“Way-Off Broadway Cabaret Collective” is an apt description of this locally based ten-piece musical ensemble that is currently presenting “Chansons d’Amour – A Parisian Cabaret”.
This local singing group has been performing cabaret style shows for over twelve years now. The producer, Dale Laird, explains that they call themselves a “Collective” because the cast varies from show to show depending on availability.
Their latest endeavour “Chansons d’Amour – A Parisian Cabaret” will be performed at the Forrest Nickerson Theatre at the Manitoba Deaf Centre, 285 Pembina Highway for one night only Saturday, September 7. This show had a successful run at the Aspire Theatre in Gimli a couple of months ago as part of the towns Summer Theatre Festival and garnered two standing ovations. Their last production “More Songs of Love, Lust and Laughter” sold out completely last year.
The seasoned cast had the audience enthralled with a variety of solo, duet and ensemble showstoppers . This musical theatre cabaret features selections from several French themed musicals, such as Gigi, Les Miserables, Can-Can and Le Cage aux Folles along with the songs of Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and others. The fine choreographed program also included several novelty and comedy numbers, wonderful singing, colourful costumes, lots of laughs and joie de vivre.
Although most songs are sung in English you could hardly do justice to a Parisian cabaret without at least a token effort towards bilingualism. Edith Piaf’s classic signature song La Vie en Rose is performed in French by Dale Laird, a classically trained soprano.
It was Dale, a recently retired school psychologist, who originally formed the group. It features the vocal talents of Trygve Ringereide, also recently retired as a high school principal in Ontario where he was known as the “singing principal”. He is now the music director at Sturgeon Creek United Church. Recently, Trygve appeared in Dry Cold’s production of Sondheim’s ” Follies” which was a part of MTC’s 2013 Master Playwright Festival.
There’s Gail Mildren, a lawyer with Manitoba Justice who’s also on the board of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society where she’s performed in twenty two productions. She has also sung with the Manitoba Opera Chorus.
Elliot Lazar is an eighteen year old theatrical hot shot, playwright and Fringe performer who studies classical voice at the University of Manitoba and who has plans of a career in the performing arts.
Heather Quinn, the stage director for the show, teaches music in elementary school and is a seasoned performer who has performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Rainbow Stage, CBC’s Hymn Sing and the Tara Players to name a few.
Judy Aubert is a member of the Sweet Adelines womens choir.
Martin Wilson is an accomplished tenor, actor and voice teacher at the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts who has taught vocals in New York and Vienna.
The cast between them have performed with the Manitoba Opera, the Winnipeg Philharmonic, Rainbow Stage, Ecco and Dry Cold Productions, the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, CBC’s Hymn Sing and a variety of other amateur and professional musical events.
Quite an impressive portfolio!
Musical accompaniment is provided by the Denby family with Cary Denby playing piano and serving as musical director for the show. Cary is an accomplished freelance pianist who has accompanied the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Manitoba Opera chorus. Her husband Steve Denby plays bass and six string guitar and son Cameron Denby is on drums. Just like the singing cast, the Denby’s have a strong musical pedigree. They direct the Bison Men’s Chorus and Steve also performs with an acappella singing group “the Riffs”.
The two hour show features around two dozen songs; tickets cost $15 and usually sell out fast. They are available by calling Dale at 204-452-4982.