BURIN, NL— Jacob Farrell helped set the mood for the night with a performance of “Be our Guest” from the musical “Beauty and the Beast” during the opening course of the “Burin to Broadway” dinner show held Saturday.
The show put on by Aaron Avery and Leslie Ann Rowsell under the banner of Stage Left Productions featured a selection of Broadway staples such as “Music of the Night” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera,” as well as some more recent selections from “Come From Away” and “Hamilton.”
Aaron Avery, one of the shows producers, said he was happy with the performance.
“I thought it was great,” said Avery. “Good crowd, good food and everyone sang the hearts out — it seemed like the audience really enjoyed the songs and I couldn’t ask for any better from the cast, (judging) from the audience reaction.”
Co-producer Leslie Ann Rowsell was pleased with the end product.
“I thought tonight was better than we ever expected,” she said. “It was so nice to showcase some of our local talent and it’s great for kids to have a venue.”
She added they hope to expand, “getting more kids over time and adults involved in theatre.”
Rowsell not only helped produce the show – she also sang a number of selections, including a heartfelt rendition of “Me and The Sky” from “Come From Away.”
The song was inspired by American Airline captain Beverly Bass, who was piloting a flight from Paris to Dallas on Sept. 11, 2001 when she was diverted to Gander.
Before her performance Rowsell, who works with Eastern Health, told the audience she was at the airport on the day of the terror attacks.
“September 11 was such a difficult day, emotions were running so high, and looking back and knowing I was a part of such an outpouring of love and support is one of the highlights of my career.”
She added singing the song made the feelings of that day fresh again.
“(It) reminds me how fast a community came together in such a difficult circumstance. It also has me looking at how quickly I can get to New York City and see the musical ‘Come From Away.’”
Although the night did have some somber moments, it also featured a number of lighthearted performances such as “Popular” from the musical “Wicked,” performed by Reagan Strang.
Strang said the cast just had to give it all they had, “and that’s what we did. I think everyone had their best performance today.”
Of the selections she performed Saturday, “Popular” was her favourite.
“It was really fun,” she said. “I think everyone enjoyed it and everyone laughs at you.”
She said the reaction from the crowd helped her feel more confident.
Lauren Farrell said she also enjoyed interacting with the audience while doing her numbers.
“Most them were really fun and exciting – you got to interact with the crowd a lot.”
Event-goers were also pleased with the performances of the cast, as well as the meal.
“The show was awesome,” said Stephanie Ryan. “The performers are all very talented, (it is) nice to see something like this in the Burin area.
“There needs to be more events like this (and) I look forward to the next one.”
Colin Pittman, who also attended the show, said it was a delight.
“The food was as delicious as I've come to expect from the folks at the Father Joe Barton Centre,” he said.
“The entertainment was fantastic. Aaron and and Leslie Ann have started something special, it seems, with their combination of great food, great choice of music, and amazingly talented people.
“I'm very much looking forward to the upcoming 80s music show in February.”