Broadway Baritones

David Rogers 3

Conceived and created by David Rogers
Directed by David Rogers
Musical direction by Mark Payne
Choreographed by Tia Colborne
Performed by Theodore Baerg, Marcus Nance and David Rogers, with Christie Adamson and June Crowley
Starbright Summer Festival
Imperial Theatre, Sarnia
July 16 to August 22, 2010
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Stars at Starbright

The Starbright Summer Festival is back in Sarnia for its second season, and once again, the talent on the Imperial Theatre’s stage is amazing. Starbright kicked off its 2010 season, opening with Broadway Baritones, last week.

The three baritones are Canada’s answer to The Three Tenors. Theodore Baerg, Marcus Nance and David Rogers all come with impressive biographies and together create an amazing evening of entertainment. It is extraordinary to have such talent on the same stage, representing the best of Canadian theatre, and certainly a feather in Sarnia’s cap.

Theodore Baerg is known for his role as Emile in South Pacific with Cynthia Dale at the Stratford Festival, and has appeared across Canada in many productions. He is also a professor of voice, opera and music theatre at the University of Western Ontario.

Marcus Nance, back at Starbright again this year, also has a notable list of Stratford credits, and was the Beast in the Grand Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast in London, and the Mikado in The Mikado at Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend.

David Rogers, the creator of Starbright, gained recognition for playing both Raoul and The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, and many other lead roles.

Soprano June Crowley and singer/dancer Christy Adamson joined the baritones in a few numbers.

The three baritones have selected favourite numbers from each of their impressive careers on stage. Several numbers stand out: Theodore Baerg singing “Tradition” and “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof, which gave him the opportunity to introduce his two sons who are in the orchestra.

Musical director and pianist Mark Payne joined the threesome when they needed a tenor to make a quartet. They sang “Lida Rose” from The Music Man with June Crowley joining them, singing “Will I Ever Tell You”. She followed it with “My White Knight”, completing The Music Man set.

Marcus Nance showed his amazing vocal range in “If I Can’t Love Her” from Beauty and the Beast, and Theodore Baerg sang a beautiful rendition of “This Nearly was Mine” from South Pacific. David Rogers was given immediate spontaneous applause for his Phantom of the Opera number; “Music of the Night” was an audience favourite.

As an encore, the trio performed “Impossible Dream” from Man of LaMancha, which was inspirational.

It is a perfect selection of songs for any musical theatre fan, and the three baritones are in fine voice to perform them.

The production was flawed with audio problems in the first act, when the singers couldn’t be heard over the band, and on occasion, mics weren’t turned on for the first few words of a song. The show opened with “Be Our Guest” and “Together Wherever We Go”, with the lyrics altered to suit the occasion. Unfortunately, we could only catch snatches of the witty parody, telling us such things as they are “Jersey Boys for half the price”. With the big number, “Come Back to Me”, at the end of Act I, the vocals were lost in the crescendo of the music.

In Act II, for a while, the performers switched to wearing mics instead of using hand-held mics and the sound improved. Even when they returned to the hand held mics, the sound was better. So, let’s hope these were just opening night jitters and we can expect they will be ironed out in future shows.

Broadway Baritones and three other shows will be in repertoire on stage at Sarnia’s Imperial Theatre until August 22. It is certainly worth the visit, to see such superior talent on one stage.

Starbright Summer Festival continues at the Imperial Theatre, Sarnia until August 22. For tickets, call the Imperial Theatre box office at 1-877-344-7469 or 519-344-7469 or see www.starbright.ca

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