Showstoppers

It’s time to find out which show tunes mean more to performers than you’d ever guess.

By Andrew Andrews

Cody Edwards, Julia Hajjar, Patrick MacLennan, Anthony Velez, Tezz Yancey and Amber Mawande-Spytek in Showstoppers, directed by John Saunders with music director Eric Shorey. Original photos (except headshots) by Ann Keilbasa.

What are your favorite songs from musical theatre?

What makes those songs so special? Do they remind you of the musicals themselves? About where you were, personally, in life when you first heard them? Maybe about the people you shared them with?

Showstoppers is Mac-Haydn’s annual showcase of the tunes that have special meaning to those who sing them.

Originally known as the End-of-Season Cabaret when Mac-Haydn closed its doors after Labor Day (fortunately, they now extend into October!), “Showstoppers is a chance to celebrate the extraordinarily talented company members of our 2022 season,” according to Producing Artistic Director John Saunders. “With hit numbers from hit shows, Showstoppers promises to be a program packed with songs both old and new to delight audiences.”

Featuring a cast of nearly two-dozen performers, this years’ lineup includes hits like “If I Were a Bell” (Guys and Dolls), “Another Hundred People” (Company) and “The Wizard and I” (Wicked), as well as plenty of catchy tunes from less familiar scores.

Emily Allen, Ashley DeLane Burger, Bella DePaola, Holly Lauren Dayton, Ricky Dobbs, John Hannigan, Xander James, Andrew Burton Kelley, Nina Laing, Anna Langlois, Dean Marino, Lucy Rhoades, Kylan Ross, Trevor Squires, Miles Yokom and music director Eric Shorey.

Regular readers already know the high regard I hold for the Mac-Haydn, so it should come as no surprise that I found this year’s Showstoppers tremendously entertaining.

Opening with perfect choreography to “Rhythm of Life” (Sweet Charity) and closing with perfect harmony to “Seasons of Love” (Rent), the ensemble numbers sandwiched an uninterrupted stream of solos, each highlighting the individual talents of the performers.

In the interest of keeping this review concise to satisfy Opplaud®’s brand promise, I won’t mention the stellar work of every individual contributing to this production. I must, however, point out that my partner and I couldn’t stop commenting on Lucy Rhoades’ impeccable singing, dancing and acting in her delivery of “If I Were a Bell.”

The truth is, there were only a couple of numbers that we agreed fell short of perfection (perhaps due to opening day jitters), from singers who are usually top-notch. And although I didn’t know nearly as many of the songs as I expected, there were only two that didn’t have me singing along by the end of the routine.

Like most productions at the Mac-Haydn, Showstoppers proves that the Hudson Valley can’t just claim a handful of highly-skilled performers—we’re full of them. If you don’t believe me—or even if you do—check out this very limited run while you can, for proof-positive that you don’t need to head into Manhattan and pay twice as much for a showcase this enjoyable from a cast with this much talent.

4

Andrew Andrews attended Showstoppers at Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham on Saturday, September 3, 2022 @ 12:00pm to write this review.