What We Did This Summer.

Because we like to (a) challenge ourselves and (b) share things with you, we decided to go a little “old school” and do our take on the assignment everyone inevitably faces at the beginning of each Fall, at the start of the new school year. Yes, Broadsway is submitting our “What I Did This Summer”. And the even better news is that you get to hear from EACH of us! Lucky you!!!!!

How I Spent My Summer “Vacation”??by Diane Leah

This is my first blog and Heather is making me do it, so forgive me if I am not as witty or clever with “les bon mots” as our Dear Gal from the Rock. Also, remind yourself that my skills lie in playing something with 88 keys, not typewriter keys, or whatever you call these new-fangled gadgets that have screens attached to them. Lap-dog computers! That’s it!   Knew I would come up with it!

Diane, Rick, and LizSome of you may not realize that I have a full time job at Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. I have this great choir and we work our “buttinskis” off to make the music great every week at 9:00 and 11:00. (If you are ever lonely or bored on a Sunday morning, you should check us out.) Anyway, in addition to the routine of week-in-week-out (we call it “the show that never closes”), I put together two major events in late June / early July. The first one was “Safe To Learn” – celebrating the 20th anniversary of Canada’s first and only LGTBQ high school. This was hosted by the incredible Rick Mercer. I even got my picture taken with him!

JustinThen, just a short 10 days later, we did our annual Church on Church Street service. Julie M. sang beautifully and I tried not to screw it up with Justin Trudeau, Kathleen Wynn and John Tory sitting in the front row. No pressure This is a really fun event – basically a concert with a sermon – so in addition to the choir, Julie, and a great band, Dale Miller, Jeigh Madjus and AJ Bridel (Kinky Boots) tore the house down, or tore the street apart, or whatever. It was outside, and something was torn. You need to know that “Justy” and I are pals and in this photo, he was actually bowing to me when he came in. If you don’t believe me, ask the photographer!

FloridaI have spent the last two months writing a Judy Garland show for Louise Pitre (Mama Mia). This has been a wonderful experience. Louise and I have been playing together since 1998 and will do this show in Florida in the New Year. She wouldn’t let me take her picture, but she has white hair! Anyhoo, here’s an alternate:

I went to a Jays game in July – we lost! I am addicted baseball and went through serious withdrawal while spending time at the cottage (oh, yeah, I did that, too) because we could only pick up the Olympics coverage. Ok, ok, those weren’t bad either, but, come on – it’s the Jays!!!

I have written some snazzy new arrangements for Broadsway (you’ll have to come to one of our shows at the Jazz Bistro to hear them – September 22, 23, and 24) and am already planning Christmas Eve at Roy Thomson Hall for the church.

DickinsAs I said at the beginning, Heather made me do this. My life is pretty dull compared to hers, but I do have a great partner (who tolerates Broadsway rehearsals) and very entertaining pets. Dickins is a rude black kitty who torments Mcduff, my cock-a-poo who is part something else – Great Dane? Not that we care.MacDuff

The weather has been fabulous and I am braced for serious retaliation from the gods sometime in December (hopefully not on the day we have to do our Christmas show at Aeolian Hall – December 3, by the way).

Ok, I am done. All of the best to you – enjoy what’s left of the summer and we hope to see all of you at the Jazz Bistro on September 22, 23 or 24.

My Summer – I Need A Napby Heather Bambrick

Each year, as June hits, a child-like joy spreads over me as if I were about to dot the last “i” and cross the final “t”, on the closing exam of the term. I look to the summer months with excitement and hopeful delight, convinced that THIS year will be the best one yet!! Suffice it to say, 2016 was no different.

Jazz Fest Group ShotI began the summer knowing it would start out quite busily and full of plenty of musical delights. Once again, I was asked to host a series of shows for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival at the Home Smith Bar, in Toronto. Melissa and HBThe series, called Heather Bambrick and Friends, was an official festival event and saw me working again with the incomparable “groove-meister” Russ Little and his superstar quartet: Tom Szeszesniak, Scott Alexander, and Brian Barlow. Each night, we featured a different musical guest, or “Friend”. Alex and HBWhat a lineup it was!! We started with Alex Pangman, followed by Broadsway, then NY-based ex-pat Melissa Stylianou, and closed the series with John Alcorn. Each night was sold out and featured a unique sound and style!! What a series! What a band! What a line-up! What a blessing!Alcorn and HB

Things continued to keep my music world full of activity. In July, Broadsway made our debut at the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival, and we also returned to the 120 Diner for a couple of terrific shows. I made a couple of my own debuts – at Jazz in the Lilac Room (part of the Lilac Festival in Warkworth) and at the Westben Arts Festival in Campellford! WestbenBoth were amazing and demonstrated the incredible support of audiences in these brilliant artistic communities just outside of the GTA! (If you haven’t checked out areas like Campbellford, Cobourg, Lakefield, Picton, Port Hope, Warkworth, and the like, do yourself a favour and do so! Incredible beauty both in scenery and in people!!)

I’m closing the summer by learning some of Diane’s new arrangements for the Broads (so much fun!!!!!) and working on my new solo CD. It’s been 10 years since I released a recording of my own, so I thought I would quote Charlie Parker and announce “Now’s The Time”. (FYI – that’s a Charlie Parker tune. StudioI’m not sure if he ever actually said that phrase. I mean, I’m sure he did whenever he announced from the band stand that he was about to play the song. But I can’t say for certain whether or not he ever actually said “now’s the time” in, say, general conversation. I just wanted to clear up that whole “quote” thing. It can get confusing, I know …. Oh, and also, I’m not actually recording the tune. I just said the phrase. Just to be clear …. )

Reunion ShotIn between shows, I spent lots of time hanging out with my partner and our dogs Digby and Muffin, taking care of some gardening (I think we purchased every solar garden light in the GTA), and making trips to my partner’s family cottage. I also enjoyed a fantastic visit home to Newfoundland to see my family, perform a show with my musical pals Bill Brennan and Patrick Boyle, and celebrate our 30-year school reunion with some of my chums. (Yes, that’s right – I referenced “school chums”. It just felt right.) I’m not sure that it’s actually been 30 years since I left those hallowed halls. We all still seem so young! I’ll have to check … I never was very good at math … something I was reminded of by a few of the teachers at the reunion!

Hmmm … I’m sure I did some other stuff … let me think … what else did I do??? I know there were a few other things … gimme a minute … it’ll come to me …

Oh, yeah! I discovered new love with a couple of delightful cocktails, including flavourful upgrades on the G&T, the classic “Rusty Nail”, and the unique and very refreshing “Moscow Mule”. We even purchased our own copper cups! Oh, yeah. We’re serious!!! In keeping with this, I began my quest to create a signature take on the Moscow Mule. My goal is to give it a unique “je ne sais quois” … something that reflects my East Coast heritage. I think I’ll name it: “The Newfoundland Ass”.

So, that’s my summer in a nutshell: I played some shows, hung out with friends, family, and my dogs, began recording a new record, did a little gardening, and considered beginning an alternate career as a bartender. (The latter is not necessarily off the table yet!!) And the best part is: it’s not quite over yet!! YES!!! CHEERS!!!!

What?! It’s September?!?! by Julie Michels

Road TripHoly-crap-on-a-cracker, we’re at September!!! When did that happen?? Honestly, just the other day I was thinking, “It’s May, that’s great! The summer is starting soon and I’ll bbq and go for long walks on the beach and ….”

Julie and ChristineAnd now it’s September! Well, I did ride my bike … and went to a couple of bbqs (I have a cool recipe below) … I had a couple great drives in the country … you know, the kind where you just point the car and go. I had a great time teaching at Jazz Works Jazz Camp …. but JEEEZE it’s almost SEPTEMBER!!!!

So, because I want to truly share part of my summer with you, here’s one of my favourite summer recipes. I first tried it at Far Niente, but it needed a little something else and whenever that happens, I start experimenting!! < insert evil laugh here >

SaladJulie’s Twisted Watermelon Salad

1 Small round watermelon chopped into bite-sized chunks

2 bunches fresh mint leaves, torn and rubbed

1 big hand-full of pitted, wrinkley black olives chopped or torn up

the zest and juice of one lime

1 big hand-full of feta cheese

Julie’s addition: a shot of tequilla (not the smokey kind), vodka is also nice, but I have a personal attachment to the tequilla…it was a long time ago…and there was this cowboy…..🙂

Take everything and dump it into a big bowl toss gently, and begin to nosh…keep away from children. I love this salad, it’s really pretty and tastes great and you can always leave off the booze if there are kiddies eating too.

There’s always something bittersweet about the end of summer. I think it goes back to summer vacations from school.   Looming ahead are books, and classes, and homework, and … well, those are still out there, but the studies are voluntary and I really like buying books.   As for the homework, it usually involves learning Diane’s arrangements for us, Broads.

SweatersStill, it’s time to start preparing for winter … you know, storing nuts and the like.   I’m strong, I’ll cope … <sniff> … I’ll embrace the coming Autumn … the time of stews and mulled wine and cashmere sweaters, and … hey! This isn’t so bad after all!Stew


Broadsway Jazz Toronto Julie Michels Diane Leah Heather BambrickHappy Love Month from Broadsway! Ok, so it’s not technically called “Love Month”, but this is the month during which we celebrate Valentine’s Day…and we love anything that celebrates love – in ALL its various forms! Hence, it’s “Love Month”! We LOVE how 2016 is progressing!

Jambo Jam 3 Toronto Jazz Music BroadswaySo far there are lots of exciting things in the works, starting with an appearance at Jambo Jam 3,  happening at the Metropolitan Community Church on February 27th. This is a wonderful event of music and celebration in support of the Bogani Family Coalition and the incredible work they do. For more information on Jambo Jam 3, and the efforts of this amazing group of people, visit boganifamilycoalition.com.

Next month sees us doing a return engagement at the 120 Diner on Sunday, March 6th. We’re gonna be mixing things up with tunes in honour of some musical legends we’ve recently lost, as well as lots of fun and frivolity from each of the individual members of Broadsway.

Broadsway 120 Diner Toronto Jazz

We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, March 6, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the 120 Diner  (120 Church Street, just south of Richmond). You can reserve your seats by calling 416-792-7725. Make sure you check out their fantastic menu and great line-up of beer! (We’ll all about a well-rounded evening!)

BROADSWAY @ 120 DINER Sunday, March 6, 5:00 – 7:00 pm 

120 Church Street, Toronto, ON 416-792-7725 120diner.com

Broadsway Windsor Symphony OrchestraIn April, we are thrilled to be making our symphony debut with the incredible Windsor Symphony Orchestra as part of their Toldo Pops series. This is something on which we’ve been working for more than a year, now, and it’s all coming together at last. We have some wonderful arrangements, courtesy of Becca Pellet, Charles Cozens, Shelly Berger, and Tom Szczesniak…and we’ve taken some of our best and brightest tunes to create a fantastic orchestra show! Along with the WSO, we’ll be joined by Ross MacIntyre on bass and Tom Jestadt on drums. All in all, it’s going to be one heck of an evening…er…two hecks of two evenings! Yes, there will, in fact, be 2 SHOWS: Saturday evening, April 2 and Sunday afternoon, April 3. There are already crews coming from various areas to Broadsway The Capitol Theatresee the show, but there is still room for you! We’d love for you to join us!

Broadsway with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Saturday, April 2, 8:00 pm Sunday, April 3, 2:30 pm

The Capitol Theatre, Windsor, ON windsorsymphony.com

Once again, we’d like to thank the “Friends of Broadsway” for their incredible support of this venture. We wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without them. Be sure to check out our website for more information about “Friends of Broadsway”…you never know: you might just want to join this circle of friends!

If you’re in – or like to visit, the Mississauga area, we’ll be performing at the Royal Bank Theatre in the Living Arts Centre, on Friday, April 22 at 7:00 pm, in a fundraising show for the Mississauga Festival Choir. More details are still to come for this BROADSWAY’S FEBRUARY BLOG OF LOVE performance, but it’s going to be a very intimate “supper club” style setting at one of the finest theatres in southern Ontario, so it promises to be a fabulous evening. Keep checking our website for more details, or contact info@mfchoir.com.

Of course, June in Toronto means a number of things, including Pride festivities and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. Things haven’t officially been announced for either, at this point, so be sure to keep checking our website (and reading these highly entertaining and incredibly informative blogs) for more information about shows around this time.

Jazz Festival Toronto Pride Broadsway

We’ll once again be heading out on the road for a few different venues including those in Kitchener-Waterloo, Bobcaygeon, and some which are yet to be announced. Again, stay tuned for more details about ALL of our upcoming shows and events!

Don’t forget to keep checking our website thebroadswayshow.com for lots of information about performances, contests, appearances, and more! PLUS, you can sign up for our mailing list while you’re on the website. AAAAANNNNNND, if you like this blog, and know other fun-loving, music-appreciating, highly enlightened individuals you think might enjoy our “Maven Ravin'”, please “hip them to the vibe”…(that is what the kids are all saying now, right?) and let them know they can simply visit the CONTACT page of our website to sign up for our blogs. We’ll do our very best to keep you all entertained in music and in bloggage!

That sums things up for now. Happy Love Month to all of you! However you’re celebrating, we hope you’re surrounded by those people and things you LOVE…and if part of what you are loving is our music? Well, WE LOVE THAT!!!!

Thanks for reading! More adventures to come!

Big hugs from,


Broadsway Jazz Toronto Music

Out With An AMAZING 2015 And Happy 2016!

Happy 2016!

It isn’t until you sit down and give it a good think that you realize – WOW, 2015 has been a great year!

I mean, anytime the Broads of Broadsway get together, we’re going to make lots of music and laughing until we’re aching…but then you actually look at what we did, well that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.37.30 AM.pngIt all started in January with the Broads returning to NYC for our second show at the Metropolitan Room – what a great night! There’s just something about New York City that makes you feel just that much cooler and that much hipper…ok…maybe it was the pastrami at Katz’s or the great Italian restaurants, but I’m going to go with it anyway!

Still in the Big Apple, we were off to APAP, an arts conference where we could watch, see and be seen by presenters and artists from all over the world. Of course, having the lights blow out and the sound board catch fire was also memorable. (Honest…we had nothing to do with it!!!)

Valentine’s Day weekend we played Diane’s home town of London, Ontario at the Aolean Hall. It’s a lovely room with great sound and an even greater piano (Diane was very happy. And if she’s happy, so are Heather and I). The audience braved a blizzard to come out and join us and the result was a warm, cozy evening with friends – even if they didn’t walk in that way – we were all together by the end of the night.Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.37.15 AM.png

March had us going from the Performing Arts Centre in Lakefield (with great thanks to Michael Rosen) to the Homesmith Bar, right here in Toronto – the travelling is great, but it’s always good to play a room at home!

April had us travelling again to Ajax and the St. Francis centre with its beautiful windows and great audience to the Deer Creek Golf Club to sing for Autism Ontario. That was such a satisfying gig – to be part of thea supporting cast of a great organization doing great work.

In May, we gigged at Toronto’s Soul Pepper Theatre. It’s always a kick to share the stage with folks you truly respect and whose talent is a pleasure to see and hear. We had so much fun! I think it’s the energy that’s generated when you get that special concentration of music and an audience that truly appreciates what you’re doing that makes a night magical and that is what happened.

On Mother’s Day, we were warmly welcomed at The Bloom Restaurant. Not only was the audience astute and appreciative, the meal we were served at the end of the evening was sublime. Did I mention that we Broads are fond of food? Do I need to mention that?

There’s a new venue for music in Toronto and the Broads got a chance to play our tunage at the 120 Bistro on Church Street during the Toronto International Jazz Festival. It’s fun to be in an intimate spot and really get to make the audience part of the performance.

Let’s see…we’re in July now…(my how time flies!) and singing in Niagara-on-the-Lake for their Jazz Festival. It was a great, enthusiastic audience and we had a blast. And we even got to continue the great vibes the next day when we taught our first workshop together! We’re all educators, but it was really fun to pool our experience and give our workshoppers a truly 3-dimensional experience!

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 10.36.09 AMNow onto our biggest event in 2016 – our new CD, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Maybe”. Yup, the Broads have made a CD of Christmas music…and stuff…..well, you can’t expect us to leave anything the way we found it! Mind you, there were more than a few songs that Diane lent her special talents to – “Breath of Heaven” is definitely one of the loveliest arrangements I know. And Heather’s version of “Christmas Angel” is so pure and sweet. And me? I got to sing one of my all-time favourites, Gordon Lightfoot’s, “Song for a Winter’s Night”. Then there’s the other Broadsway take on Christmas…”Jingle Bell Rockin'” and “Winter Wonderland” as a kick-ass Latin carol! Yeah…we just couldn’t play everything the way it was written…really!

Now think about this – it’s August, 30-plus degrees Celsius and about 200% humidity. The only sound in the quiet morning is that made by our three collective curly heads kinking up! We are at the studio of engineering wizard, Jono Grant and singing Christmas songs at the tops of our lungs – ‘like we ever sing anywhere else! I gotta’ tell you, it’s kind of an interesting head space to get into the Holiday spirit when just standing in one place makes you schvitz! Still, it’s a really fun CD and we had a blast recording it.

In November we released it at our beloved Jazz Bistro. Sybll and the gang helped to make the nights even more special by being right there cheering us on…and laughing…and well, you get the idea.

I would be remiss if I did not talk about the Friends of Broadsway. Spearheaded by Lisa Landry and Claire Lavoie, this group raised funds to cover the cost of our Symphony orchestrations. Broadsway will be performing with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra on April 2 and 3 of this year!!!! Since early summer, Diane and Heather have been working with four orchestrators to create symphonic versions of twelve pieces from our repertoire. Yes, Broadsway Bacharach has been orchestrated! We could not have funded this project on our own and are extremely grateful to: Lisa and Claire, Martha, Jennifer and Lori, Jo and Cheryl, Andrea and Deb, A. Frank, Gail R., Gwen, Liz, Heather G., Jacki, Jaki, Yvonne, Noelle and Diane, Heather B., Joan and Ann and Gail C.

The rest of the year has been a flurry (no pun intended) of great times, including Trivia contests at the MCCT (my team are the reigning champs…’just sayin’) and Heather’s annual Christmas Kitchen Party – imagine – great music – great people – great wine and great food – you just can’t get much better than that!

Well, that’s the news! It’s been a great, crazy, wonderful year full of music! If you are missing us, join us at the 120 Diner on Sunday March 6 between 5 and 7 p.m. Ticket info is on our website. Until we see you again, we thank for your ongoing support and friendship and wish all of you a New Year full of joy and love, good health and lots of laughter!

We’ll see you later!

The Broads of Broadsway

For a list of our shows and much more, please visit thebroadswayshow.com

Stay connected with us on Facebook & Twitter!

Zing, zing, zing, go our heart STRINGS!

a52d3e6e12117391a6020ff559116e67Broadsway is thrilled to announce our symphonic debut with the Juno-nominated Windsor Symphony Orchestra!

For some time, now, we Broads (and some of our musical friends) have been remarking on the potential natural fit between Broadsway and symphony orchestra. Now, thanks to the vision and encouragement of Maestro Robert Franz, (as well as arranger-extraordinaire Rebecca Pellett), this dream will come to fruition for two performances with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in 2016: Saturday, April 2nd and Sunday, April 3rd.

We’re delighted to begin this leg of our musical journey with such a fabulous orchestra as the WSO, whose “Pops” series has featured such past artists as Chris Hadfield, Sultans of Strings, and others. Conductor Robert Franz and the WSO have a brilliant reputation for their musicality and programming and we’re incredibly excited to be a part of their upcoming 2015 / 2016 season!

Click here to read more about the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, and their new season. Tickets for both performances go on sale August 1st, 2015. Click here for more information and to book yours!

Be sure to keep checking for news and updates here on our website, as well as on Facebook & Twitter!


In A New York State Of Mind…The Finale Part 3.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.27 AMNo sooner were we done at The Salon, when we had to head over to the Hilton for our next APAP showcase. We hopped in a cab, prayed the sound equipment was working tonight, and made our way to the big convention. Not only was it a huge display of music, it was also a great hang!! We spent time with fellow Canadians Dave Restivo, George Koller, Larnell Lewis, and the lovely Laila Biali (who is now based in NYC, so it was so good to spend some time with her and hear her incredible music!) We all did our showcases and cheered each other on, like the good Canadians we are. The response was great, and we met several NY-based singers who were all quite appreciative of what we did. As for the other results: we’ll see what happens and will keep fingers crossed!

Our official showcasing was done, but there was no rest yet, because we had more work to do the next day. After some walking around, visiting interesting places in the neighbourhood of our hotel, and a wonderful celebratory meal at a fabulous Italian restaurant (DeGrezia’s on 50th and 3rd) we headed to Birdland for another open mic. Birdland is a famous and well-respected New York Jazz mainstay, featuring the best of the best in the Jazz world. Every Monday night, the venue becomes a theatre / Cabaret room, including an early show from bigger-named artists (that night it was Jane Monheit) and a later open mic show known as Jim Caruso’s Cast Party.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.34 AMCaruso is a true entertainer: a Tony Award winner, a highly touted crooner with a great sense of swing, and one helluva sense of humour! Each week, he and a house band, including the incredible pianist Billy Stritch, welcome a host of Cabaret and Theatre artists (many of whom appear regularly on Broadway or in London’s West End) and the audience is treated to a wide variety of performers. Speaking of the audience, you never know who is going to be there!

On past occasions, Lucie Arnaz and Lisa Lambert (Drowsy Chaperone) were in attendance. On this night, the Grande Dame of Cabaret and Jazz, Ms Marilyn Maye was in the crowd! If you don’t know Marilyn Maye, you really should!! At 86 years of age, she is still in fine form, with a fabulous voice, fierce sense of swing, and wicked sense of humour!! Ella Fitzgerald once called her “the greatest white female singer in the world”, and on that night, the whole audience got a taste of her greatness. Guest host Klea Blackhurst (hilarious, by the way) invited Ms Maye to the stage and she graced us with a couple of numbers. She still had it!

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.45 AMWe were eventually called to the stage and did a rousing rendition of “Cloudburst / Oleo”, which the audience seemed to enjoy … so much so that we were asked to do another song immediately after (something which RARELY happens at Cast Party). We went into Broadsway Bacharach, with bassist Sadi Zain and drummer Daniel Glass trying their best to play along with us without the help of any music. All in all, it went well and people seemed to enjoy it. One of those people was Marilyn Maye, who was gracious enough to pass on some kind words and chat with us a little, following the show. We told her we were going to see Annie Ross (of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross – who did “Cloudburst”) at the Metropolitan Room the next night, and she said she’d call and make sure Annie heard us sing. What a gracious and classy lady!

The following day was our last full day in New York. We’d extended the weekend so as to be able to attend Cast Party and also visit the Metropolitan Room to see the legendary Annie Ross, the latter being our plan for the final evening in town. We each did our own thing during the day: Heather had a commercial recording session to do, so she headed to a studio for that; Diane had lunch with Michele Jelley, an old friend and niece to Jazz legend Kenny Wheeler; Julie laid low and relaxed after a particularly busy week for her. (Julie had been in New York since the previous Thursday.)

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.08.52 AMEventually we made our way to the Metropolitan Room to see Annie Ross. 84-year old Ross has been hosting Tuesday evenings at the Metropolitan Room for quite some time, now. Tonight, the show bizz veteran (77 years in the business!) was performing with legendary trumpeter Warren Vache. It was almost surreal hearing her sing! We were joined by Holli Ross, a wonderful vocalist we’d met at APAP. Holli has worked with Annie, so she introduced us after the show. In the meantime, it seems Marilyn Maye DID, in fact, call the Metropolitan Room to let them know that Annie should hear us sing. Warren Vache told us to go for it, so we did. I have to say: it was pretty darned cool singing “Cloudburst” to Annie Ross!! She listened with a big smile on her face, occasionally conducting a rhythmic “shot” or two along with us. There’s one to cross off the bucket list!

Having completed a VERY fun-filled, action-packed weekend, we returned to Toronto the next day. We were moderately exhausted, but pleased with how the weekend turned out.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.09.01 AM

Of course, there was little time to rest … we were returning to the Big Apple in just 3 days for our follow-up show at the Metropolitan Room. No rest for the wicked … or for the independent Jazz / Cabaret artists determined to create careers for themselves!

Thanks, New York! We’ll be seeing you soon!

Thanks for reading. More adventures to come! Big hugs from Broadsway. 


In A New York State Of Mind…Part 2

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.51.56 PMWe had another showcase the following evening, with another day to ourselves. Julie was tired and wanted to rest, so Diane and Heather took in another Broadway show (for research purposes, of course). Today it was “If / Then”, the show written for the Tony-winning musical theatre phenom Adele Nazeem … er, sorry …. Idina Menzel. Being a bit of a fan of her work, Heather was more than a little excited to see this show – not only to be able to see this Musical Theatre powerhouse (Menzel), but also to perhaps find some lesser-known modern Broadway tunes to add to the Broads’ repertoire. The show didn’t disappoint, mainly because we were front row, with Menzel, Tony-winner LaChanze, and theatre favourite Anthony Rapp (Rent) – as well as the other cast members – all within 2 feet of us. (Did we mention we were front row centre?)

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.52.07 PMParticularly sweet for Diane was the fact that the pit orchestra and conductor were right in front of us, as well, which made for a neat “inside look” at what the musicians were doing during the show, (which included – unfortunately – making distracting noises during a particularly poignant romantic scene … something for which said musicians were quickly chastised). However, the highlight was DEFINITELY experiencing Idina Menzel live. As Diane put it: “She truly is at the height of Musical Theatre right now – the best there is.” AND, there were, indeed, one or two songs from this show that were appealing. Stay tuned to see if they make their way into a future Broadsway show!

From here, it was back to the hotel to prep for the first of our “open mic” appearances this weekend. We’d been told by more than one person that the best way to get yourself in front of New York audiences is to do just that: get yourself out there. So, we connected with Richard Skipper, a well-heeled Cabaret performer who was hosting a weekly open mic called “The Salon”, happening at a great Italian restaurant called Etcetera Etcetera. They have an upstairs space, complete with stage, lighting, and a grand piano – plus plenty of seating – where cabaret artists gather each week to try out their stuff. Each show also features a “headliner”, if you will, who does their own 15-minute set. This week, Broadsway was the headliner. The crowd was lovely – very warm and supportive and we hoped there might be one or two who would join us the following week for our return to the Metropolitan Room.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.53.06 PMWhile we were sitting in the back of the room, enjoying some appetizers and a cocktail and waiting to perform, we were joined at our table by a couple who clearly knew the host and had been to previous Salons. Both of them seemed rather familiar, and we joked, made wise-cracks, and generally enjoyed some light conversation with them, all the while wondering why it felt like we knew them. Eventually, Heather said to one of them: “I’m sure I know you, but I can’t place it”, to which the woman simply replied “Orange Is The New Black”. It was Lin Tucci, who plays Anita DeMarco in the show!!

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 4.53.15 PMShe was an absolute doll, and took the time to chat with us about our performance, which she really seemed to enjoy. AND the neat thing was that she actually knows her stuff. She studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music and has worked quite a bit as a stage actress and in musicals. Plus, she also told us she’d spent more than a few years doing just what we were doing: working in the world of Cabaret, attending open mics, and truly just trying to sell herself as an artist to various audiences. She had some encouraging words for us and wished us luck. When she found out we knew Leah DeLaria from her work in Toronto, she told us she’d pass on the good word to Leah. It was great to be able to chat with someone who had spent so much time doing just what we are doing now … and to get encouragement from her. What a sweetheart!

What happens next? Check back NEXT WEEK for Part 3 of “In A New York State Of Mind” by Broadsway. 

In A New York State Of Mind…Part 1

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 11.47.47 AMWe’re well into 2015 and we Broads started the New Year out with a bang – 2 trips to New York City!

The first was for a conference known as APAP, which is an acronym for the American Performing Arts Presenters (or something equally as clever). Basically, artists and presenters from all over the world gather in New York for a weekend of showcasing and schmoozing. It was our first time at APAP and we really didn’t know what to expect. We were armed with business cards, flyers, CDs, fancy outfits (meant to say “Hey – we always look this good … even when we’re being relaxed and casual … but could break into song on stage at any minute … ” or something like that!) and a lot of hope!

We were scheduled for 2 showcases at something called “Two Great Days of Jazz in the Harlem Suite”. This was happening in a room at the Hilton (APAP’s host hotel) where for 2 days, various artists did 25 minute showcases, one after another. It was intense! Our first showcase was on Saturday night … which meant we had the day to take things in. Julie was showcasing on her own, so Diane and Heather decided to take some time and research for new material for Broadsway … translation: going to see some shows!

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.50.17 PMFirst stop: “The Last Ship”, with music by Sting. Alas, ticket sales for this show weren’t what producers had hoped for, and so it was set to close on January 24th. In an attempt to push sales, Sting – himself – was brought in as a member of the cast, and the show we caught was his last. We enjoyed the production (which might have had something to do with the double gin and tonics we purchased on our way into the theatre), and thought Sting was pretty good in his role. Diane’s extensive musical theatre background gave her more to say about the show: the staging, blocking, movement, arrangements, etc., etc., etc. Overall, it was a good experience, made better by the fact that we saw the composer, himself, acting in the production.

Our first showcase was scheduled for that evening. Anyone who has ever produced or presented a show knows the difficulties that go along with it. Thus, our hearts went out to Pat and Allan Harris, who were producing the “Two Great Days of Jazz … ” showcases. We felt particularly badly when, towards the end of the evening, things were already delayed, and then – poof – no sound!!! It seems the amount of power required to run the lights, and all of the sound equipment might have been just too much to handle. First, the lights flickered, then there was a strange odour, and finally someone yelled something about the sound board smoking, all of which was followed by the strangest little “dance of frustration” executed by the sound technician.

So, suddenly we were faced with (a) 30+ minutes delay to our already somewhat late (11:30 pm) showcase, (b) no sound / amplification system, and (c) a dwindling audience who now thought shows were cancelled because the sound board … er … almost caught fire!! HOWEVER, as they say in the bizz: the show must go on! When the time came (just after midnight), we took to the now significantly darker stage, and did a kick-ass performance … for the 8 people in attendance. Tomorrow is another day – and another showcase! Plus, the Hilton had a large hotel bar and the fact that there is such a thing as an “American Pour” meant we could mark the evening with a nice martini. (Yes, “martini” IS used in the plural sense there!)

What happens next? Check back NEXT WEEK for Part 2 of “In A New York State Of Mind” by Broadsway.