Broadway is returning to Penticton in style.
Soundstage Productions is bringing some of Broadway’s biggest hits and lesser known gems in a cavalcade of musical theatre at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.
“I certainly picked numbers that will pop. Audiences won’t know all of them, they’ll know some, but I thought they were funny or interesting and brought out what was good about the cast,” said Lynne Leydier, director.
The format returns after a positive reception last year, and Broadway Musicals in Concert: Part Two is taking on even more musical diversity.
It not only allows Leydier to explore the many genres and styles of Broadway shows, it also allows her to staff a varied cast made up of local actors, singers and performers.
“It’s not as constrictive. I mean I love shows, I’ll probably do another show again. This is harder. It’s a lot more work trying to come up with stuff that’s suits your cast. Trying to be interesting, trying to layer it with comedy with depth and pick things that suits what you’ve got in your cast. It’s a challenge for me which is kind of what I like,” Leydier said.
Leydier knows one musical in particular is going to draw some attention, as Soundstage prepares to bring a few songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton to Penticton for the first time.
“It’s the big thing right now in the world. I mean, it’s a game changer in musical theatre. I was really lucky to get some music for it and of course the cast was really excited to do it,” Leydier said. “Everybody is loving it because it’s so current.”
Broadway Musicals explores some of the hip-hop infused numbers from Hamilton, while bringing old school musicals, modern and contemporary pieces to the audience as well.
“I like not having those constraints and it gives more opportunities for kids and people of all talents and abilities to participate. In a show you really are dictated by the roles that exist within that show,” Leydier said. “Something like this really leaves it wide open, hence the challenge of that too.”
This is the third Soundstage Productions performance in a row for Ashley Surowski who, save for an appearance when she was much younger, debuted in 2015’s performance of Sweeney Todd.
“It’s pretty fun to do some shows that we wouldn’t normally be able to do like Hamilton. Hamilton is huge in the world right now and the rights won’t be available to do the whole show for probably decades. So to be able to do that in its little snippets is a real treat,” Surowski said.
Krystine Nemirovski last appeared in a Soundstage production when she was 15 years old. After studying opera and obtaining a fine arts degree she has returned to Penticton for her first Soundstage show in six years.
“I saw the auditions in the paper and I figured it was time to get back at it,” Nemirovski said.
Nemirovski plays Hamilton’s wife Eliza, part of the three Schuyler sisters. Much like the rest of the cast, she is excited to take on songs from the musical theatre phenomenon.
“It’s pretty cool. I didn’t know about the musical (Hamilton) before starting it and then it kind of became like a cult following. Once we sort of got into the character we went and looked up the Broadway musical and what’s going on in it and the rest of the story. It kind of became an obsession, we all just fell in love with the musical,” Nemirovski said.
Lindsay Smith performed in a few Soundstage performances in high school and is returning after eight years away from the stage. She plays Angelica Schuyler in the Hamilton numbers.
“It’s on Broadway right now so I was really excited to be able to do that, to tackle that. Usually you can’t do new musicals right away,” Smith said. “I actually rap in that number which is really fun. I’ve never rapped before, but it’s lots of fun.”
It was an interesting task to take on for Smith.
“I kind of surprised myself that I was able to tackle it and it’s probably the most fun stuff in the whole show,” she said.
Mia Harris is returning after playing the Beggar in 2015’s Sweeney Todd. She too plays one of the Schuyler sisters.
“It’s really fun because it’s all very rhythm based, a lot of it is rap. The characters are really fun to play as well,” Harris said. “I don’t get to do much rap personally, but one of my sisters does. It’s fun it has a lot of attitude and it’s very high energy.”
Broadway Musicals in Concert: Part Two plays the Penticton Lakeside Resort from Jan. 18 to 21 at 7 p.m. and a matinee on Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. Tickets are $45 plus tax and are available at the Lakeside Resort. For more information visit www.soundstageproductions.com.