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Peter turns 80 with musical production for charity

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Peter Profit (Photograph supplied)

Peter Profit is celebrating his 80th birthday with a musical production at Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society on Saturday.

Proceeds from the show are earmarked for two organisations he holds dear: the cancer charity Pals and the BMDS Charitable Trust.

A video of Mr Profit’s 75th celebrations will screen in the bar at Daylesford throughout the night. A $50 cash donation grants access to the theatre, where the birthday boy has orchestrated a comedy sketch, a surprise emcee and live performances of his favourite show tunes.

“I’m a bit of a show off,” he laughed. “So it's kind of like I’m telling the [BMDS] members and my friends in general what my life has been.”

He selected causes connected to his late parents for the celebration. Mr Profit’s mother, Nadia, died of cancer at age 56, having “never smoked a day in her life”. His father, John, was a consummate performer who joined the Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society when it launched in the 1950s, and received an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II for his work with ballet dancers here.

“He came to Bermuda in 1951 and within a couple of years he was on the stage. He was theatrical his whole life so I guess I kind of followed in his footsteps except I became a professional drummer – six nights a week, 52 weeks a year in the hotel industry.”

Whenever he could, Mr Profit would “sneak out and watch shows” at Daylesford, which was then in Cavendish Hall in Devonshire.

In 1965, he was cast as Ajax in the BMDS production of Tiger at the Gates.

He became a constant on the stage until the early 1980s when he and his drums joined the musicians in the orchestra pit.

For his 65th birthday, Mr Profit invited friends for a fundraising performance of “the Portuguese dancers and the Pipe Band” at Daylesford.

A decade later he hired a yacht and asked people to join him for a three-hour cruise.

“I did a big one for my 75th and it took me two years to pay for it,” Mr Profit said. “I had OBA, PLP, Black and White, straight and gay on a boat. It left the dock and they had to talk to each other.

Peter Profit’s birthday invite shows him in drag for a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Liberty Theatre (Photograph supplied)

“The idea for this [fundraiser] is not new but it is kind of the biggest one [I’ve planned] and maybe if I don't do it now, I really never will.”

For his actual birthday on June 5, Mr Profit went out to dinner with friends.

His real focus, however, is on “putting together the final sequence of actions” for the main event on Saturday.

Mindful of how difficult it could be to find an opening at Daylesford, he put in his request a year in advance.

“The hardest thing to do is to book a night at Daylesford because they’re busy,” he said. “I finally got my night and then I started booking my acts. And when I say booking, I mean it's a charity, so everybody's there for free the whole night.”

It was only after the booking was confirmed that Mr Profit realised the date he chose was “one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made in my life”.

“On that same night, Lizz Pimentel, the In Motion School of Dance, is having their annual recital at City Hall; United Dance Productions with Suzanne Harvey are doing their annual recital at Ruth Seaton James Auditorium; [Jackson’s School of Performing Arts] has another commitment. All my classical musician friends are at St John's Church, doing a concert with Marjorie Pettit. It is also the national Day of Portugal and there is a powwow in St David’s.”

People who otherwise would have been at Daylesford for the 5pm kick-off have promised to show up after the other events are done. Musicians have vowed to “come and jam after the show is over”.

“I’ve got a salute to old people in the beginning,” Mr Profit said. “It's actually turned out to be a comedy. But it's about old people and that opens the show, which is based on me being 80 years old. And then we [segue] into Scottish dancers, Portuguese dancers, because my dad was a real dance man.”

In his opinion, the highlight of the night will be the “seven ladies and three men” who agreed to sing for him.

“They’re doing songs from the shows that moved me literally to tears – they're my favourite songs,” Mr Profit said.

The programme includes “a blues number” and songs from award-winning musicals Annie, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Miss Saigon and Les Miserables sung by “stock voices in Daylesford and a couple outsiders”.

“All the show tunes are going to be much more personal because it's such a small room,” Mr Profit said. “We’re going to have an orchestra behind us and we've got a nice piano accompaniment and no microphone. It's going to be like a cocktail gig.”

Like Emma Muggleton, who will sing As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver, many of the people performed their songs when the actual production was held at City Hall.

“I have an incredible musical director, Tom Ray, who I used to work with in a band at the Sonesta Beach Hotel,” Mr Profit said.

“He is picking everybody's correct key so that people are comfortable when they sing. A lot of people don't realise that the songs are written in the key and they're written for professional singers, singers who can sing any key. We have amateur singers and so we need to find the key to suit their voice and Tom is doing that for me.”

Mr Profit attributes his healthiness at 80 to genetics.

“My father was 95 when he died; his older brother was 92; his baby brother was 86 and his sister was 88. It’s those English genes kicking in.”

The bar at Daylesford will open at 5pm for Peter Profit’s celebration. All are welcome. The show will start at 7pm. Admission is $50 cash. Tickets are on sale today, tomorrow and Saturday at BMDS. DeGraff’s food truck will be in the parking lot of Daylesford from 6pm until 10pm.

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Published June 08, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated June 07, 2023 at 3:03 pm)

Peter turns 80 with musical production for charity

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