TV impressionist Cal Halbert has shown that ‘the show must go on’ after stepping in to play the title role in The Wizard of Oz – just THREE WEEKS before it was due to go to stage.
The well-loved comedian made it to the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2016 with his hilarious impressions as one half of The Mimic Men with BBC’s Alfie Joey and has since performed at venues across the country, including the London Palladium.
Cal was put forward by his casting agent NE1 4.TV to play the Wizard at the Whitley Bay Playhouse from 1st– 4th August after Chris Stanton, of CBBC’s M.I High, had to step down from the role due to ill health.
Cal, from Newcastle, says he can’t wait to ‘cast his spell’ on stage alongside Strictly Come Dancing and Tracy Beaker star Dani Harmer, and revealed his repertoire of impressions – which include Sir David Attenborough, Andy Murray and Donald Trump – will all be making an appearance.
The 25-year-old said: “Like everyone else that’s with NE1 4.TV we all want to go to the next level, we all want to get as much of an opportunity in the industry and exposure as possible, and that’s what they have enabled me to do here.
“As soon as I heard about the role I was desperate to play it. I had a few shows that I have had to cancel to do this role, but at the end of the day I’d rather be a wizard than a stand-up comic!
“This is a last-minute role, but it is a great production to be a part of and I am really looking forward to it.
“The cast are absolutely brilliant, the director is fabulous, the ensemble is fantastic, as are the costumes! There will be lots of laughs, songs, glitter and definitely a few impressions; what more could you want?”
Casting agent NE1 4.TV represents thousands of actors, supporting artistes (extras), dancers, models and even animals across the North East.
Amongst other shows, NE1 4.TV has provided supporting artistes for hit shows filmed around the North East including ITV’s Vera, CBBC hit The Dumping Ground and Netflix’s Frontier.
Owner Bessie Williams said: “When we were tasked with finding someone to play the Wizard it was Friday the 13th which is unlucky for some, but lucky for Cal!
“This is the whole point of the agency – we provide production companies with what they need. In this case they needed someone very funny and capable to play the Wizard and that’s what they got!
“We are delighted for Cal and are so pleased we were able to get him this fantastic part.”
She added: “Anyone can join NE1 4.TV and it’s absolutely free. It’s great because we give opportunities to people to get themselves work and often get on TV. It is amazing the talent we have here in the North East.”
Producer and director of The Wizard of Oz Reece Sibbald, added: “Our panto follows the story of the Wizard of Oz as you would expect, but with a twist. There is lots of stuff for the kids and for the parents, it is fun for absolutely everybody.
“I was devastated when I had to find a new wizard, but when the email came through offering us Cal Halbert my prayers were answered.
“I knew whoever we were going to bring in had to have what it takes to give the audience what they want to see but with Cal we get the actor with the extra layer of his impressions which is really the cherry on top of the cake.”
Tickets are available for the show, which run daily at 2.30pm from Wednesday 1st August – Saturday 4th August. Go to: www.playhousewhitleybay.co.uk
To find out more about NE14.TV head to NE14.TV.com. You can find them on social media at @NE14.TV.