Heat wave got you down? You could use some relief? Maybe a few laughs with some great music? Well, happy days indeed are here again. Broadsway has come to the rescue with its first CD and a launch party in a fortnight that promises to be a blast of laughs and fun.
Broadsway is a trio featuring three of Toronto’s best performers: Heather Bambrick, Julie Michel and Diane Leah. For the last few years, they’ve been playing theatres such as Meadowvale in Mississauga and clubs in the GTA including the Flying Beaver Pubaret and the Global Cabaret Festival in the Distillery District.
The group came together when these three ladies discovered each of them loved Broadway music. Three broads, performing show tunes in their own distinctive … one might say idiosyncratic … way and voilà, Broadsway was born.
Their repertoire is more than classic and contemporary musical theatre. It consists of classical music parodies, jazz (including scat), pop and R&B… from Sondheim to Irving Berlin, Rossini to Stephen Schwarz. As they say “From Gershwin to Lady Gaga, it’s Broadway… THEIR way. Plus there is their own funny and playful … at times suggestive… between song chatter.
Heather Bambrick and Julie Michels are two of Canada’s best, international jazz singers. Heather, a morning host at Jazz FM 91.1, is a winner of the National Jazz Award for Vocalist of the Year and Broadcaster of the Year while Julie Michels has sung throughout Europe and North America.
Dora-nominated Diane Leah is one of Canada’s best Musical Director/Arrangers. Her direction of the Choir of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto has earned the group the reputation as one of Toronto’s most dynamic choral groups. Their newest CD is “These Old Walls.”
Diane is a fiercely talented pianist in all genres, especially rock, musical theatre, gospel, jazz and blues. She accompanies some of Canada’s most accomplished entertainers including Thom Allison, Louise Pitre, Jackie Richardson and Alana Bridgewater.
Diane’s clever and witty arrangements on “Old Friends” are imaginative and energetic. For example, the “Moon Medley” track, has a few bars of Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” that serve as a prelude to “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” Julie and Heather’s voices… and sometimes Diane’s … are glorious in harmony, especially in the famous Streisand/Garland duet “Happy Days Are Here Again”/Get Happy.”
Julie and Heather belt out such contemporary musical theatre numbers as “I Know Him So Well” from “Chess,” “Take Me or Leave Me” from “Rent,” the title song “Old Friends” by Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz’s beloved “For Good” from “Wicked.”
My favorite track is “Broadsway Bacharach,” a medley including many of Burt’s finest tunes including “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” from “Promises, Promises” and “I Say A Little Prayer” that was added to the show’s 2010 B’way revival.
“Old Friends” is a wonderful, fun-filled, feel good CD. You can sing-a-long if you like. For a great time, call Broadsway!
“Old Friends” and “These Old Walls” are available at Song & Script.
1. Together Medley – Together Wherever We Go, Side by Side, Glory of Love
2. Happy Days Are Here Again / Get Happy
3. Cloudburst / Oleo
4. Moon Medley – By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Blue Moon, Moon Glow, Moon River, Moondance
5. I Know Him So Well
6. What You Don’t Know About Women
7. Fascinatin’ Rhythm, I Got Rhythm
8. What I’ll Do / My Buddy
9. Broadsway Bacharach – (They Long to Be) Close to You, Do You Know the Way to San José?, I Say a Little Prayer, Walk On By, I’ll Never Fall in Love Again, What the World Needs Now is Love
10. Take Me or Leave Me
11. For Good
12. Old Friends (Sondheim)
CD Launch Party
Thursday to Saturday – August 1st, 2nd and 3rd
8 p.m. to Midnight
The Jazz Bistro
251 Victoria St.