Hats Off to Showbiz
Now in its 16th year, Hats Off! will be a showcase of showstoppers and showbiz stars, including ‘triple-threat’ performer Mike Snell.
Some will know him as the ‘triple-threat’ performer who won last year’s reality TV competition I Will Survive; others will recognise him as brown-clad ‘Kyle’, the smouldering UPS delivery guy on the runway stage hit, Legally Blonde The Musical. But now Mike Snell is donning a hat of a different kind in 2013 – as ambassador for the charity concert, Hat’s Off!.
Snell, 29, tells SX he was “honoured” to not only be asked to perform at the annual event, but also to become its public face this year.
“I’m always wanting to perform at charity events that aren’t my normal eight-show week, it changes it up for me,” he says. “And the fact that I can also raise money and help such a worthy cause is even better.”
A highlight of the Mardi Gras festival, Hats Off! raises much-needed funds for programs, campaigns and initiatives that support people living with HIV. All proceeds from this year’s concert will go towards ACON and the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.
The event is now in its 16th year. No mean feat given the widely held view that the HIV fundraising dollar is shrinking. That it should mark such a noteworthy milestone is a testament to the support it continues to generate each year from not only the public, but also from within Australia’s entertainment community, the very place from which it began.
In 1997, two performers from the cast of Cabaret – Tia Jordan and Jonathan Mill – organised a benefit at The Chamberlain Hotel in Sydney. The night raised $4,000 for ACON’s Community Support Network, a project that provides home-based care to people living with HIV. Following the evening’s success, and inspired by a similar collective in the US, a committee of interested people then set up an Australian entertainment industry HIV/AIDS charity – Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Inc. That organisation has now been overseeing the benefit since its inception.
Perhaps Chloe Dallimore, who will reprise her role as host at this year’s concert, sums up the significance of Hats Off! for performers and audiences alike best in her address in 2012.
“AIDS benefit concerts, like Hats Off!, have become part of our theatrical experience. They provide an opportunity for artists and audiences to band together, to make a contribution and a difference.
“There is always a palpable energy throughout the enormous day of rehearsals which carries into the show – Hats Off! has a big heart.
“I’m certain that giving and responsibility is what has allowed this event to enter its 16th year.”
Producer Peter Silver says this year’s theme, ‘Hats Off! to the Classics’, will delve into some popular music’s most enduring genres.
“In two hours, we are covering six decades of iconic music from early jazz and Broadway styles through to big rock sounds.”
And they will be delivered by a star-studded line-up of performers. Joining Snell will be a smorgasbord of artists from the spheres of cabaret, musical theatre, television and music, all of whom are giving up their time and talents for free.
“We’re delighted to welcome theatre and television legend Toni Lamond back to the Hats Off! stage, along with David Harris, Nancye Hayes, Chloe Dallimore, Josh Horner, Matt Lee – the list goes on,” Silver says.
“We feel that this year, Hats Off! is its biggest. And with a 27-piece orchestra, it will be an aural and visual feast!”
[Image] Hats Off! ambassador Mike Snell. Photo: Andrew Barclay
HATS OFF! 2013
Monday, February 11, 8pm, Seymour Centre
Presented by: Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Inc.
Hosted by: Chloe Dallimore and Josh Horner
Featuring: Mike Snell, David Harris, Toni Lamond, Nancye Hayes, Matt Lee, Tom Sharah, Garry Scale, Warren Kermond, Wayne Kermond, Zan Kermond, Glenn Hill, Belinda Wollaston, Marika Aubrey, Elise McCann, Josie Lane, Fiona Sullivan, Stephanie Grigg, Deborah Krizak, Monique Salle, Minnie Cooper, The Tap Pack