It has been nearly three decades now since the Lyric Theatre Singers began staging their annual Broadway-style revues and as co-director Cathy Burns notes, “Coming up with a new show each year can be challenging.”
For their 29th edition, June 13 to 15 at Concordia University’s DB Clarke Theatre, the theme will be Too Darn Hot! A Sizzling Broadway Review. The 43 performers and five musicians will present a selection of musical theatre favourites from composer/lyricist Cole Porter, as well as shows such as The Band’s Visit, Singin’ in the Rain, Company, Next to Normal, Cinderella, Nine, Something’s Rotten and Ragtime while Come From Away recounts the true story of how residents of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed 7,000 stranded air passengers from around the world in the wake of 9/11.
“I am most excited about doing the opening number from Come From Away called Welcome to the Rock. We wanted to do it last year but the music was not available yet for public use,” says Burns. "It is such a heartwarming story, brilliantly put together and so very Canadian.”
Each year, following the group's December Christmas show, Burns, Chris Barillaro, and Lyric Founder and Artistic Director Bob Bachelor sit down with their respective wish lists, as well as well as links to music and arrangements they think would be good for the group.
“We look at the current performers and what their group and individual strengths are, and try to highlight those,” Burns says. “We make an effort to challenge the singers every year as well as pick material that we know the group will embrace and sing well.”
Another number sure to delight the audience will be that from last year’s Tony winner The Band’s Visit about a touring Egyptian band stranded in an Israeli desert by accident. A love story develops between an Israeli woman and one of the Egyptian musicians, and they sing a beautiful song called Answer Me. As it happens, the soloists for this scene are Shy Shalev, who is Jewish, and Tarik Azgui, who is Muslim.
“I saw it last year in New York and as soon as I heard this particular song I knew the Singers would do a great job of it,” Burns says. “It is the only company number in the Broadway show and Bob arranged it especially for our group.”
Too Darn Hot! A Sizzling Broadway Review will be presented at the D.B. Clarke Theatre (1455 boul. De Maisonneuve) June 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. and June 15 at 2 and 8 pm. For tickets call 514-743-3382, www.lyrictheatrecompany.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.