Broadway is back on Bowen
In what has to be one of the more ambitious theatre projects in Bowen’s long and illustrious theatre history, dozens of islanders have come together to create a musical called ‘Broadway on Bowen’ and it opens next week It’s the second such show on island in two years but this one is more ambitious than the first.
“We have 27 performers, almost exactly double of our first ‘Broadway on Bowen’ production back in 2011,” producer/performer Heather Hodson said this week. “Everyone came back except four.”
That first show was a sold out success and went up in April of 2011, to be exact, for two nights at Cates Hill Chapel, with16 performers. This time around the company not only added greatly to the cast but have doubled the run to four shows and moved to Tir-na-nOg Theatre. This show, fully titled ‘Broadway on Bowen: An Adult Take on Family Life’ also has a jaw-dropping 59 costume changes.
It is again being directed by Gil Yaron, whom Hodson calls “amazing” and professes that she is “in awe of his talent.” She and Yaron spent months selecting the Broadway songs they would perform and deciding what the common thread of those songs would be.
“We chose songs from musicals we liked – we had to have Sondheim! – and songs that worked with our unusual cast of four men, three kids, five teens, and the rest women,” Hodson said. They selected songs from 17 musicals, from the 60s to the present, all with that common theme of families, in all their glory. The songs, Hodson said, are musically “really tough to sing...we set the bar very high.”
The choreographer is Gail Lotenberg and Shirley Wrinch and Jack and Julie Headley provided some of the costumes. Other involved include performers Tina Overbury, Carlos Vela-Martinez, Jodie Huskisson, Jackie Minns, Effron Esseiva, Nina Koeplin, Carrie Thiel, Cindi Keep, Anita Schuller and Erin Little.
As for how they chose the performers who’ll be up there singing, dancing and acting those 17 songs, that was something uniquely Bowen, and it explains how the cast became so large. “We sent out audition notices and whoever showed up from the community got to be in the show,” Hodson reports.
Yaron, who’s won two Jessies (Vancouver theatre awards) for producing and directing, has extensive experience singing, performing and playing piano in musicals and says doing these shows is a labor of love. He says there are “huge rewards” for singing and he is passionate about helping performers find them.
‘Broadway on Bowen: An Adult Take on Family Life’ opens at Tir-na-nOg on Thurs. Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and runs Friday the 22nd and Saturday the 23rd, also at 7:30. There is a Saturday matinee at 2. Tickets are $20, available at Phoenix on Bowen.