Musical Theatre Concert for Cancer Research
Jeff Madden, Thom Allison, Louise Pitre and more at North York concert in support of Thyroid Cancer research
By Dennis Kucherawy
“A formidable force of will and phenomenal technique,” Chris Jones of the venerable Chicago Tribune raved about her performance.
The Chicago Sun-Times said Louise Pitre was “astonishing,” and that her rendition of the unforgettable “Rose’s Turn,” a nervous breakdown set to music, was volcanic.
They’re speaking, of course, about Pitre’s sensational performance as Mamma Rose more than two years ago in the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s thrilling production of Jule Stynes’/Stephen Sondheim’s musical classic, “Gypsy.”
Alas, that production never came to Toronto. But audiences here Monday, Sept. 19th will at last get to experience a taste of that memorable production – Pitre’s performance of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” that intense, classic anthem to “blind ambition and megalomania.”
She’s just one of a dozen of Toronto and Canada’s leading musical theatre performers producers Merle Garbe and Jeff Gilburd have gathered for “Together We’re Unlimited – A Celebration of Hope and Possibilities.”
All proceeds will be designated to the Canadian Cancer Society in support of Thyroid Cancer Research.
Showtime at the Toronto Centre for the Arts’ George Weston Recital Hall is 7:30 p.m.
Pitre is a beloved musical theatre veteran who, among her many roles, has also starred as Donna in the Canadian and original Broadway companies of “Mamma Mia.” She also created the role of Fantine in the original Canadian English and French companies of “Les Misérables.”
The multi-talented cast also includes Kelly Holiff, the popular cabaret and musical theatre entertainer who will perform “Defying Gravity,” the thrilling showstopper from Stephen Schwartz’s “Wicked” whose lyric gives the show its title:
“Together we’re unlimited. Together we’ll be the greatest team there’s ever been. Think of what we could do together.”
Thom Allison, who the Toronto Star in 2012 described as “the great new leading man of Canadian musical theatre” for his performance in Shaw Festival’s “Ragtime,” will complement the show’s theme by singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel.”
Allison will be reunited with Shawn Wright who played Nathan Detroit to his Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Shaw’s smash hit production of “Guys and Dolls” (2013). Wright will sing “High Hopes.”
Ma-Anne Dionisio, who created the role of Kim in the Canadian company of “Miss Saigon,” will sing the popular duet “The Prayer” (from the animated film “Quest for Camelot” – a hit for Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli) with Jeff Madden, known for his Dora-Award-winning performance as Frankie Valli in the Canadian company of “Jersey Boys.”
From the Dora Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots” will be Graham Scott Fleming (leading man Charlie Price) and Vanessa Sears (Nicola), who will sing “Over the Rainbow.”
Other entertainers include Joe Matheson (“Hank Williams Live, 1952), Mark Cassius (musical theatre entertainer and former member of The Nylons singing group) and Gabi Epstein (“Funny Girl”.)
Showtime is Monday, Sept. 19th at 7:30 p.m.
The Toronto Centre for the Arts
George Weston Recital Hall
5040 Yonge St. Toronto, ON
Tickets for reserved seating range from $20 to $65. VIP seats include a post-show reception with members of the cast.
Tickets are available in person at the Toronto Centre Box Office, online at www.encoreshows.com and by phone at 1-855-985-2787.
A service charge will be added to phone orders
By Dennis Kucherawy
Thanks to the Song and Script blog, where this was originally published.