock Of Ages and Six, to name but a few.”
What will be the closing number and why?
“I can’t tell you. It’s the finale and a girl NEVER tells…just expect a lot of belt and emotion.”
Velma and Jodie: Silk and Steele on Saturday