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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Broadway Brunch is a musical theatre buffet

A mix of solo performances, duets and group numbers from a cross-section of Broadway shows keeps things interesting.

Beauty and the Beast. Gypsy. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Henry and Mudge. Annie. Chicago. City of Angels. Wicked. This is but a small sampling of the diverse Broadway shows that are the mainstay of the Broadway Brunch, a semi-regular rotating gathering of professional Halifax musical theatre artists at The Carleton.

Just off their sold-out April “Birthday Party Edition,” this show’s cast not only showed their substantial musical chops by performing from the songbooks of 22 different shows over the 90-minute performance, but their enthusiasm for the material was infectious.

In our recent Q&A with producer and performer Kyle Gillis about the company’s Valentine’s Day show, he promised a casual atmosphere with recognizable tunes and songs that audiences may not have heard before. The playlist and cast deliver on both fronts.

Accompanied on the piano by Sarah Richardson (with a few canned tracks thrown in the mix), this particular show featured Gillis alongside Laura Caswell, Ian Gilmore, Becca Guilderson and Margot Sampson.

A mix of solo performances, duets and group numbers keeps things interesting, and the banter between the talented sextet helps break things up nicely. There is even a good balance of silly and serious. Sampson’s mistaken “Bird Day” schtick keeps things light even as she ironically sings Tom Lehrer’s macabre Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.

Of course, no brunch-titled show is complete without a selection of food and drink offerings from The Carleton kitchen.

With a new theme for each show, the next set of musical theatre artists will celebrate Mother’s Day at The Carleton on May 8 with songs from such shows as Hairspray, Mamma Mia, and more.

The group also returns to the downtown music venue in a non-Broadway concert on May 30 with an encore presentation of the Blue Monday Cabaret featuring the Songs of Joni Mitchell’s Blue Album.

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