The Suburban – Mike Cohen
The Lyric Theatre Singers, recognized as a long-standing producer and promoter of musical theatre in the Montreal area, hit the stage at the Oscar Peterson Concert Hall at the NDG Loyal Campus of Concordia University with four shows between June 9 to 11. They did not disappoint.
Broadway Rhythm was this year’s theme as the award-winning vocal ensemble presented highlights from Broadway’s most popular and beloved shows: Rodgers and Hart (Johnny One Note, My Funny Valentine), Lerner and Loewe (Almost Like Being In Love), Cole Porter (Another Op’nin’, Another Show), Stephen Sondheim (Little Things, Being Alive, Sunday in the Park), Charles Strouse (It’s the Hard Knock Life, Applause, ) – as well as highlights from The Music Man, Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray, West Side Story, Nine and a number of others.
This is an extraordinary organization, with the abundantly talented Bob Bachelor still waving the baton as musical director. He even stepped on stage and nearly brought the house down with his beautiful presentation of the song New Words. Bachelor also made a few cameo appearances in numbers, which prompted instant applause the moment he appeared. A busy man to be sure, he just recently completed another year at St. George’s School of Montreal where he produced and directed their high school production of Curtains. Lyric impresses you the moment the cast hits the stage – all 39 of them, ranging from a few teens to senior citizens. Their level of energy is just extraordinary and infectious I might add. I particularly appreciated the lovely Laurent Gauthier’s singing of Colors of the Wind from Pocahantas. Such poise and a gorgeous voice. The three songs from Hairspray really got the audience hopping while the way in which Cantata for A First Date played out was quite clever as four performers started out the scene in a stage of undress, putting their clothes on as they prepared for that awkward first date. Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend had the gals dressed to kill and the men waving really good knockoffs. A big thanks to Diane Dupuis-Kallos, who has provided this video link for you to watch some of the numbers and the photo you see this in this entry. Her son Richard, only 19, is one of the youngest performers in the group and he did impress.
It was great to watch Jim Brown, a public school teacher for 45 years and now retired, belt out the tunes. You can see how much he enjoys this. In fact that appears to be the same for the entire cast, the orchestra and even the spotlight man. They begin auditions in September. You can go to www.lyrictheatrecompany.com, email email@example.com or call 514-626-5783 for more details. One of the highlights of the closing show was a draw for tickets to travel with VIA Rail Canada. The grand prize was a return trip for two in first class between Montreal and Vancouver, valued at $9,100. There were also a pair of packages for return trips for two in business class in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. One lady in the audience shrieked when she heard her number called and then asked Lyric president Louise Dorais to repeat it. The lady was in fact a finalist, of 12 names eligible for the three grand prizes. Well she won, hugging her friend and telling her “you are going with me!”