Home > Past Buzz > Ross Baker - Show Goes on Despite Tragedy
January 17, 2005 18:00
WHEN the cast of Fame The Musical take to the stage at Ipswich Regent tonight they will do so still recovering from the tragic loss of one of their number.
Ross Baker, who had been playing Jewish violinist Schlomo Metzenbaum in the production, has been missing since the devastating tsunami hit Asia on Boxing Day.
The 26-year-old had been holidaying in Thailand during a break from touring with the acclaimed musical when the Indian Ocean earthquake struck. Members of his family have visited Koh Phi Phi in the hope of locating the talented actor, singer and musician but he is now missing presumed dead.
Fame returned to the stage for the first time since the devastating news a week ago in Nottingham. Producer Adam Spiegel, who paid for Ross's family to fly out to Thailand following the disaster, spoke to the cast ahead of the performance and also addressed the first night audience to make them aware of the sadness they were all feeling.
He said: "It's been immensely difficult for them. I almost cannot talk about it as nothing I can say accurately reflects the level of emotion that we all feel.
"When you're a touring cast you spend time together and become a unit that is very much like a family so it's very emotional.
"They're professionals though and didn't allow it to effect their performance, but it was unlike any other performance."
Ross grew up in Nailsea in Somerset. He got five A grade A Levels and after a brief spell at Leeds University, decided to pursue his dream, enrolling at Birmingham University to study music and drama.
After completing a post graduate course in musical theatre at London's Royal Academy of Music, Ross spent three years starring in productions on cruise ships. He had been starring in Fame since September and had appeared in more than 120 shows.
Ross' cousin Jodie Baker, who travelled to Thailand in the hope of finding him, said: "He was outgoing, funny, a real optimist and always making people laugh. He loved his work and was so happy and confident, kind and generous.
"It's no exaggeration to say he had hundreds of friends throughout the world.
"We are so grateful to Adam Spiegel Productions who paid for our trip to Thailand and have been unbelievably supportive.
"I know the cast are missing Ross not just in terms of the role he played in the musical, but because of who he was."
Fame begins a week long run at the Regent, in Ipswich, tonight. Based on the cult 1980 movie, it tells the story of a group of pupils studying at the New York High School for the Performing Arts.
Now in its tenth year it remains a huge hit in the West End and as a touring production.
Fame is at Ipswich Regent from today until January 22 with performances at 7.30pm until Thursday and 6pm and 9pm on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost £15 to £25 (concessions available) and are available from Ipswich Corn Exchange or the Regent, by calling 01473 433100 or online at www.ipswichregent.com
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