The Heart of Broadway

Written on July 7th, 2009

The Heart of Broadway

David Rogers

David Rogers

Produced & Directed by David Hogan
Musical Direction by Mark Payne
Performed by June Crowley, Susan Gilmour, Marcus Nance, Cory O’Brien, Rebecca Poff, and David Rogers.
Starbright Summer Festival
Imperial Theatre, Sarnia
July 7 to August 16, 2009
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Canada’s Best Come to Sarnia

Sarnia has been blessed this summer to host the best in Canadian musical theatre. Produced by Stratford actor David Hogan, four shows are running in repertoire at the Imperial Theatre.

The Heart of Broadway is a delightful evening of songs from Broadway. It opens with a medley of musical theatre hits involving all six performers; each of them stars in their own right.

David Rogers has played leading man roles in a myriad of musical productions and is best known for playing both Raoul and the Phantom in Toronto’s long-running Phantom of the Opera. June Crowley is a veteran of the Stratford and Shaw Festivals and has been on stage all over North America. She is also best known for her role in Phantom of the Opera, as Christine. Susan Gilmour played Fantine in Les Miserables in Toronto, on Broadway, in Los Angeles and around the world. She has also starred in numerous productions such as Evita, Cats, Into the Woods, and Joseph.

Rebecca Poff has performed in Phantom of the Opera and Show Boat and is a favourite at Huron Country Playhouse, having starred in the past as Marion the Librarian in The Music Man, Aldonza in Man of LaMancha, and in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Marcus Nance is familiar as the Beast in London’s Grand Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast and as the Mikado in The Mikado at Huron Country Playhouse. He has also appeared in My One and Only and To Kill a Mockingbird in Stratford. Cory O’Brien spent four seasons with the Stratford Festival, most recently in Cabaret. He has also been in numerous Toronto productions such as Iolanthe, Lord of the Rings, and Man of LaMancha.

With six such experienced and talented performers, The Heart of Broadway can’t help but be an excellent show. In fact, the cast received standing ovations at the end of Act One, and again at the end of the evening. Act One concludes with numbers from Les Miserables. Susan Gilmour sings “I Dreamed a Dream” as she did as Fantine. Then two Les Mis show stoppers are presented: “Bring Him Home” followed by the entire cast giving an amazing performance of “One Day More”.

At the end of Act Two, David Rogers and June Crowley sing “All I Ask of You” and “Think of Me”, followed by Rogers singing “Music of the Night”, from Phantom of the Opera.

Marcus Nance singing Show Boat’s “Old Man River” is a crowd pleaser, followed by Gilmour having some fun with “Blow Gabriel Blow”. Rebecca Poff provides comedy with “Arthur in the Afternoon”, and later she introduces the Dream songs with Abba’s “I have a Dream” from Mamma Mia.

Cory O’Brien sings “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago, and later O’Brien and Rogers garner some laughter when they perform the duet “Agony” where two princes compare their sorrows in Into the Woods.

Starbright Summer Festival continues at the Imperial Theatre, Sarnia until August 16. For tickets, call the Imperial Theatre box office at 1-877-344-7469 or 519-344-7469 or see

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