Craig Revel Horwood dedicates every performance of Annie The Musical to co-star Paul O'Grady

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4 Apr 2023, 06:53

Craig Revel Horwood, Paul O'Grady on Annie the Musical poster

Credit: Rex / Twitter (@AnnieMusicalUK)

Craig Revel Horwood and the UK tour cast of Annie the Musical returned for the first time since the sad news of castmate Paul O’Grady’s death last night (3rd March). 

Paul passed away aged 67 on 28th March, with the news confirmed by his husband Andre Portasio, who said the star had died “unexpectedly but peacefully”.

The Lily Savage star was out on the road as part of the UK tour of musical Annie as Miss Hannigan, and co-star Horwood, who shared the role with Paul, made sure to stop the first performance back to pay tribute. 

Performing at Birmingham’s The Alexandra theatre, the Annie cast took their final bows, and Craig addressed the crowd in the last moments, according to one audience member. 

Speaking to Metro, David Jack, who was in the crowd, shared: “After the final bows, Craig Revel Horwood addressed the audience and said they would like to dedicate this and every performance to the legend Paul O’Grady.

“There were people in the audience in tears and shouts of, “We love you, Paul!”, some of the cast looked emotional but the performance under the circumstances was outstanding, especially from the young cast.”

Horwood himself got “choked up” while addressing the crowd, according to Jack, who added that the Strictly Come Dancing star seemed to find it difficult to get through his emotional speech.

Last week upon hearing the news, the stage star took to Twitter to pay tribute, writing on Twitter: “I’m in a state of shock this morning, waking up to the news that my gorgeous colleague and friend, Paul O’Grady has passed away.

“I’m actually reeling in disbelief. He was such a wonderful human being, funny and to the point. Paul, legend, RIP darling.”

In the days following the Blind Date star’s death, fans have been flooding Battersea Dogs and Cats Home with donations in his honour.

Paul had been an ambassador for Battersea since 2012 and the charity featured in his hit TV show, Paul O'Grady: For The Love of Dogs. 

The organisation has now received £90,000 worth of donations from fans of Paul, who have set up a tribute fund in memory of him, as well as countless letters, calls, emails and messages of support in the wake of his passing.

According to Paul Laurie, chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the fund looks set to hit £100,000 by the weekend and all money donated will go directly towards the running of the charity.