It’s always a pleasure to take in a theatre or musical performance put on by the talented folks in Bashaw and the Bashaw Community Theatre’s rendition of Musical Theatre International’s (MTI) “All Together Now!” was no exception.
The revue of songs from 15 musicals was a global event celebrating local theatre and the cast members from Bashaw, Ponoka, Meeting Creek, Olds, Donalda, and other local communities truly gave it their all, giving it a solid performance that was inspiring to watch.
Intermittent narration voiced by musical director Robin King gave humorous reprieve during set and costume changes, keeping the audience engaged throughout the show.
The program by MTI is a cleverly balanced selection of choreographed songs, between lively and morose scores and known and lesser-known shows.
With portions of musicals based on popular Disney movies to classical Broadway shows like Jekyll and Hyde and Fiddler on the Roof to the more modern Rent and Hairspray, there was something for everyone, musical buff or no.
For even the perhaps more obscure selections, the strength of the soloists’ acting skills in expression and tone gave emotional context to the pieces.
The timbre and quality of Andrea Benoit’s voice did justice to the melancholy and wistful-for-freedom refrains of “Meadowlark” from The Baker’s Wife. Her masterfully-executed vibrato runs on soaring crescendos are where she really shone, in her performance of “Meadowlark” as well as in “Astonishing” from Little Women.
Ben Wilson showed his impressive range in the challenging score “This is the Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde and Coleman Miller gave a commanding performance in a wonderful baritone of “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from the unsurpassed Les Miserables.
The directors must also be praised for their apt casting of solo parts.
The soulful highs, lows and jazzy trills of “She Used to Be Mine” from Waitress seemed tailor-made for Taegen Domstad’s more contemporary voice and her performance was flawless from the first note.
Waitress, which debuted on Broadway in 2016, features songs and lyrics written by Grammy-nominated rock pop and soul singer Sara Bareilles and Domstad was perfectly suited for the part.
Domstad, Emily Jacobs and Chris Struik gave an on-point and entertaining rendition of “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof.
In other scores, the well-known songs, brought so energetically to life, created a welcome sense of nostalgia and common ground. It was a thrill to have the cast members enter the aisles while singing “Be our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast.
Perhaps audience members also heard a few songs that were somewhat familiar that they could now place to the appropriate musical, making for a truly informative and inclusive celebration of theatre.
Congratulations to all the cast, directors Lori Miller and Coleman Miller, producer Jackie Northey and choreography, lighting, costumes and props, for a job well done.