English Actor Disappears Minutes Before His Show’s Debut Performance

Stage fright is very common — even the most comfortable stage veterans get the live performance jitters.  Having anxiety before taking the stage is one thing, but English actor Ben Stirling took stage fright to a whole new level earlier this month, according to the Daily Mail.

Stirling was all set to star as American entertainer Jimmy Durante in the new musical Goodnight Mrs Calabash at the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate, London when he went for what he said was a bathroom break an hour before showtime.  However, Stirling neglected to tell his fellow cast members that the bathroom he was heading for was apparently his mother’s in Scotland.  When the cast went to find Stirling fifteen minutes later, he was long gone!

With such little time before the play began, the producers were forced to cancel the performance and turn away the approximately sixty people in the audience with refunds. 

John Plews, artistic director of Upstairs at the Gatehouse, admits that he felt conflicted about the situation, saying, “At first we felt sorry for Ben because he obviously had a problem, but then we felt really angry because he had let down so many people.”  In all, the production was canceled for eight days.

Stirling is no newcomer to theatre, having recently appeared in worldwide tours of Fame and Jesus Christ Superstar, and the producers invested £350 in having a fake nose custom made for Stirling to play Durante, who was famous for his distinctively large nose.  Unfortunately, no one else is able to wear the custom-made prosthetic, although actor Tim Frost has stepped up to replace Stirling in the show.  Frost learned the entire part — including fifteen songs — in just four days.

There’s no word on exactly why Stirling flew the coop — Plews admits they have not had contact with him — but beyond hoping that he is mentally all right I think it’s fair to say it will be a long time before anyone offers him a theatrical role again. 

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sag-foundation-conversation-with.jpg
SAG Foundation Conversation with the Cast of NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Earlier this month NBC put in an order for five additional episodes of its freshman romantic comedy series, Marry Me. While that isn’t exactly the shot of confidence that a full-season renewal provides, it’s enough to keep fans of the comedy — which is about an engaged couple who are determined to get married despite […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/michael-caine.jpg
Michael Caine Talks About Acting With Your Eyes and Does an Amazing Cold Read of a Script
This week acting legend Michael Caine appears in his sixth film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. In an interview clip from The New York Times that was shot around the release of the last movie Caine worked on with Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, reporter Melena Ryzik spoke to Caine about his six-decade career. In […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/director-dan-gilroy-narrates-a-s.jpg
Director Dan Gilroy Narrates a Scene from ‘Nightcrawler’ Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Nightcrawler is easily one of the best movies of the year and its star, Jake Gyllenhaal, is outstanding. Definitely check this out when you have a chance. In the above clip, writer/director Dan Gilroy narrates a sequence from the film that features Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He talks about giving Gyllenhaal a small piece of […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/matthew-mcconaughey-talks-losing.png
Matthew McConaughey Talks Losing the Lead Role in ‘Bernie’ to Jack Black
Though Matthew McConaughey has increased his earned plenty of respect since he started taking on more substantive movie roles in the last few years (with Dallas Buyers Club even earning him an Oscar for Best Actor), one director that always has been a fan of McConaughey is Richard Linklater. Linklater gave McConaughey his first big […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/watch-benedict-cumberbatch-film.jpg
Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]