VOS offers a taste of Broadway

Heather Burns

The day after the royal wedding, Sylvie Hosie enthused about how it all unfolded.

“Those royals, they know how to throw a parade. Everything was timed to the minute,” she said.

It’s understandable that choreography would be key to her. Hosie is, after all, the director and choreographer for this season’s Victoria Operatic Society production. Hosie is working with musical director Heather Burns to stage Broadway: Decades in Revue, which opens tonight (May 6) and runs through May 15 at the McPherson Playhouse.

Hosie is well known for establishing Claremont Secondary’s performing arts department and has choreographed for the Chemainus and Belfry theatres. Burns is a fixture on Victoria’s jazz scene and has been musical director with Chemainus and Kaleidoscope theatres.

With a cast of 36 men, women and children, the toughest part for the duo has been compressing 5 1/2 hours of music – including Tony Award-winning songs – into two 50-minute acts.

“On a drive to Courtenay and back I listened to all the music, but still had music to listen to when I got back,” Burns said.

Auditions were held in January. A week after that, the women got to work with the cast, who are all volunteers.

“We have the cream of the amateur world on Vancouver Island,” Hosie said.

An accomplished musician, Burns also doubles as piano player in the revue, which includes song snippets from Gypsy, Evita and Miss Saigon.

Working with the cast has meant watching for the different talents each member brings to the production, Hosie said. “We also wanted to do a little bit of nostalgia, so the woman who played Mamma Rose in Gypsy last year, we have her doing a little bit from that.”

The set will include a winding ivory-and-black staircase that will be graced with a lineup of sensual showgirls.

“We really started with just two pieces of paper,” Hosie said. “Now we have a beautiful, complex show that sometimes has six-part harmonies. It’s all staged. We don’t just stand there and do it.”


Off Broadway

Broadway: Decades in Revue runs May 6 to 15 at McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Sq.

• For tickets, $19 to $39, call the box office at 250-386-6121 or visit www.rmts.bc.ca.

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