Eisteddfod audience thrills to ‘Direct From The West End’ concert starring Kerry Ellis and John Owen-Jones

Kerry Ellis and John Owen-Jones with the International Chorus choir

Kerry Ellis and John Owen-Jones with the International Chorus choir

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod transported the very best from the London stage to the heart of north Wales with its Direct From The West End concert on Thursday evening.

Musical theatre greats Kerry Ellis and John Owen-Jones, both with a string of major hits to their credit, backed by a tremendous young choir and a fabulous orchestra, brought their formidable vocal talents to bear on a packed programme of big-show favourites, from Les Miserables to Funny Girl and from Cats to Cabaret.

Singing solo they were sizzling, he with ‘This is the Moment’ from Jeckyll and Hyde and ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ from South Pacific, and she in the title song from Cabaret and Wicked’s ‘Defying Gravity’.

As a duet they were simply dazzling, as in their joint opening number ‘Beauty and the Beast’ from the show of the name and, later, ‘The Last Night of the World’ from Miss Saigon, which had the large Pavilion audience on the edge of their seats.

The duo also had some great fun with a couple of their best-loved pieces. Kerry clearly relishes every moment of belting out the title song from Anything Goes as does John with his deeply poignant presentation of Bring Him Home from Les Miserables, a show with he is rather familiar with after playing the lead role of Jean Valjean twice on Broadway.

When they were not holding the audience spellbound, onto the stage came a choir comprising talented young singers from the Hammond School and the Seattle Girls Prima Voce, which had been brought together specially for the 2024 Eisteddfod under the banner of the International Chorus. Making an initial impact with the breezy You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray, they followed up with plenty more stylish numbers.

The choir joined the two stars and, backed by the powerful Llangollen International Orchestra, they provided a memorably moving finale piece in You’ll Never Walk Alone from Carousel, which brought a fitting standing ovation.

Musical Director for the evening was the accomplished Iestyn Griffiths.


Llangollen singer Shea Ferron, winner of the Eisteddfod’s coveted Voice of Musical Theatre award

Earlier in the evening 21-year-old Llangollen singer Shea Ferron was announced as the winner of the Eisteddfod’s coveted Voice of Musical Theatre award. Eisteddfod Artistic Director Dave Danford presented him with a trophy and £2,000 prize money supported by Mrs Joan P Astley in memory of Bill and Evelyn Appleby, supporters of the festival for many years.