Those looking to journey down Broadway won’t have to travel far with Soundstage Production’s Broadway Musicals in Concert bringing a wide range of musical theatre to the stage in Penticton.
Twenty different musicals are set to be featured in the production, which runs from Jan. 20-23 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.
Director Lynne Leydier said the selection mixes well-known numbers with songs that are bigger in the theatre world, hoping some songs will strike a chord with audiences who may not be familiar with Broadway.
“I try to give a whole different range of styles,” Leydier said. “I didn’t want it to be one person comes out and sings, then another person comes out and sings. It’s in a concert format in that people are doing different selections from a bunch of musicals, but we have a lot of choreography, we’re mixing it up, a lot of ensemble work,” Leydier said.
As she does every year, Leydier started out with nothing but an idea.
“This thing has definitely been an organically-grown project. I have to say I really had no idea where it was going to go,” Leydier said.
As a musical theatre aficionado, she approached the daunting task of selecting and arranging some of Broadway’s biggest numbers into one cohesive show.
“I started with all my loves and then started to see patterns and connections where I could group certain composers, or I could group certain styles,” Leydier said.
The production includes hit songs from Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Annie, Wicked and many more.
Mandy Cole is preparing for her role as Elphaba from Wicked, the green-skinned outcast in Oz who eventually becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. Cole will be performing some powerful, belting ballads including Defying Gravity.
“She’s a pretty awesome character, she’s really powerful. I’m doing a lot of singing, so I just have to be careful of my voice, so that’s been kind of a struggle. It’s amazing, it’s dream role to play,” Cole said.
Cole’s bandmate Aidan Mayes is in the production as well, and Mayes and Cole will be performing a duet from Wicked entitled For Good, with Mayes taking on the role of Glinda the Good Witch.
“If people know us then they will be looking forward to that little duo moment,” Cole said. “Aidan and I met during a Soundstage production a couple years ago, in Hair. The story of Glinda and Elphaba is kind of like Aidan’s and my story as well. Aidan took me under her wing and kind of taught me the ropes.”
Cole will also be reprising her role from Soundstage’s production of Les Misérables in 2014, a reunion of sorts with fellow cast members including Dan Shaw, who is returning to his role of Jean Valjean.
“We made friends in that production. I came from Ontario, I didn’t really know anybody,” Shaw said.
For Shaw, it has been an exciting challenge taking on multiple roles in one performance.
“Many of us are wearing different hats in this production, so that is the challenge,” Shaw said. “In terms of pulling yourself into every different play that we’re doing in this production concert, it’s difficult, that’s all I can really say. It’s more challenging than any theatre productions that any of us have done, I can probably safely say at this point.”
Shaw is excited to see months of rehearsals come together.
“Everyone knows their stuff now, so it’s a matter of putting the hat on for each different piece that we’re doing. That’s important because that’s the kind of thing that comes together at the end,” Shaw said.
The production has a total of 44 actors, and that’s not all.
“That doesn’t include the people backstage, the musicians, doesn’t include all the production team,” Leydier said. “That’s why I’m always amazed because when I start these things it’s just me and when I finally step into the pit to conduct I look around and just think ‘oh my God, how did this happen?’”
Tickets are $45 plus tax and are available at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.