Give My Regards to Broadway

Created & Performed by David Rogers
Conceived & Directed by Alex Mustakas
Choreographed by Jackie Mustakas
Musical direction by Mark Camilleri
Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend
July19 to August 6, 2005
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

One-Man Show has Show-Stopping Tunes

When I first heard that Give My Regards to Broadway was going to be a one-man show, I was feeling vaguely disappointed. How could just one person do justice to a Broadway revue? As it turns out, what makes this show amazing is the fact that it’s a one-man show.

David Rogers’ energy never wavers and his voice never fails as he carries the entire show, currently on stage at Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend.. Rogers has just finished directing the Kander & Ebb revue The World Goes ‘Round that is now running at Playhouse II. HCP audiences will remember him as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat which ran in 2002.

In this current production, he is playing a plethora of Broadway’s leading men, singing old and new show tunes. Occasionally he adapts his wardrobe to the song, pulling costume pieces from the various trunks and suitcases scattered on the stage.

Rogers is backed up by a full 9-piece orchestra, which shares the stage with him. Act one opens with a nostalgia trip down Broadway, featuring old favourites like Lullaby of Broadway, Luck Be A Lady, and They Call the Wind Maria.

The second act begins with a salute to Rodgers & Hammerstein, featuring Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’, and The Surrey with the Fringe on Top. He also included a trick song of Danny Kaye’s called Russian Composers – where a list of Russians with the most difficult names to pronounce is sung in less than 38 seconds.

The real audience pleaser is when Rogers sings a selection of songs to leading ladies. He finds “volunteers” in the audience to join him on stage, so that he can serenade them. The impromptu cast includes the roles of Maria, Gigi, Rose Marie, Mame, Marion the Librarian, Once in Love with Amy, Anne of Green Gables, Mona Lisa, and Whatever Lola Wants. These somewhat reluctant stage stars bring the house down as the audience reacts with gales of laughter. Rogers even finds a most unusual volunteer to take on the role of Dolly, as he sings Hello, Dolly. He points out that now no one needs to travel to Stratford to see the Festival’s version.

Each song is a show-stopper in its own show – here you have a string of hits, one after the other. The opening night audience, as usual, was very appreciative, extending the standing ovation until Rogers returned for his encore, The Impossible Dream.

The only concern about this musical revue – is maybe there are too many revues. With similar tunes (a couple even the same) on stage at Playhouse II, and a musical revue of early British rock and roll coming up next, perhaps audiences will be hoping for musicals with plots.

Give My Regards to Broadway continues with eight shows a week until August 6 at Huron Country Playhouse, Grand Bend. Tickets are available at the Huron Country Playhouse box office at (519) 238-6000 or Drayton Entertainment at 1-888-449-4463.

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