• James Parry

Broadway comes to Hudson with favourite musical hits from past decades

PHOTO BY DOMINIQUE ALAIN

Singing and strutting their stuff at HVT, the cast of Radio Broadway recapture the magic and craziness of the 60s in this brilliant number from the hit Broadway show Sweet Charity.

Broadway! For lovers of musicals, the very name says it all. Big name stars, bright lights, blockbuster shows, dancers and singers, magnificent marquees, and larger than life theatrical dreams and disappointments portrayed on stage every night of the year.

All capturing the hearts and imaginations of millions of people from throughout the world who shell out big bucks annually for tickets at the 400 or so theatres that make up this surprisingly small sector of Manhattan in New York City.

Well, good news folks. Broadway has come to the little town of Hudson. Courtesy of the non-profit Hudson Music Club (HMC) now in its 64th year of staging audience-pleasing musical theatre, directed this time around by André Marchand, and featuring volunteer local talent, while raising funds for worthwhile causes in our region.

More specifically, with Radio Broadway that has just opened at Hudson Village Theatre (HVT) for an 11-performances run through March 26 spotlighting numbers from no less than 13 musicals, including Chicago, South Pacific, Annie, Paint Your Wagon and - need I say it? - my personal favourite, Les Misérables, which is literally a real show stopper!

And what a most innovative concept it is. In that the audience at HVT is in fact part of the 'studio' audience as DJ, Broadway Jimmy - in real life James Milvain who scripted and stars in the revue - broadcasts his Broadway call-in radio show 'live' on stage with calls coming in from all over Canada requesting their favourites.

Scripted, of course, but what a hoot! And then performed on stage by HMC members backed by pianist Linda LaRoche and Carl Rufh on bass under the musical direction of Sheila Engel Katz and, in some instances, with most creative choreography by Valerie Glover Drolet.

As always with HMC productions, the singing is superb with pitch-note perfect harmony particularly in the big chorus numbers. Fabulous costumes by Gail Marchand have to be seen to be believed. And the minimalistic, yet extremely effective, set by Jean-Claude Olivier is right on.

Given that it is a truly ensemble cast that considers itself family, and obviously has so much fun and mutual support on stage, will not single out any individual cast members. But I would be remiss if I failed to mention 9-year-old Eva Conway in the role of waif-like Cosette on the barricades in Les Miz. And for all the right reasons!

Radio Broadway continues at Hudson Village Theatre, 28 Wharf Road, Hudson, through March 26. For more info, check out hudsonmusicclub.com and for reservations, with senior and group rates available, call the HVT Box Office at (450) 458-5361 or go to villagetheatre.ca .

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