• James Armstrong

The British are coming to the Hudson Village Theatre


The cast of Across the Pond: Music of the British Invasion, Then and Now starring Leisa Way (centre) brings 50 years of British pop and rock music to HVT.

The redcoat invasion of Hudson begins Wednesday, June 13 with the opening of Across the Pond: Music of the British Invasion, Then and Now at Hudson Village Theatre (HVT). It’s the second show of HVT’s summer season created by Leisa Way of Way-To-Go Productions and performed by Way and The Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The concert brings to life the revolution that began when four young men from Liverpool crossed the ‘pond’ launching Beatlemania and ultimately the British music invasion.

Fifty years of pop and rock

“I don’t like a lot of medleys, I like the audience to hear the full song,” Way told The Journal. Her show features approximately 40 songs paying tribute to some of the music industry’s biggest stars such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Petula Clark, Tom Jones, Queen, Rod Stewart, Herman’s Hermits, Adele, The Dave Clark Five, Shirley Bassey, Elvis Costello and many more. “There’s so much material, it could have been an eight hour show,” said Way with a laugh. “We opened the show in April, 2017 not far from Hudson, at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg, Ontario” she said adding that it takes about a year to get a new show on the road because most venues are booked at least a year in advance.

Multi-talented musicians

Way has a deep appreciation for the members of The Lonely Hearts Club Band. “Each one of them is a solo artist in their own right,” she said of Sam Cino (drums and vocals) Bobby Prochaska (bass and vocals), Fred Smith (guitar and vocals), Nathan Smith (fiddle, guitar, mandolin and vocals) and Bruce Ley (piano, guitar and vocals). “They all play multiple instruments and they all sing. Their different voices really make it an exciting show,” she added.

“Bobby, my bass player (who) sounds just like Elton John ends up playing piano and singing.” This is Way’s first foray into the Quebec and Hudson music scene. “My husband David Nairn directed a play at HVT a few years ago,” she said and that planted the seed for this engagement. “It’s such a gorgeous theatre and unique venue.”

Early career

Way’s vocal career began at an early age with operatic voice lessons. “I started taking lessons when I was nine. I had a big voice for a little girl,” she recounted but an opera career was supplanted by musical theatre with the opportunity to play the role of Anne in Anne of Green Gables at the Charlottetown Festival.

“That changed my life,” she said. “Musical theatre was a good choice.”

Hudson run

Across the Pond opens Wednesday, June 13 and ends Sunday, June 24 at the Hudson Village Theatre. Tickets and show times are available online at www.villagetheatre.ca or by calling the box office at (450) 458-5361.

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