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Hitting Broadway’s high points

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Taking on the roles of some of Broadway’s most enduring characters, David Rogers will belt out a long list of memorable songs in Drayton Entertainment’s production of Broadway Heroes, which opens next week at the Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge.

David Rogers will be channeling Joseph and his dreamcoat as well as Curly from Oklahoma! during his performance of Broadway Heroes. [Submitted]
David Rogers will be channeling Joseph and his dreamcoat as well as Curly from Oklahoma! during his performance of Broadway Heroes. [Submitted]
The show honours the legendary heroes of Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma!, Man of La Mancha and many more. Along the way, it  channels such renowned performers as Al Jolson, Jack Cassidy and David Burns to modern day stars like Colm Wilkinson, Donny Osmond and Michael Crawford.

Rogers himself is no stranger to many of these roles, having become one of Canada’s most accomplished musical performers. Rogers came into the spotlight after portraying both the Phantom and Raoul in Toronto’s record-breaking production of The Phantom of the Opera. Since then, he’s starred in many other major Canadian productions including Tommy, CATS, and Evita. He has also become a featured soloist with symphony orchestras across the country.

Most recently, Rogers received acclaim for his performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables at the very same Dunfield Theatre. Look for Valjean to make an appearance in this new show.

Other favourites will include Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady and Curly McLain from Oklahoma! and a whole lot more as Rogers’ extensive vocal range tackles dozens of now-classic tunes from the Great White Way.

“He’s going to sing all the great songs from the leading men of Broadway, notes director David Hogan. “To go from being Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof to the part of Curly in Oklahoma!, you have to embody those characters, and David Rogers does just that.”

A long-time collaborator – the two are co-artistic directors at the Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, also home to musical director Mark Payne – Hogan has plenty of experience with Rogers’ abilities as a performer.

“He’s such an entertainer. There’s so much energy – he’s not just singing, he’s putting on an event.”

The set is covered with posters from the great Broadway shows, from behind which Rogers can pull various props and costume bits to shift characters. There’s the mask he wore performing as the Phantom, Curly’s cowboy hat and chaps, Jolson’s white gloves and bow tie, Teyve’s prayer shawl and Joseph’s amazing coat, among others.

“It switches so fast,” said Hogan of the show’s energy, which is laced with plenty of humour.

From rousing showstoppers to tunes that’ll make you laugh or cry, Broadway Heroes covers the full range, he said.

“It’s a delightful evening of entertainment.”

While it’s technically a one-man show, Rogers will be backed by a group of musicians featuring Payne on piano, Randy Rektor on bass, Daniel Baerg on drums, Jesse Grandmont on violin, Paul Otway on trumpet, Tony DeLuca on woodwinds and Mike Polci on trombone.

“It’s a seven-piece band that really manages to sound like a 34-piece orchestra,” said Hogan, himself no stranger to Drayton productions, having directed last year’s acclaimed production of Godspell at the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse.

The Drayton Entertainment production of Broadway Heroes plays seven shows a week from October 1 to 19. Tickets are $42 ($25 for those under 20 years of age), available online at www.dunfieldtheatrecambridge.com, in person at the Dunfield Theatre Cambridge box office, or by calling (519) 621-8000 or toll free 1-855-DRAYTON (372-9866).

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