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

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/kristen-dunst-fargo.jpg
Kirsten Dunst: Auditions are “the most stressful thing to me on the planet Earth”
Despite being a well-known actress with dozens of credits, Kristen Dunst tells Variety that she still thinks of auditions as “the most stressful thing to me on the planet Earth.” Most audiences first became familiar with Dunst after her appearance as the young vampire Claudia in 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, but Dunst confesses that […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Jessie-Mueller-Waitress.jpg
Jessie Mueller on Following up ‘Beautiful’ with ‘Waitress’: “I think early on I did feel little bit of pressure”
"I was taken with theater from the beginning, it was the coolest thing for me." - Jessie Mueller
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Sean-Hayes-An-Act-of-God.jpg
Sean Hayes on Why He Loves Theater and His Return to Broadway in ‘An Act of God’
"I think one of the worst mistakes an actor can make is run away from the role that made them beloved in the first place, that gave them an audience." - Sean Hayes
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/zachary-levi-she-loves-me.jpg
Zachary Levi on Starring in Broadway’s ‘She Loves Me’: “Honestly, the biggest challenge is just my own brain”
“My whole life, all I’ve ever wanted to do was be an actor and an entertainer and make people happy and also feel like I belonged" - Zachary Levi
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Ewan-McGregor-Last-Days.jpg
Ewan McGregor Talks Playing Jesus and the Devil in ‘Last Days in the Desert’
"I was just trying to play him like any other role, really. Who do I think he was? Who do I want him to be in this story?" - Ewan McGregor