On Monday May 9th the best and brightest Canadian talent came out for a special concert to kick off Theatre 20's 2011-2012 concert series. Entitled The Story Begins, the evening was dedicated to celebrating songs from story driven musicals. Founded earlier this year, Theatre 20 is a Toronto based, artist-led theatre company formed to present story driven musicals by developing new Canadian works and re-imagining existing repertoire. The group officially launched on January 20th, 2011 at The Panasonic Theatre, and BWW was on hand to bring you photos of that event which you can view here.
BWW has been bringing its readers exclusive coverage of the progression of Theatre 20 (starting with the news that Colm Wilkinson would be one of the founding members) and we are now thrilled to bring you photographs from the electric first concert that took place last week. Featuring Colm as a special guest, the concert brought out the best that Toronto has to offer to sing some of musical theatre's most beloved songs.
Throughout the course of the evening video clips were shown of the various members of T20 discussing things such as their favourite composer, their memories of their first musical experience and when and why they decided to pursue a career in musical theatre. The videos were capped off with a feature of the artists explaining why they decided to become involved with Theatre 20.
In terms of music, the show was a fantastic mix of popular showtunes and some lesser known gems. The evening kicked off with Carly Street and the T20 Emerging Artist Choir singing "Raise the Roof" from The Wild Party, followed by "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard performed by Robin Hutton. Next were two Sondheim favourites as Louise Pitre sang "Some People" from Gypsy and Gavin Hope sang "Being Alive" from Company.
Canada's Cabaret Goddess SharRon Matthews took to the stage next and sang "Is It A Crime" from Bells Are Ringing. She was then joined by her husband George Masswohl and the two did a duet of "It's Us Again" from Pete 'n Keely.
Next up was a fan favourite as Kevin Dennis and Adrienne Merrell performed "As Long As You're Mine" from the Broadway smash Wicked, followed by Tamara Bernier Evans singing "Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar.
The first act closed with Jake Epstein leading the T20 Emerging Artist Choir in a very funny and engaging performance of "Run Freedom Run" from Urinetown.
The second half of the evening began with a bang as Toronto's favourite adopted son Colm Wilkinson took to the stage and delivered breathtaking renditions of "Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera and "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables.
Next Jeff Madden (just back from playing Frankie Valli in the Australian Production of Jersey Boys) and Eliza-Jane Scott injected some humour into the evening with a very funny rendition of "The Song That Goes Like That" from Spamalot.
CADENCE performed "On The Street Where You Live" from My Fair Lady followed by another Sondheim favourite, "Everybody Says Don't" by Theatre 20 Founding Artist Ma-Anne Dionisio (from Anyone Can Whistle). That delicate performance was immediately followed by a rocking rendition of "Touch the Hem of His Garment" from Crowns sung by Sterling Jarvis.
Louise Pitre returned to the stage once more accompanied by husband Joe Matheson to duet on "Dancing With Tears in My Eyes/We'll Meet Again" from Could You Wait?
Finally, the evening culminated with a show-stopping performance of "Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat" from Guys & Dolls which was performed by Louise St. Cyr and Alana Bridgewater as well as the T20 Emerging Artist Choir.
All in all it was a fantastic evening which truly showcased just how much talent we have here in Toronto, and definitely set the stage for amazing things to come from Theatre 20.
The Fine Print:
The Story Begins was directed by Tracey Flye.
Music Supervisor/Keys: Mark Camillieri
with Mark Inneo on drums, Pat Kilbride on bass & Tony Zorzi on guitar
Theatre 20 consists of (in alphabetical order): Tamara Bernier Evans, Adam Brazier (Artistic Director), Evan Buliung, Brent Carver, Dan Chameroy, Juan Chioran, Ma Anne Dionisio, Susan Gilmour, David Keeley, Rosie Shaw (General Manager), Trish Lindstrom, Nora McLellan, Steven Sutcliffe, Louise Pitre, Colm Wilkinson, Eliza Jane Scott and Carly Street.
For more information please visit their official website at www.theatre20.com
To purchase tickets to Theatre 20's upcoming concerts, please visit the Mirvish website at http://www.mirvish.com/shows/theatre20driventoscore
All photos by Racheal McCaig Photography
BWW Hi-Res Gallery - Original Version