Lyric Theatre Singers

Candlelight Christmas 2018

Loyola Chapel

Concordia University

December 6, 7, 8, 9

 

There are no limits or boundaries when you assemble forty-four great vocalists, six talented musicians, and guide them by Musical Director, Bob Bachelor. The Lyric Theatre Singers entertained thoroughly for more than two hours accompanied by a classically trained sextet of musicians. Of particular note was Chris Barillaro, on keyboard and percussion, and Chad Linsley on piano. I have admired the work of these two on more than one occasion at the Segal Centre, Broadway Café. Chad shows his love for piano every time he plays. He is never short of perfection whether he is accompanying a vocalist or a choir. Under the direction of Bob Bachelor, the Lyric Theatre Singers performed holiday favourites flawlessly, and on one number, Up on the Housetop, Bob took a dozen singers, put the gear in cruise-control and had them sing a capella. As for the soloists, my favourite, as she was last year, is Katherine Fournier. This talented soprano never fails to please.

 

An additional treat tonight was a Special Guest appearance by the EMSB Chorale Youth Choir under the direction of Patricia Abbott. The choir is made up of students, grades 6 through secondary 5 and is a winner of numerous awards at the Montreal ARCIM Choral Festival. It is very encouraging to see and to hear so many talented young people pursuing a musical future.

 

The next Lyric Singers production will be the Broadway Revue at DB Clarke Theatre June 13, 14, and 15.

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Patisserie Afroditi

Patisserie Afroditi

3480 Boul. Des Sources

Dollard-Des-Ormeaux

 

We were on our way to a party at Les Trois Brasseures in Dollard. It had been a long and irritating trip along Montreal’s famous super highways. Now we found ourselves in need of a good cup of coffee. Because there is no left turn from Sources on to Salaberry we had to continue West to Brunswick and then turn right on to Rue Des Marche to come back East to Salaberry. I always say we end up in places or situations not by accident, but rather by destiny. So we end up looking at a beautiful pastry shop by the name of Patisserie Afroditi. I have long been a fan of the cakes and cookies being baked daily at their location at 756 St-Roch in Park Extension, but I wasn’t aware that they had opened this treasure of a bakery/coffee shop in Dollard. Shirley and I each had a cup of delicious freshly brewed coffee and because we were on our way to a dinner party we forced ourselves to share a pastry. Oh, the will power! We had an interesting chat with the young lady that served us (I should have asked her name.) If the owners are reading this, she is an asset to your business. She told us she started out as a customer but when the occasion presented itself she became an employee. The cakes arrive there fresh daily from the St-Roch location. I recommend this patisserie highly and I know that if I lived in Dollard this already overweight journalist would be even more overweight. And, lest I forget, their Spanakopita Phyllo Epinards is unbelievable and ideal for Christmas morning at $12 per dozen.

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Les Trois Brasseurs Revisited

Les Trois Brasseurs Revisited

46 Boul. Brunswick

Dollard-Des-Ormeaux QC

 

If you didn’t show up at the Trois Brasseurs in DDO last night for the fifth anniversary party, then you missed out on a fabulous time. Host Sam Pergantis was at his usual best making everyone feel more like a guest in his home. Notably absent were his wife and daughter due to a scheduling problem with the parents/teachers night. As per usual, Sam spared no expense in providing entertainment in the form of the Hi-Fins as great a British Invasion/60’s tribute band that you will run into in this part of the world. I have followed the careers of these talented musicians for several years now and they are getting better and better. I noticed many of the “senior” members of the audience singing along to tunes from the sixties. The food, as always was delicious. Delicious canapés and other appetizers were brought out while we pondered the menu and I enjoyed a Caesar cocktail. Then I ordered French Onion Soup which was amazingly good. Shirley enjoyed a Flammekueches which loosely translates to a pizza with various vegetables and cheese baked on a traditional flatbread with your choice of tomato garlic or creamy nutmeg sauce. Large enough for two and some left over to take home. We had to leave after the first set due to other commitments but I would guess that the well attended event is still in party mode as I type these words. Thank you, Sam, for another great evening.

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Gratitude

Gratitude
MainLine Theatre
3997 Blvd. St. Laurent
Continuing till December 2. 2018
Set in a high school locker room, and dealing with issues of rites of passage, dares, peer pressure and how teenagers can use sex as a weapon to dominate others, the play is extremely relevant to the larger story that is now unfolding across the front pages of our newspapers and media; the hazing and sexual assault taking place in St. Michael’s in Toronto.
Oren Safdie has once again written a timely and captivating play while co-directing a quartet of first rate actors. Each of these performers has extensive background in theatre, television, and films. Michaela Di Cesare plays the female lead in this coming of age drama. Patrick Emmanuel Abellard is a 23 year old Montrealer who has acted in English and French television. He was recently seen in Centaur Theatre’s production, the Choir Boy. (Revued in this blog) Patrick Keeler despite his youth has been performing across Canada and the U.K. for almost 20 years. Laurent Pitre, also from Montreal, has proven himself to be a fine bilingual actor and has parts in a couple of 2019 Centaur Theatre productions. The play has serious sexual content throughout. Michaela is very comfortable in the extremely intimate venue and I believe her strongest performance is when she is in dialogue with Laurent. Kudos to the entire team.
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Broadway Cafe Divas

Broadway Cafe

Diva Edition

November 17, 2018

Segal Centre

Hosted by Katee Julien and David Noel.

From start to the end of the second intermission there was not a moment of entertainment that was not exceptional. The second set closed with Katee Julien singing the Edith Piaf signature composition that in itself made the evening worthwhile. However there was so much more and it is difficult to highlight some of the outstanding performers without downgrading the rest. Among the notables were first-timer Elaine, who sang Somewhere from the musical West Side Story, Alicia, who sang Maybe This Time from Cabaret,

Camile, who sang  Gorgeous, Corina, my perennial favourite who sang Sinatra’s All The Way, and then there was Brandon’s unforgettable performance. Two performers whose names I missed did an outstanding medley from Evita culminating with Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. There were members of WISTA who performed as a preview of their upcoming production. (Highly recommended) Katee and David kept the evening moving smoothly and kudos to Chad, ably accompanying all the performers on keyboard. The party was still going strong, when unfortunately; I had to leave due to previous commitments. See you at the next one.

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The Tashme Project

The Tashme Project

The Living Archives

Centaur Theatre

November 15 – 24, 2018

 

 

 

 

The Tashme Project

The Living Archives

Centaur Theatre

November 15 – 24, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

The Tashme Project: The Living Archives, created, produced and performed with Julie Tamiko Manning and Matt Miwa, is a verbatim play that traces the history of Japanese Canadian internment during WW2. The performance, which runs eighty minutes without an intermission, is fascinating, entertaining, and historically accurate. The many hours of research by the developers is apparent and the delivery by two extremely talented actors is award worthy. As always, kudos to the director, Mike Payette.

 

It is shameful the manner in which the Canadian government treated Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Stories 0f internments have not been passed down and remain largely untold in Japanese Canadian families. The Tashme Project is committed to fighting against the potential loss of their community and rebuilding a sense of Japanese Canadian Identity and pride.

Artist talks will be held after each presentation.

 

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Via Marcello

Via Marcello

1790 Boulvard De La Côte-Vertu,

Saint-Laurent, QC, H4L 2A6

 

We were invited to a dinner and meeting of Shimmering Lights, a group supporting Shriners Hospital for Children-Canada and Women’s Shelters. We had dined there previously so the atmosphere, service and food quality were as expected. So was the plentiful parking. What was surprising were the speed and the accuracy that the orders were taken and brought to the tables considering the group consisted of 50 or more people with diverse appetites. Most restaurants might have provided a choice of two or three entrees but Marcellos offered their entire menu and complimentary tea or coffee and cake for dessert. The area where we were seated for the event was apart from the main dining area and when the meeting ended we were able to pay our bills and be on our way in short time. Prices are extremely reasonable and I recommend this restaurant for breakfast, lunch or supper for groups large or small.

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Wide release

24th October United Kingdom

2nd November United States

 

Rami Malek is mesmerizing as Freddy Mercury in this biographical film about the rock band Queen. The film opens with Mercury making his way on to the stage for the Live Aids performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985 then fades to recount the early years and culminates with the concert scene at Wembley that he was walking towards at the start. The film is never boring and the music is, as expected, unbelievable. Principal photography began in London in 2017 with Brian Singer directing. In December 2017 Singer was fired for clashing with the cast and crew and Dexter Fletcher was hired to complete the film. The film, on a production budget of approximately fifty million dollars, has grossed over $285 million world wide becoming the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all time. This film does not disappoint and is certain to take a few awards come Oscar time.

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The Children

The Children

Centaur Theatre

November 6, 2018

Truly a fantastic production of a topic that concerns all of us in our every day lives as we deal with how we are progressing and with what we are going to leave the next generation. The story, written by Lucy Kirkwood, Directed by Eda Holmes, and starring an ensemble cast featuring Fiona Reid as Rose, Laurie Paton as Hazel, and Geordie Johnson as  Hazel’s husband Robin, is right out of today’s headlines. It takes place at a time following an explosion at a nuclear science station and the people living near the perimeter.

The play which runs approximately 90 minutes with no intermission is almost typical British comedy, the two women exchanging banter in the kitchen of the cottage with some very funny lines. In due course Robin comes back into the house, surprised to see that they are having a visit from Rose who had long ago moved to America. The play then takes on a different mood as the glasses of wine are refilled and we deal with Robin making advances towards an uninterested Rose.

Bravo to all concerned. The script, the directing, and the acting take our emotions on a rollercoaster ride.

Continuing thru November 25 The Children should not be missed.

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Dawn Tyler Watson

Dawn Tyler Watson-Blues

November 3, 2018

Maison de la culture Maisonneuve

4200 Ontario Street East

 

What happens when you back up a tremendous vocalist/composer/producer with an award winning band and put them in front of an intimate setting with adoring fans? Tonight was a gift. Dawn Tyler Watson backed up by Ben Racine and his band, a four piece rhythm section plus a three piece horn section, and everyone at the top of their game. I have been a fan of Dawn Tyler Watson from the first time I saw her perform at a music festival on the West Island sometime in the 1990’s. I have watched her perform on more than one occasion with Paul Deslauriers in a similar venue in St. Henri and on the main stage at the Montreal Jazz Festival in front of 100 000 fans. I have seen her in a small intimate bar on St. Denis accompanied only by a pianist and she constantly delivers. Tonight she owned the stage. Her vocals were superb and her stage presence, as always, commands attention. She did two sets of approximately fifty minutes each with a short intermission. She started the second half with a song titled This and That from an early album and in the musical interlude she played the “air trumpet” as only Dawn can. I am not aware of the titles of some of the songs she sang tonight, one was a song that Adele has recorded, and a couple of heavy duty  “ love gone bad “ type songs. A great time was had by all and even after an encore the crowd would have gladly stayed for more. Dawn has established herself as a blues diva and deserves to be catapulted into the world of Grammies.

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