For musical theatre lovers (and theatre nerds alike) there is a unique and fun event happening this weekend that celebrates music’s ability to help us express our feelings, emotions and personalities. Titled ‘Anthem’, the show combines some of our cities great musical theatre talents with up and coming young artists to celebrate what we all love about the power of song.
Produced by Seren Lannon, the show asks every performer to choose one unique anthem to perform. Seren spoke with me about the inspiration behind the project, who will be performing and what she would choose as her personal ‘Anthem’”
Tell us about Anthem? What will the evening encompass and what inspired you to do it?
Anthem is a project that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time so I’m excited it’s finally happening! The inspiration came from a desire to put on a show involving some of the amazing people that have inspired and supported me since I moved to Toronto. I have asked each performer to pick a song that is an Anthem for them and perform it that night. I am so grateful they have all agreed to do it! The show is being music directed to Chris Tsujiuchi and hosted by Jennifer Walls. Performers include Gabi Epstein, Kelly Holiff, Rebecca Perry, Sarite Harris, Colleen Dauncey, Gaby Grice, Beth Robertson, Luke Marty, Ann Paula Bautista and Jordan Fantauzzo.
How important is it for people to have an anthem?
I think it’s important for people to have something – whether that be a song, a book or even a person, that inspires them and helps them get through the tougher times. For me (and a lot of other people) music ends up being that ‘something’.
What is it about music that you think people connect to in such a visceral way?
I think music really is a universal language. Even if you don’t understand the words, or you are listening to something purely instrumental, music makes people feel things without even knowing why.
This is your first solo producing endeavor. What made you want to pursue this type of work?
I love the Toronto Theatre Community so much, and musical theatre has always been particularly close to my heart. With the popularity of cabaret over the past ten years or so, it made complete sense to start there. The desire to produce came out of the knowledge that there are so many talented performers with shows just waiting to be nurtured and grown. If I can be one of the people to help them do that, and hopefully make a living in the process, why not? I want artists to know they have someone that will support them and help their voices be heard. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Other than your own personal anthem, what motivates you and keeps you going when things get tough?
Quite honestly, theatre does that for me. There is nothing that a good Stephen Schwartz or Sondheim song can’t do. When I’m having a hard time emotionally, my first instinct is to go see a piece of theatre or go to an open mic night (Singular Sensation is a personal favourite of mine). I also have amazing friends and family that always supported me in everything I do, and I am very grateful for that.
If you could grant one wish to Toronto’s musical theatre scene, what would it be and why?
I would give them a venue, a space to create and grow and perform for audiences without being concerned about the financial ramifications. I think that we’re missing a standalone venue with spaces for both small and large musicals as well as cabaret. So I would give them that.
For more information on ANTHEM or to purchase tickets please visit www.whatsyouranthem.brownpapertickets.com