Bob Bachelor’s groundbreaking idea some fifty-four years ago to bring community musical theatre to lucky patrons in the newly burgeoning West Island has now monumentally grown into a citywide phenomenon known as the Lyric Theatre Singers. That performance division came into being almost thirty years ago after the Theatre moved out from the West Island and set up shop in the vaunted Centaur Theatre some four years before that.
Bachelor is still putting smiles on people’s faces and music in people’s hearts, most recently teaming up with Lyric Theatre’s co-stage director Cathy Burns again for yet another harmonious homerun affectionately titled “Too Darn Hot! A Sizzling Broadway Revue,” which played over the weekend of June 13th – 15th at Concordia University’s DB Clarke Theatre at the Downtown Campus (1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West).
Forty-three skilled and soulful performers ambitiously hit the stage, backed up by a fabulous five-piece local band to create a sweet, symbiotic blend of musical and lyrical arrangement expression that had audiences all kinds of Broadway Boisterous. This is at least partially due to how colourful and well-choreographed the show was, thanks in no small part to guest choreographer Jonathan Patterson and rehearsal / show pianist Chad Linsley (joined by four indelibly gifted musicians on stage, including a horn player who played a variety of wind instruments as well); Adrian Smith invaluably contributed to the overall presentation as stage manager. At one point, every performer in the ensemble extravaganza all conglomerate on stage as a cumulative mass of harmony and melody.
Broadway musicals get the epitome of homage treatments here, as the vocalists sing songs throughout from everything from Singin’ in the Rain to Guys and Dolls to How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to Next to Normal to Cinderella, Nine and Something’s Rotten. The multiple octave-blessed and tone-gifted singers even manage to tell the show-stopping story of three families in pursuit of the American dream circa early 1900s in a simply stunning musical medley montage from the legendary Ragtime production, and also a Canadian-flavoured auditory (true) tale of the residents of Gander, Newfoundland welcoming 7,000 stranded airline passengers just following the 9/11 crisis in a stirring number from Come from Away.
In The Lyric Theatre Singers’ twenty-nine year tradition, this stupendous spectacle of sound and song was truly the best of Broadway past and present. It doesn’t get any showier, heart wrenching or thought provoking than Too Darn Hot!, which easily helps explain delighted audiences coming back again and again for more of what the Theatre Singers have to offer.
Find out more about the Lyric Theatre Singers at www.lyrictheatrecompany.com .