Forte: The Toronto Men’s Chorus is holding its upcoming cabaret in Erotico, the upstairs performance space at the strip club Flash. While the downstairs is men-only, for the purposes of this performance Erotico will be accessible via a separate entrance and female patrons will be allowed in.
“I won’t have an erection while I’m singing, but I’m a real hand talker, so there’ll probably be some gesturing,” says co-host Vince Ciarlo. “I’ll be doing a solo called ‘My Unfortunate Erection,’ from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
The cabaret, called Broadway, Here I Come, will fund Forte’s trip to Ottawa for the 2014 Unison Festival, Canada’s gay choral festival. The evening will feature solos, duets and ensemble performances, including “The Internet Is for Porn,” from Avenue Q, and hits from Cabaret, Chicago and Oklahoma.
Every year the choir does two large, formal concerts — one at Christmas and one in the spring — as well as a cabaret preview for the spring show. The Erotico show breaks the routine not only because it’s above a strip club and features only Broadway hits, but also because it’s not one of Forte’s annually scheduled performances and will therefore be far more casual — no tuxedos allowed.
Ciarlo seems to be the chief architect of the Broadway theme. “My neighbour tells people that every time she walks by my apartment I have show tunes blaring,” he says. “The title, Broadway, Here I Come, comes from a song in the second season of Smash. If you read the lyrics, it’s all about making a leap to being a Broadway star, so once we decided on the Broadway theme, we thought it’d be a perfect song to open with.”
The space can’t accommodate the entire 40-voice choir, so the show will feature only the most Broadway-obsessed members and special guests, including cabaret singer Sherry Sylvain and drag legend Michelle DuBarry.