Forever Broadway is the latest annual musical compilation playing to full houses in, alas, all too short runs, joyfully performed by Montreal’s Lyric Theatre Singers.
The 36 vocalists (23 women, 13 men) are truly dedicated souls. They are not paid, but actually pay $170 a year each to support their avocation, which crests in a Broadway themed show each summer and a splendid holiday celebration each winter.
The current manifestation opened with the fittingly entitled “Putting It All Together” from 1992.The ensuing 17 Broadway hits were plumbed from 1925 (No No Nanette) to 2012 (Smash). Some of them were represented by one song, several by many.
Among the latter were the 2004 Mary Poppins, from which the tongue twisting “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was sung without muffling a syllable by Sterling Tipton. That tune provided an upbeat lead to the intermission.
Act Two opened with a cleverly staged medley from Little Shop of Horrors (1982), including a great prop of its famous man eating plant.
The Finale from Ain’t Misbehavin (1978) left the audience clamouring for an encore, which they got, with the unlisted Kern/Gershwin classic “Long Ago and Far Away.”
Along the way, golden oldies me particularly enjoyed Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top” from his 1934 Anything Goes and Frank Loesser’s “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game” from the 1950 Guys and Dolls (recently a Segal Centre hit).
While many in the chorus got the chance to strut their stuff in a solo, Adam Gallay, Dan Derkson, Nancy Stewart, Julie Lemire, Sterling Tipton and Stephanie Symons were frequently featured.
Some of the patter was in French and one touching song, “The Sabbath Prayer” from Fiddler On The Roof (1964) sung en français.
Mary Sarli did her usual perfect work in choreographing several of the numbers.
Musical Director Bob Bachelor impressed with the balance of the exciting musical staging.
His assistant, Chris Barillaro (fresh from Souvenir at the Centaur) doubled on keyboard and percussion. Guillame Matineau handled the piano as rehearsal pianist Linda Laroche took a break (she’s been with Lyric since 1973). Beth McKenna handled sax, flute and clarinet.
As usual, the costume design was impressive, ranging from gowns to tee shirts to suits and fedoras.
Forever Broadway played at the D.B. Clarke Theatre June 12-14.
Byron Toben is a regular Rover theatre critic.