Prolific theatre actor Mitchell Butel’s upcoming gig at the Aurora Group’s annual charity dinner will come as something of a relief, after his past few weeks performing in Avenue Q.

The riotous puppet-based musical just finished its New Zealand season, but as those who’ve seen the show can imagine, it’s been an awkward show to perform since the death of Gary Coleman.

“We’ve got a character in the show based on Gary Coleman, and its not exactly a loving tribute — the show pours shit on him for two hours,” Butel told Sydney Star Observer.

“We’re kind of eager to finish it now.”

On June 26 Butel will take to the stage alongside acclaimed performer (and former co-star) Tamsin Carroll at the Aurora dinner. The Aurora Group raises funds which are then disbursed to gay, lesbian and transgender community organisations, and the annual dinner is the glittering highlight in its calendar.

“Tamsin and I worked together in Dusty: The Musical a few years back, so we were joking about reprising our roles from that. In Dusty, she of course played a lesbian and I was her screaming queen hairdresser best friend, so if we do a duet I think we’ll have to reprise those characters,” he chuckled.

This year’s 10th anniversary dinner won’t be Mitchell’s first. In 2008, he and Jersey Boys actor Jeremy Brennan put on a rather cheeky show for the Aurora audience.

“We did that song from An Officer And A Gentleman — Up Where We Belong — dressed in our navy uniforms. We had a big pash at the end and got married on stage by Virginia Gay.

“The theme is All You Need Is Love this year, so I might need to be a bit more restrained, but we’ll see. I’ll pash anyone, really.”

The 10th anniversary Aurora Dinner will be held on June 26 at the Paddington Town Hall, with entertainment from
Butel and Carroll and a special guest appearance from Sir Ian McKellen. To book your table, email or call 8323 4041.

Butel will also debut his new cabaret show Killing Time at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival on June 19 and 20. He’s planning to bring the show to Sydney later this year.

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