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Buddies in Bad Times Queer Pride Fest Arrives, And I Couldn’t Be More Stoked



I have a special place in my gay old heart for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The theatre was my birthplace in a way. My first professional set design was for a show that premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. It was a play about the “Orillia Opera House Scandal“, and it was the most fun, and frustrating experience ever in the theatre world. My friend, a female playwright from York University wrote it (whose name I can’t remember…Anyone?), and it was about all the men who were outed in their town and community when the police placed a camera in the men’s public bathroom. It was placed there in order to catch and ultimately shame/destroy the men who went to that bathroom for sexual interactions. Once identified, their names were published in the town’s newspaper, all before any other official action was taken, ruining many of their lives. Pretty intense, right?

I thought the play was brilliant. Including my set, if I can say that. It was pretty awesome, one of those structures that when you rotated it this way and lowered a wall, it was a bedroom. When you turned it that way and opened it up, it was bathroom stalls. Urinals appeared when you rotated it one way. A kitchen counter when you rotated it back. It was cool, and I was proud of my inventiveness, although, I will admit, quite honestly, that the actors were too scared to set foot on the movable wood structure that I built all by myself late in the night. And I didn’t blame them. I was not a carpenter. I was told I would have one, but, as anyone who ever worked in the theatre would know, a carpenter didn’t materialize, and it was me, all alone, nailing pieces of wood together at midnight in an empty theatre. Thank god that one of those scared brave actors was a carpenter by trade, and stayed one night and made it structurally sound. Saving the day, and my honor. So I thank him for that. And for Buddies to be that place that forever lives in my heart as my first slice of working in the big old Gay theatre world.

So I was very pleased to receive the press release from Buddies in Bad Times Theatre announcing their line-up for Queer Pride 2022 – a festival of queer theatre, comedy, cabaret, art, music, and parties that showcases Toronto’s community’s unstoppable spirit. For three weeks, Buddies will host a stellar line-up of Toronto’s most exciting queer entertainers. And I hope to be able to hit a few of them up while I am here in town for the first time in decades.

This year’s Queer Pride Festival offers an eclectic mix of new and familiar artists as we welcome audiences back to Buddies, capping off our 43rd season,” says Interim Director of Operations and Programming Daniel Carter, who curated this year’s festival. “As we began this year with an offering of digital programming, I’m thrilled to be closing this season with a full return to in-person programming which celebrates both our communities and this beloved space called Buddies.”


  • An digital audio experience capping off Buddies’ Queer, Far, Wherever You Are series, Trans Gemmes: Daddy Let the Girls Out (Oral Edition), directed by Bilal Baig, with music by Sofia Fly.
  • A bevy of pageants and art parties, including Lady Five Community Pageant and Party,  Weird Alice Yankadic and Tygr Willy’s Drop Deadly Gorgeous, and F.A.G. (Fancy Art Gallery) hosted by Molly Amoresse and Diana Sauss.
  • A special ten-year anniversary screening of Vivek Shraya’s What I LOVE about being QUEER, followed by an artist talk.
  • Musical offerings ranging from concerts by the Bruised Years Choirs and cover band MANifesto, to a performance-reimagining of an iconic album by the inimitable #ClownsKillEmpires
  • Sharings from this year’s Emerging Creators Unit co-hort, Kalale Dalton-Lutale and Tan Vu, plus a special Queer Pride edition of QueerCab featuring emerging artists from across the city.
  • The best queer comedy in town – with Buddies regulars GayAF, and new sketch and solo offerings from 4sum and Don Valley Girls  – showcasing the talents of Brandon Ash-Mohammed, Tricia Black,  Ajahnis Charley, Tom Hearn, Elvira Kurt, Rabiya Mansoor, and more.
  • Late night fun including a Kings and Classics, Throb, and the Village debut of Steers and Queers Gay Ole Opry, featuring their unmissable Night of a Thousand Dollys, plus four full-facility parties with some of Toronto’s best drag queens and DJs.


    The Future is Risky and Possible

    Throughout the festival // Installation

    “The future is risky and possible” is a statement developed by multidisciplinary artist Andrew Zealley. The desire to seek comfort in individuality and permanency is challenged by  environmental crises, processes of divisiness, and forces of gentrification that underscore our current moment with calls for compliance. Life itself is a risky proposition. Possibilities abound. Resist calls to return to normal, resist toxic nostalgia.

    Trans Gemmes: Daddy Let the Girls Out (Oral Edition)

    Throughout the festival // Audioplay // $0-$20

    Capping off our Queer, Far, Wherever You Are series, Trans Gemmes: Daddy Let The Girls Out (Oral Edition) is an audio experience capturing a wild night full of pillow fights, flashing lights, trans rights, and burgers. Directed by Bilal Baig, and accompanied by fresh DJ beats by Sofia Fly, your ears are about to receive some major head!

    What I LOVE about being QUEER: 10 year anniversary screening
    June 7 at 7:30PM | The Cabaret | PWYC – $5

    34 beautiful queers. One big question. 10 years later. Join Vivek Shraya for an intimate, ten-year anniversary screening of her film, What I LOVE about being QUEER, followed by a conversation with activist, educator, and artist Farrah Khan.

    You Made Me Queer!
    June 8 at 8PM | The Cabaret | $15-$20 

    Comedian and host Trevor Campbell invites his panel of superstar guests to point the finger of blame at who and/or what left them bent for life. Based on his hit Sonar Network podcast, YMMQ! is the accusatory queer-comedy-musical-talk show you’ve dreamt of but weren’t sure you deserved. We’re here, we’re queer, and it’s your fault!

    Gay AF Comedy & Rushzilla Productions present: Pridezilla

    June 10, 8pm | The Chamber | $20-$32

    Kick off your Queer Pride with laughter! Rush Kazi and Robert Watson host a monstrous showcase of Queer comedic talent, bringing together a mix of fab local and world-renowned comedians from across our 2SLGBTQ+ communities. With headliner Elvira Kurt, special guest Brandon Ash-Mohammed and featuring Coko & Daphney, Tom Hearn, Dave Kim, Bobbi Summers, and more!

    Lady 5 Community Drag Pageant & Party

    June 10 at 10pm | The Cabaret | $25

    Looking for a supportive, fun place to get dressed up, celebrate queerness, and take a chance? Lady 5 has got you! It’s a night of drag competition and special guest performances, all mixed in with a dance party with DJ Regina Gently. Best of all, it’s all in support of the amazing Rainbow Railroad. Dressing up not mandatory, but STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.

    Building Bridges and Creating Space for Deaf Artists

    June 11 at 6PM | The Cabaret | Free/PWYC

    Emerging Company-in-Residence member Courage Bacchus is joined by three Deaf artists for a raw and open discussion about the barriers they experience, and how they’re working to carve out space for themselves and their art.

    Emerging Creators Unit Showcase

    June 11 at 8PM |The Chamber | Free/PWYC

    Since January, our Emerging Creators Unit has been curating a path of artistic exploration and discovery, supported by Tawiah M’Carthy, Philip Geller, and guest mentors. At our Queer Pride Festival, Tan Vu and Kalale Dalton-Lutale conclude their time in the ECU with a sharing of excerpts, experiments, and insights into their creative processes and learnings.


    June 11 at 10:30PM | The Cabaret | $10

    This isn’t your average Queer dance party. THROB is the event to get crazy, sexy, cool on the dance floor. DJ Tom Cable spins all the erotic pop, 90s, early 2000s, and current vibes, all night long. This dance floor is open and aims to be safe for everyone in our queer communities. Follow @throbtoronto on Instagram for more info!

    Flamingo Market: Pride 2022 Edition

    June 12 from 12-6PM | The Chamber | Free

    Toronto’s three-time award-winning LGBTQ2SIA+ market returns to Buddies (in-person!!) this June for a very special Pride edition, showcasing the incredible, talented artisans and business owners in our LGBTQ2SIA+ Community!

    QueerCab: Playing with Abundance

    June 12 at 3PM | The Cabaret | Free/PWYC

    As we return to in-person performance we’re asking: how can we honour and celebrate space for all? What does it mean to embrace excess and access? After spending the past five months sharing in community and learning through our Emerging Artist and Producer Series, artists will bring forward new and experimental performance offerings.

    KEVIN MORRIS: SMALLTOWN BOY (Photo by Gesilayefa Azorbo)
    JUNE 14

    Kevin Morris: Smalltown Boy

    June 14 at 8PM | The Cabaret | $25

    Cabaret superstar Kevin Morris returns to Buddies! With the one and only Chris Tsujiuchi leading a live band, Kevin kicks Pride off with his big voice and hilarious (and sometimes sad) stories set to songs by the likes of Madonna, Bronksi Beat, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo.

    Fancy Art Gallery (F.A.G.)

    June 14 at 9pm | The Chamber | $12-$15

    An art party/performance night/curatorial experiment, Fancy Art Gallery (F.A.G.) showcases Toronto’s up-and-coming performers alongside more experienced artists in a rotating “exhibit of the month”. Hosts Diana Sauss and Molly Amoresse are kicking off this new monthly party at Pride. By challenging the performers to tackle their deepest creative selves, they’re hoping for the F.A.G.-iest night in Toronto!

    aluCinArte Latin American Arts Festival presents : The Delightful Queer Subversion

    June 15 at 9PM | The Cabaret | Free/ PWYC

    Toronto’s newest multidisciplinary arts festival kicks off in June, celebrating the best in Latinx arts and culture! Opening aluCinArte is The Delightful Queer Subversion, a not-to-be-missed opening night fiesta for the fest. This confluence of Latinx and queer identities features performances by Sinverguenzilla, Cerena, Selena Vyle, and Irmita La Dulca, and music by DJ Sofia Fly.

    EveryBODY onstage

    June 16 at 8 PM | The Cabaret | $30
    Canada’s premier theatre company working to end anti-fat bias and promote the inclusion and positive representation of all bodies on stage is live in the Cabaret! EveryBODY on Stage brings you a variety hour featuring some of Canada’s most talented queer performers, celebrating their diverse bodies. Hosted by Chelsea Jayne Bray.

    Drop Deadly Gorgeous: the Pageant

    June 16, 7pm | The Chamber | $20

    Pageants aren’t just about beauty and superiority anymore: enter this comedic take at pageant culture, with a queer twist. Weird Alice Yankadic, self-appointed Canadian trash drag royalty, with Toronto’s Them Fatale Tygr Willy, has chosen eight of Canada’s prime queer artists who’ll compete to show off their best assets for you and our five fierce local judges. Who will be crowned the Deadliest?

    4sum: a comedy show

    June 17 at 7PM | The Cabaret | $20

    With credits spanning the CBC, Just For Laughs, Second City, HBO, the Canadian Screen Awards, and more, these four headliners didn’t come to play. Comedians Tricia Black, Ajahnis Charley, Tom Hearn, and Selena Vyle serve up some of their hottest solo work… and they do group stuff, too!

    Les Femmes Fatales presents: Other Suns

    June 17 at 8PM | The Chamber | $25

    Canada’s first burlesque troupe for women and femmes of colour is back at Buddies for the final installment of their Otherworldly trilogy – a night of burlesque and performance art celebrating resistance, magic, sensuality, and love. Hosted and curated by Dainty Smith.

    Kings & Classics: A Royal Return

    June 17, 10:30PM | The Cabaret | $25 

    East King Productions has returned with one of Toronto’s longest and hottest running Drag Kings shows, Kings and Classics pride 2022 edition, hosted by PrettyRiikkii! East King is back after two years and can’t wait to share the stage with you once again.

    Pride Toronto, The Rekai Centre & Buddies present: See Me, Hear Me, Feel Me: Making Life Better

    June 18, 1-4PM | The Rekai Centre – Wellesley | Free

    Rekai Cenre—Toronto’s only long-term care facility space dedicated to queer residents—hosts a lawn party celebrating queer seniors, and open to everyone! Stop by and make a new connection or two, enjoy the sun, have a snack, and take in some of the intergenerational entertainment on hand all afternoon.

    Haus of Decadence & Drag Academy presents: VS Jasmine Kennedie

    June 18, 8PM | The Chamber | $30-$50

    Eight Canadian drag artists battle it out onstage through a series of lip sync challenges for an opportunity to take on Jasmine Kennedie, and earn a chance to win a prize pack including a cash prize and the title of Lip Sync Champion. Hosted by Miss Shay Dee, Calypso Cosmic, and Miss Fiercilious, with music by Sofia Fly.

    Poetry Sunday & SiteLines

    June 19 at 4PM | The Cabaret | Free/PWYC

    Buddies’ monthly poetry open mic is back with a special Pride edition. Come by, sign up, and share some words! At 7PM, OCAD University’s SiteLines reading series takes over, with guest readers Arielle Twist and Juliane Okot Bitek presenting some of their works.

    JUNE 22

    #ClownsKillEmpires Battle The Pink Robots

    June 22, 7PM | The Cabaret | $5-$20

    #ClownsKillEmpires bring their signature blend of clowns, drag, and irreverence to The Flaming Lips’ iconic album. It’s a multimedia, non-stop trip through outer space you won’t want to miss. Featuring Full Blown Father, Mx. Quest, Pickles LaVey, and more, plus digital magic by Lady Kunterpunt!

    Good Medicine presents: The Lost Pride Show

    June 22 at 8PM | The Chamber |  PWYC – $20

    The ‘Bad News Bears of Choirs’ are back to perform unseen pieces from the lost Pride Show (not seen at Buddies, 2020), revisit a few greatest hits, and welcome some special guest music and comedy acts. The Bruised Years Choir delves into themes of madness and hope, with all-original takes on the music of Gloria Gaynor, Judy Garland, Gnarls Barkley, Portishead, and more.

    Steers & Queers Gay Ole Opry

    June 23 at 9PM | Full Facility | $25

    After 15 years of debauchery in the west end of the city, this famously rowdy queer country western party is fixin’ to bring their rhinestones and rawhides from the wild west-end to the Village! At their annual “Night of a Thousand Dollys,” expect a cabaret church service, full Dolly choir, live band, drag queens, burlesque and a full-on country western dance party. Hosted by Fluffy Souffle, this gay ole opry is not to be missed!

    JUNE 24

    MANifesto Are Gay

    June 24 at 7PM | The Chamber | $40

    MANifesto are here for their first full-steam-all-rainbows-ahead live show featuring all the songs from their smash hit chart topping foot tapping debut album PINKY SWEAR. MANifesto are a gaggle of grown up gays from Toronto, covering songs originated by girl groups.

    Don Valley Girls

    June 25 at 8PM | The Chamber | $10-$50

    When you’ve aged out of being the Main Character what else is there to do but laugh (okay, and also cry)? Serving up weird (sometimes heartfelt) sketches, songs, and the occasional video interlude, Don Valley Girls are a mashup of Somali/Korean/Palestinian/Pakistani Canadian perspectives from women and non-binary folks.This is NOT your auntie’s sketch show. (Or maybe it is.)

    The Tea Dance

    June 26 at 3PM | The Cabaret | Free

    Buddies provides cool respite for the weary and thirsty on Pride Day afternoon, spreading out the welcome mat for a friendly gathering just off the parade route. Stop by the cabaret to toast the end of the season!

    JUNE 24

    Tallulah’s Pride Party

    The best party on the block takes over the whole building for Queer Pride. See Toronto’s top drag and burlesque artists in a super-charged floor show, and stay late with our resident DJs spinning your favourites.

    June 18: Molly Amoresse, Krēme Inakuchi & Miss Zoe Sweet; DJ Sofia Fly

    June 24: Beardra Bidness, Helena Poison & El Toro ; DJ Sofia Fly

    June 25: Bombae, Wrong Note Rusty & Tygr Willy; DJ Relentless

    June 26: Baby Bel Bel, Carlotta Carlisle, Katinka Kature & Fantasia Royale Gaga; DJ Tom Cable

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to


Have You Begun Dreaming of It Yet?  (PART I) 



What else – White Christmas, of course! 

December is jampacked with great entertainment, so I hope you’re caught up on your shopping, because there are lots of treats for you this month. Here’s a stockingful of events that you shouldn’t miss.   

If you’re looking for probably the most glamorous gift of the season, drop by Doyle Galleries to at least look at The Ellin and Irving Berlin Sapphire and Diamond Ring.  Bidding is estimated to begin at $200,000 at the December 14th auction. 

Jason Henderson kicked off the month reprising his highly acclaimed latest venture, Getting to Noël You at Don’t Tell Mama on the 4th.  If you missed this evening, don’t worry – he’s back by popular demand—same time, same location—on January 24th and February 11th.  It’s quite a curious and fast-paced ride he takes us on, and it’s one not to be missed.   

The York Theatre has delivered a mitzvah–just in time for Christmas. Billed as a Musical Comedy of Biblical Proportions, The Jerusalem Syndrome certainly lived up to expectations.  You must see it to discover the meaning of the title, which is fact, not fiction. 

 While this has been in development for several years, the skilled midwifery of the York brought forth a little bundle of joy that had the audience laughing at its humor and touched by its message.  Sensitive to the current Middle East conflict, the York bravely went ahead with the project, which affords everyone a chance to marvel and understand the miracle that is Israel. 

 It’s running through the end of the year—visit the York website for more info. 

Urban Stages has announced its “2023 Winter Rhythms” series, the award-winning music festival at Urban Stages Theater (259 West 30th Street – between 7th & 8th Avenues). 

It began with a gala on December 6 entitled “Nights at the Algonquin: A Celebration of The Oak Room Supper Club,” featuring many legendary cabaret performers including  Natalie Douglas, Boots MalesonSteve Ross, and Daryl Sherman.  Hosted by Michael Colby (author of The Algonquin Kid), the evening began with a champagne and wine reception followed by the show at 7:30 with a post-show gathering to follow.  

On Sunday, December 10 at 3pm “Created at the Algonquin: Songs from Musicals Written at The Algonquin,” featuring performances by Craig Bierko, Shana Farr, Jenn Gambatese, Anita Gillette, Jon Peterson, Steve Ross and others. The program will be directed by Sara Louise Lazarus with Michael Lavine directing the music.   

As part of the festivities, Shana Farr will reprise her glorious Barbara Cook tribute on the 16th.   Ice Cream,. Anyone?   


Everyone’s favorite is Karen Mason, whose show Christmas!  Christmas! Christmas! is one night only at Birdland at 7 pm on the 11th.   

Stay tuned for Part II for Christmas romance, tradition, and good will! 

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Head To The The Algonquin Hotel For Some Holiday Cheer



As we head into the holiday season, The Algonquin Hotel’s December event lineup is open to both hotel guests and New York City locals. The hotel will spread holiday cheer with a variety of festive performances, cocktails, and experiences including:

  • Cocoa and Carols Happy Hour: Daily, 5-8PM, Every evening this December, all are invited to enjoy Specialty Cocoa while Christmas carols chime at the Blue Bar. Drinks will include Mexican Hot Chocolate spiked with mezcal
  • KT Sullivan Cabaret:  December 5th, 12th and 19th, Sullivan will perform her iconic Christmas Cabaret. As noted by The New York Times, Sullivan is a thrilling Off-Broadway performer with over eight published albums
  • Rocco Dellaneve’s Rat Pack Christmas: December 7th, 14th and 21st, Rocco Dellaneve will perform iconic songs from the Rat Pack Christmas album with special inclusions of Santa with Sinatra, Rocco of the Snow, Rudolph and the Rat pack
  • The Serafina’s and Broadway Vocalists: December 8th, 15th and 22nd, enjoy the high kicking – precision line dancing Christmas tradition around The Algonquin tree. The Serafina’s will be available for pictures and autographs from 6pm to 7pm, followed by special Broadway vocalists

A portion of proceeds from all events will be donated to Toys for Tots.

Beyond the December events, The Algonquin Hotel is located in a prime position nestled in the heart of Times Square and Fifth Avenue, making it the perfect launchpad for a New York City holiday experience. The hotel is a historical jewel that emphasizes the importance of making unique, storied experiences. Since its opening in 1902, The Algonquin Hotel is famous for its timeless style and desire to honor the literary and cultural elite. The distinguished Round Table Restaurant and Blue Bar offer tasteful dining inclusions and curated cocktails that are sure to excite everyone.

Photo credit: The Algonquin Hotel, Autograph Collection


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The atmosphere in The Boca Black Box was akin to The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas last night as movie/TV star Robert Davi (140 films and counting) swaggered onto the stage to sing and swing the songs of Frank Sinatra.  His show, titled “My Kind Of Town” had all the elements of a Sinatra event thanks to Davi’s personality which radiates the same mystique and musical excitement that ‘Ol Blue Eyes” possessed.  Robert Davi’s performance was not a great actor acting a role… this was Robert Davi,  a great actor  who started his career as a trained singer thrilling an audience singing songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, but with Davi’s own magnetism and vocal prowess.  I don’t know if Sinatra ever played Boca Raton but Robert Davi turned Boca into ‘his kind of town last night” as he brought the musical substance and charisma of “the chairman of the board” to South Florida.

Davi’s had a long and distinguished career in show business and this Boca Black Box audience got to see a lot of the musical part of it last night. The tough guy movie actor sang the music of Frank swinging it “his way”

About Robert Davi:

Robert Davi, an American actor, singer, writer, and producer has played the roles of main villain and drug lord Franz Sanchez in the 1989 James Bond film License to Kill.  He was FBI Special Agent Bailey Malone in the NBC television series Proflier.  He played a Vietnam veteran and FBI Special Agent Big Johnson in Die Hard.  Davi played the opera-singing heavy Jake Fratelli in The goonies, Hans Zarba in Son of the Pink Panther and Al Torres in Showgirls.  His album, Davi Sings Sinatra—On The Road to Romance, hit #6 on the Billboard jazz charts.  Praised for his voice, Davi debuted as a headliner at The Venetian, in Las Vegas.








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Adrienne Haan Celebrates Irving Berlin and Christmas at the Triad



This Christmas take a big scoop of classic Irving Berlin songs, have them sung by the ever sparkling Adrienne Haan, sprinkle in the voice of her musical director, Richard Danley and you have a festive feast for your ears. I have seen a number of Ms Haan’s shows at the Triad and each one includes something that makes it a step above a typical cabaret show. The first time I saw her there was an actual tuba on stage; the second a number of costume changes, other shows had duets with guest stars or choreography; this time hearing the singing voice of her long-time accompanist and musical director, Mr Danley. The two have bantered in the past but in this show Richard shows his vocal and comedic side with songs like I Paid My Income Tax Today and How About a Cheer for the Navy.

The man at the piano can sing

Of course Adrienne blew her audience away with her renditions of There’s No Business Like Show Business and Blue Skies; but, hearing the usually silent man behind the piano was a surprise to me like Teller taking the stage from Penn and his baritone was as shocking as hearing the bumbling Gomer Pyle turn into the rich voiced singer, Jim Nabors. The two of them created a wonderful celebration of Mr Berlin’s musical catalogue with a combination of solos and duets.

They really enjoy each other

Entering the theater, as the holiday season begins, and a show title of  White Christmas at the Triad Theater, one would expect to hear 90 minutes of Christmas songs; but, read the second line on the program and you realize that it is really a celebration of the man who wrote one of the most recognizable holiday songs of all time, White Christmas. Not only will we hear the music of Mr Berlin but we will get some insight into his life as Adreinne celebrates his 130 year anniversary of his arrival in the United States. From Europe to Broadway to Hollywood; in military songs, love songs or holiday classics the trio of Haan, Danley and Berlin take us on a historical journey of a life well lead.

Adrienne has a number of costume changes – First up New Years Eve dripping in “ice”

Opening the show in a festive seasonal outfit ready for a New Years Eve celebration with “ice” dangling from her ears and around her wrist Adriene introduces us to some well-known Berlin tunes Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Let Me Sing and I’m Happy. One of the treats of her shows is that she does a lot of research into the music she sings and she has done her homework telling us about the life of Israel Beillin, immigrant from Imperial Russia, the country now known as Belarus. He only spoke Yiddish when he landed on Ellis Island so Ms Haan sings Ofyn Pripetchik in his native tongue and then follows with Berlin’s Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor – a tribute to that wonderful Statue in NY harbor. She finishes this section of the show with Marie from Sunny Italy which gives her the opportunity to show her strong vocal ability with a long strong belt of a song.

Army songs

Berlin came to America in 1893 at the age of 5 which means he was drafted into the army during World War 1, where he wrote the famous anthem Oh How I Hate to Get up in the Morning and which Ms Haan sang in military uniform. A number of tunes that Berlin wrote for both World Wars followed as the two singers alternated songs and Adrienne gave us some more tidbits about the composer. The song I Paid My Income Tax Today sung by Mr Danley is actually owned by the IRS. (I wonder is THEY have to pay tax on the royalties they earn when it is sung.)

When she sings some of Mr Berlin’s wartime songs she dresses for the occasion.

Ms Haan is a proud Luxembourger and as life imitates art, or vice versa, Mr Berlin’s Broadway and film musical, Call Me Madam is based on the life of Perle Mesta who was the Ambassador to Luxembourg from 1949-1953. Haan again showed she’s the singer with the zinger when she sang The Hostess with the Mostes’ on the Ball  from that show as well as the tribute to the fictitious country in that show Lichtenburg. As far as art leading to reality it is interesting to note that Mr Berlin’s home, 17 Beekman Place, was purchased by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 1990 a year after Berlin’s death.

She is one performer who uses every part of the stage

Berlin wrote over 1,500 songs in his 60 years of composing so to highlight all of the numbers Haan sings is too long a list; but, the jaunty I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning, They Say that Falling in Love is Wonderful, Cheek to Cheek and Blue Skies show her range of interpreting music. The love song Always was a particularly important song to Berlin and Haan did it justice as this song was written to Berlin’s wife, Ellin Mackay, on their wedding day.

Hittng high notes

Of all the show tunes, patriotic anthems, and love songs performed in this show I have to give a special shout out to the Haan/Danley duet of You’re Just in Love. I have seen it sung by a number of Broadway stars, Merman, Stritch, Donald O’Connor and Larry Blyden,  (and for the newer generation, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana) in the past; but I’ve never seen the male singer play the piano at the same time. WOW!

Facial Expressions bring life to her Songs

It is the holiday season, remember, so Ms Haan’s third costume change is a beautiful red gown that fits the time and she finished the evening with the traditional songs of the Yuletide spirit, including Happy Holiday, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and of course White Christmas.

This is not a traditional Christmas carol singing show but Ms Haan never is one to follow the norm. This was a wonderful tribute to Mr Berlin with added surprises featuring the excellent wit and talents of both Adrienne and her musical director and accompanist of 22 years, the unsung (until this show)  singer Mr Richard Danley.

A second show is at the Triad on Tuesday, December 5 at 7PM. It will get you smiling and into the holiday spirit.

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Events For December



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