Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Broadway Brunch bunch is back

Halifax musical theatre talent belt out the show tunes in an encore performance of a pandemic delayed Valentine's Day-themed Broadway Brunch.

After selling out their February 19 show at the recently re-opened The Carleton, Halifax musical theatre talent will be belting out the show tunes in an encore performance of a pandemic delayed Valentine’s Day-themed Broadway Brunch on February 20.

In this Q&A, we learn more from Broadway Brunch producer and performer Kyle Gillis.

This interview has been edited.

Tell us about Broadway Brunch. What can audiences expect?

Audiences can expect a jam-packed hour and a half of a variety of material from the musical theatre canon sure to warm their theatre hearts and tickle their taste buds. Broadway Brunch is a new bi-monthly cabaret series happening at The Carleton. Each show has its own theme with a different line-up of talented local performers, so there’s always something for everyone.

The atmosphere is casual, and our goal is to have fun and bring you “all the feels.” We hope that audiences will recognize some tunes and fall in love with songs they haven’t heard before.

Performances are typically at 1 pm, with doors opening at noon. Tickets are $20+HST available on The Carleton’s website. The shows have been selling out fast, so if you want to come to see what the fuss is about, don’t hesitate to buy your tickets.

Why a Valentine’s Day-themed show?

I have been fortunate to bring Broadway Brunch to sold-out audiences at The Carleton bi-monthly. It has worked well that there is always some holiday or special occasion happening in the month there are performances, so Valentine’s Day made the most sense for February’s theme. And, of course, there are countless songs written about love, in many forms, in Broadway musicals, so the repertoire choices have been plenty.

We had our first Broadway Brunch as a Pride Edition in August 2021, then Halloween in October and two Holiday shows in December. We have been very fortunate to have sold out all those shows. This Valentine’s edition will be the first one since December. Next, I’m looking at a Spring Fling/Party theme for April.

Besides yourself, who else is performing?

"The atmosphere is casual, and our goal is to have fun and bring you 'all the feels.' We hope that audiences will recognize some tunes and fall in love with songs they haven't heard before." - Broadway Brunch producer and performer Kyle Gillis.
“The atmosphere is casual, and our goal is to have fun and bring you ‘all the feels.’ We hope that audiences will recognize some tunes and fall in love with songs they haven’t heard before.” – Broadway Brunch producer and performer Kyle Gillis.

We are thrilled to have such a wonderful group of performers for this show, including Michelle Langille, who people may recognize from numerous shows at Neptune, including the upcoming The Rocky Horror Show, Brent Raddall, a recent Acadia music grad, Maddie Maitzen, a third-year music student at the Fountain School of Performing Arts, Tyler Craig, who has performed in a few Whale Song Theatre productions, and Percy Mullally, who recently created and performed in their own cabaret show at the Halifax Fringe last September.

How did the performers come together?

As someone who works a fair bit in music theatre, I get the opportunity to collaborate with many people and am aware of the talent in our region. I strive to include performers at different stages of their careers to showcase the calibre of the wonderful talent we have to offer here. I am always looking to add to the roster of performers and invite others interested in performing to reach out by email.

How did you go about choosing which songs to perform?

The process is two-fold. I usually tend to brainstorm song ideas based on the theme, and then I’ll reach out to the performers to see what songs are already in their repertoire. I want the performers to feel comfortable on stage and to know their material well enough to have fun with it.

There’s a bit of a science to making sure there is a good mix of material, including songs from different shows, styles, and genres, whether a ballad or an up-tempo tune, or a solo, duet, or group numbers, etc. I have fun creating the setlist order; it’s like curating the experience for the audience. And there’s always one or two surprises up our sleeves.

How does it feel to be back on stage?

It has been a surreal experience. I remember so well the first time getting back on The Carleton stage and performing in front of a real, live audience. The energy is palpable. There’s honestly nothing quite like it—all of the feelings at once.

But it’s been tough. There has been so much uncertainty, and it has taken a toll on people’s mental health. The arts industry has endured a great deal. It was the first to get shut down and will be the slowest to come back fully. My heart goes out to all the arts organizations trying to stay afloat and figure out how to make plans for the future.

However, we have been lucky in Nova Scotia with our lower COVID-19 case numbers to be able to have small one-off shows like Broadway Brunch, but I know I’m not the only one eager to get back to a new normal and have live theatre and music events again.

Give us your elevator pitch – why should someone come to Broadway Brunch?

Show tunes and brunch – who could ask for anything more!?

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