The pressure is on Laura Jane Butler on Friday, February 4, at the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch.
Star of the Amy Winehouse show – A Tribute to Amy – Essex born and bred Laura steps into the spotlight to portray legendary singer knowing that Amy’s mum, Janis, will be in the audience.
Not only that, Laura has added reason to be determined not to disappoint. The singer is well aware of the physical effort Janis – a multiple sclerosis sufferer for 40 years – will have had made to come to see the show.
“Janis has supported me for nine years,” says Laura. “I’m always very nervous knowing she is in the audience. I’m always passionate about wanting Janis to enjoy it. Fortunately, she always has done.
“The first time was at Brickyard in Brick Lane. We did a birthday bash raising £4,500 for the Amy Winehouse Foundation and Janis was a special guest.”
Later the following year, Janis and her husband Richard were guests at the wedding of Laura and her partner Dean.
“When I discovered Janis had MS, I was determined to help raise funds and awareness where I lived – initially in Hornchurch and subsequently Chafford Hundred,” said Laura.
“We arranged three fundraisers – one a year from 2016 to 2018; featuring other tributes including Andrew Browning from the Fastlove World Tour – and raised over £10,000 for the MS Society Thurrock and Basildon Group.
“Janis attended every show.”
Both Amy’s mum and her dad, Mitch, have endorsed the A Tribute to Amy show – Mitch recently declaring that Laura as the best tribute to Amy.
Laura admits that she was never fortunate enough to see Amy perform live herself. “I had tickets, but on both occasions the shows were cancelled,” she says.
A Tribute to Amy has been developed through constant study of Amy’s live performances. “I’m still always seeking out footage 14 years on, to hone the production further,” says Laura.
“Amy was one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time and A Tribute to Amy is a respectful tribute. It takes songs from the multi-platinum selling albums Frank, Back to Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures and aims to recreate the distinctive sound and heartfelt performances of the jazz and soul powerhouse.”
Other show highlights include Rehab, Love is a Losing Game, You Know I’m No Good and Back to Black.
Laura promises theatregoers “the best production with the best of London’s jazz musicians plus a lighting and stage show to match the West End” at the Queen’s Theatre on February 4.
To book tickets, visit www.queens-theatre.co.uk or call 01708 443333.