The Heart & Soul of Broadway

Written on May 22nd, 2012

A Trip to Broadway

Bringing their tried and true formula to Petrolia from Sarnia, David Rogers and David Hogan packed the house with an appreciative audience for the opening night of The Heart & Soul of Broadway. After three successful years of the Starbright Festival at Sarnia’s Imperial Theatre, the pair moved their talents to Petrolia, taking over as co-artistic directors this season. Staying with what has proven popular in Sarnia, they opened the season with a musical theatre revue of popular Broadway tunes.

David Rogers brought his own voice to the show, along with Alana Bridgewater, known for powerful vocals in shows such as Hairspray at The Charlottetown Festival and We Will Rock You in Toronto; Diane Chase, a country recording artist; Gavin Hope, a Juno nominated singer with The Nylons; Janelle Murray, a University of Western Ontario voice performance student; Stephanie Roth, who has a remarkable credits with cruise shows and Drayton Entertainment; and Kraig Waye, who also has an impressive resume, including performances in several Drayton shows.

The revue includes 33 musical theatre favourites.  In act I, Janelle and Kraig sing the Music Man duet Seventy –Six Trombones and Goodnight My Someone, with Janelle’s beautiful soprano voice adding Til There was You. Stephanie and Kraig demonstrate their comedic talent with Arthur in the Afternoon.

David Rogers does his favourite Al Jolson impression with Rock-a-Bye Your Baby, which proves to be a real crowd pleaser. The entire cast has fun with I Love a Piano, where they all plunk out Heart & Soul together on little toy pianos.

My favourite part of the show is the “Dream” section: Alana belts I Have a Dream, the Abba anthem from Mama Mia, followed by Kraig and Janelle singing I Have Dreamed from The King and I. Gavin follows with an emotional rendition of The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha, and Diane and Stephanie sing I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. From all the beautiful Dream songs, they segue into two more favourites from Les Mis: David singing Bring Him Home, and the whole company’s rousing presentation of One Day More to finish Act I.

Act II opens with fun – From How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, the ladies all appear in matching frothy pink gowns for Paris Original which morphs into Petrolia Original. David and Gavin join the women in the same pink gowns – much to the delight of the audience. They carry on singing I Feel Pretty from West Side Story.

The fun continues later with David and Gavin doing the hilarious duet Agony, where they are both Prince Charmings trying to woo Cinderella and Rapunzel.

Diane, Stephanie and Janelle perform Dreamgirls with Alana giving a powerful, emotion-filled rendition of I Am Changing. Kraig sings Rent’s No Day but Today, and the entire company joins in with beautiful harmonies in Seasons of Love. Gavin and Alana’s version of Beauty and the Beast is very popular with the audience.

The evening wraps up with three songs from Phantom of the Opera, including David’s poignant signature number The Music of the Night.

The entire cast changes costumes frequently. Colours are carefully blended and the women are beautiful in various sparkling and elegant gowns.

Mark Payne continues his superior work as musical director and takes his place at the grand piano at centre stage. The highly successful show brings together amazing voices with perfect song selections and VPP is the better for it.

Hogan and Rogers have proven that they are the masters of creating enjoyable Broadway revues. We’re looking forward to the next step where they are actually producing a Broadway musical, Godspell.

The Heart & Soul of Broadway continues with eight shows a week at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until May 27. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 for tickets.

The Heart & Soul of Broadway
Directed and choreographed by David Hogan
Conceived by David Rogers
Musical direction by Mark Payne
Performed by Alana Bridgewater, Diane Chase, Gavin Hope, Janelle Murray, David Rogers, Stephanie Roth, Kraig Waye.
Victoria Playhouse Petrolia
May 15 to 27, 2012
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

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