Only in the world of musical theatre can queer and straight folks alike belt out “I feel pretty and witty and gay” with such gusto. Providing a forum for these jubilant proclamations is Show Tune Showdown. It returns to the Bronson Centre Theatre May 9. Hosted by queer music group Tone Cluster, this entertaining and interactive fundraising event has become the largest one-night queer arts production in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
The show was first conceptualized five years ago by Rob Bowman, the show’s producer.
“The audiences have been building each year for this fundraising event that attracts a diverse crowd of musical-theatre-loving participants from across Ottawa. This is an essential flagship fundraising event for Tone Cluster, a [gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans] mixed choir, celebrating its 15 anniversary of choral music in Ottawa. Tone Cluster will be opening the show along with Ottawa School of Speech and Drama with a song from the musical Rent,” says Bowman.
For all you Broadway aficionados, this is your chance to hear your favourite numbers performed by some of the best musical theatre performers from Ottawa and beyond. In the competition this year are three groups: 2008 champs Suzart Productions and 2007 winners Zucchini Grotto Theatre Company are joined by new challengers from the Sheridan College Musical Theatre program. Traveling 600km from Oakville, the Sheridan College team will be the first from outside the city to take part in this event.
The competition depends not only on the singing talents of the performers, but also on their knowledge of Broadway trivia. For each round, the groups must answer skill-testing questions about musicals, composers, artists, and more. These companies are sure to put a lot of effort into brushing up their musical theatre skills because there is plenty at stake at this competition. The winning team brings home the grand prize of $500 to go toward their organization.
“We’ve done the Show Tune Showdown every year since its inception and it’s a highlight for us. It’s a huge party every year. We get to do racy material, too,” says Kris Joseph, Artistic Director of Zucchini Grotto. “The kind of show tunes we love are the ones that push the envelope, and those songs always do well with the crowd and the judges.”
If you are a particular fan of any one of these organizations, you can lend them a hand in the special “Showdown” rounds by volunteering to perform a song that will be randomly selected by the judges. Scary, yes – but this might be your chance to find fame and fortune in front of a live audience, and perhaps even on Youtube!