Kingston’s Broadway Hero Comes Home

“David Rogers is one of Canada’s leading musical theatre talents. He has starred in major productions ranging from Broadway revues to mega-musicals and from operetta to rock opera.  His one-man show, Broadway Heroes -The Great Leading Men,  has played many theatre venues across Canada to critical acclaim and is now being presented with symphony orchestras.”  The best part is, he’s one of ours.

This weekend David will be performing his orchestral show twice with our own Kingston Symphony and I was lucky enough to attend last night’s rehearsal and to have a chat with him.  Born in Cornwall, David moved to Kingston at the age of 2 and has always considered Kingston home.   David is no stranger to the Grand Theatre having spent countless hours rehearsing and performing there with Kingston’s various community theatre groups.  He performed over half a dozen shows with two of our major companies, The Kinsmen Club and The Kingston Meistersingers and spent summers with Kingston Summer Theatre (who no longer exist but the void has been filled by wonderful groups such as The Barefoot Players, Child’s Play Summer Festival and The Wellington Street Theatre’s various summer productions).

As a student at Bayridge Secondary School, David was afforded the opportunity to perform in a different musical for each of the five years he was there.  He attributes his choice to continue on in music, and his successes, to the ample opportunities he had growing up in Kingston.   After high school, David moved to Toronto to attend George Brown and to pursue the dream, and the theatre gods have definitely smiled upon him.  And for good reason.

Last night’s rehearsal was full of stops and starts as it was the first run with David for our symphony, but I was highly entertained watching it all come together and seeing the energy he puts into every word.  Not only does he sing all the great tunes from shows like Oklahoma!, Phantom of The Opera, Cats, Jekyll and Hyde, Kiss Me Kate, My Fair Lady and Kiss of the Spider Woman (to name a few), but he changes costumes and characters right there on stage, jumps from one song to another and narrates the whole thing himself – and he’s very funny.  He keeps his audience involved too, coming right down from the stage to talk to people during the show.

This is not David’s first show with the KSA, he was here two years ago when the symphony was performing at The Kingston Gospel Temple during to the Grand Theatre’s renovations.  When I spoke to a few symphony members during the break, they were quite enthusiastic about the upcoming performances.  One violinist commented:

The truth is, when we see a Broadway show on our schedule, there’s sometimes a bit of groaning.  Not that we don’t enjoy theatre, but many of us have played this music over and over again in pit orchestras.  However, when David comes to town it’s another story.  He offers something different being up on stage all by himself.  It’s amazing to watch him transform from one character to another, and his show is so energetic and polished, it’s a real pleasure to watch and to be a part of.

The last time David was in Kingston, the show sold out quickly and was such a huge success that the KSA is performing it twice this weekend.  If you saw it last time, you probably want to see it again anyway, but you’ll be reassured to know that it is not the same show.  This time David has brought two wonderful female vocalists to join him.  June Crowley has performed lead roles in numerous shows across Canada, most notably having played the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera in Toronto.  Susan Gilmour has performed internationally, including playing lead roles on Broadway.

Whether you are a fan of musical theatre or not, this weekend’s shows promise to be highly entertaining and a great way to introduce yourself to the KSA if you aren’t already acquainted.  The two performances are Friday and Saturday at The Grand at 8pm.  Tickets are still available through the Grand Theatre Box Office.

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