There’s something about the Broadway musical that’s infectious. Under the glare of stage lights, the stories woven through dance and music are unforgettable.
The musicals are something people always know and remember, says Ed Marshall, who is directing a SPECC-tacular Productions tribute to the genre titled Nights on Broadway.
“It doesn’t date. It’s just beautiful music.”
The Black Crook is believed to be the first theatre piece that conforms to the modern conception of a musical, adding dance and original music to tell the story. The production, which premiered in New York in 1866, was a staggering five-and-a-half hours long, but despite its length, it ran for a record-breaking 474 performances.
SPECC-tacular Production won’t be travelling back to 19th century but Nights on Broadway is a trip down memory lane featuring music from Oklahoma, The King and I, Miss Saigon, Joseph and his Techni-Coloured Dream Coat, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and Les Misérables.
Clearly a bit of a Broadway fanatic, Marshall has seen all seven musicals and directs eight singers and a chorus of six to bring the magic of Broadway to life, complete with costumes and choreography.
If he had to pick a favourite musical, it would be Les Mis, a musical based on the novel of the same name by French writer Victor Hugo.
“It’s got a strong story line and I like the way the production was put together,” says Marshall, of transformation of Jean Valjean from a bitter, desperate man to a kind, caring human.
To prepare for the show, singers have been filling their brains with notes and lyrics. Marshall’s continually humming the tunes and listening to backing tracks.
“We’ve had a limited rehearsal time, so it’s been a challenge. We’ve had to bulk up on our rehearsals and get all the words down,” he says, adding the audience is guaranteed to be “thoroughly entertained.”
SPECC-tacular Theatre Productions performs Nights on Broadway on Saturday, May 3 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the ACT in Maple Ridge. Tickets: $20 for adults, $15 for seniors/students. Call the box office at 604-476-2787.