Monday, August 24, 2009

Music Munday - Broadway Plays - A Guest Post

Hi! I’m Rachel and I have been reading Kailana’s blog for about three years now. I confess to being an irregular blogger at my book blog site: a fair substitue for heaven but I try to keep my other book site updated.

I wanted to take this Music Monday moment to speak to you about a subject near and dear to mine heart: BROADWAY!

I am lucky enough to live in Toronto---where I see Broadway shows regularly. But, I have been luckier still to have seen shows on the Great White Way in New York and even in the West End in London--- You can never go too far for a great show--- and a great voice!

As much as I like to sing and study Broadway, I mostly like to watch and savour it; especially when it is performed by some of the leading Broadway female vocalists:

For your viewing ( and mostly hearing ) enjoyment:

This first video is a little different as it portrays the part of a journey which happens before the lights and glamour: the audition.

Here, a very young ( and purely talented ) Lea Salonga is auditioning for the show which will catapult her into stardom: Miss Saigon.

Seen here with Claude Michel Schonberg ( of Les Miserables fame), Lea Salonga is being taught a song cold ( but not before she sneaks in an autograph request)

After auditions and call-backs and all the messy paperwork and the rehearsals, come the bright lights.

My favourite Broadway shows are based on books! ( of course)

Here is Marin Mazzie in fabulous voice as Guinevere in the classic Camelot

I was lucky enough to see Marin Mazzie star alongside Audra McDonald in the first production of Ragtime (another classic book told in musical form). Audra McDonald’s performance remains the best I have ever seen ( or heard) from a female live. The video here proves just why the Julliard- trained McDonald is said to be the brightest talent on Broadway since Judy Garland ( make sure you watch to the end--- where she belts it …. )

Audra shows a melange of classical and gospel roots--- which I love. She puts an indelible stamp on every song she performs!

Remember the Rosie O’ Donnell Show? I loved how it always featured B’Way performances! I found this song performed from one of my favourite literary musicals The Scarlet Pimpernel. Here, Christine Andreas is trying her best to caress each word in the pitch perfect French accent of the tempting lead character, Marguerite St. Juste. Marguerite and her brother Armand are awaiting execution at the guillotine: unaware that the Pimernel will rescue them. (Note: Broadway fans will recognize a very young Sutton Foster in a chorus role--- before she went on to win a Tony for Thoroughly Modern Millie)

I was fortunate enough to be in a production of Jekyll and Hyde and to play Emma, Henry Jekyll’s long-suffering love. Though I loved most of the challenging soprano part, my favourite song to sing in the show was this duet. Here, performed to perfection by the astounding Christiane Noll.

I want that song at my wedding!…and I want her dress.


  1. I have a secret passion for musicals, if only for the way the music makes me feel rather than the story they are trying to convey. These are great examples of how wonderful show tunes can truly be.

  2. I agree with you. I would travel very far to see plays myself. It’s something about seeing a show in New York City that really is unbeatable. When the stage lamps turn on it just is a special place to be!

  3. Hi Rachel!

    I used to live in Toronto and had the pleasure of working at the O'Keefe Centre/Hummingbird Centre for 8 years. Though my sole reason for working there was the National Ballet of Canada (my undying passion) we had quite a few shows play there, and the staff got a lot of comps from other theatres, so I saw the first run of Ragtime with Audra McDonald. I was so impressed by how she made the performance I saw seem completely fresh. Which of course was the farthest thing from the truth! But she made me believe she'd only just thought of her dialogue a second before she said it.

    Very cool about having been in Jekyll & Hyde! My favorite song from that one is No One Knows Who I Am.

    My favorite musical to play my old theatre was Jesus Christ Superstar. Ted Neely from the film reprised his role, and he'd only gotten better over the years. Purely electrifying. I've never heard such a thunderous roar from any audience as when he stepped out for his bow at the end of the show. Still gives me shivers just thinking about it.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

I am so sorry, but I turned anonymous commenting off. I have had it from the very beginning, but that is how the spam is getting by my spam filter at the moment. If it is a big deal I will turn it back on and moderate all comments. I also changed moderation from older than 14 days to older than 7.