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(Posted 6:30 a.m., June 6)

OYP musical Sweet Nothin’ a treat for sore ears
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Claire, played by Megan Moffatt, sings her audition number as a jealous Diva Simone, played by Alexandra Acton looks on. Fred Sherwin/Photo


When professional photographer and part-time musician Alan Dean McDowell approached Orléans Young Players instructor Andrea Cochrane about writing a musical together last September she thought he was nuts.

That was nine months ago. Last week OYP’s Showbiz class brought their collaboration to life on stage at the Orléans Theatre and the result was pure magic.

Sweet Nothin’ is a play about a young woman who desperately wants to join the musical theatre despite her mother’s objections. When a touring company comes to town she gets her wish, but not without a great deal of effort and a few plot twists along the way.

I was lucky enough to sit in during last week’s dress rehearsal and then go see the the final night’s performance on Saturday.

While the cast was in fine voice during the dress rehearsal, they lacked the confidence that comes from perfecting one’s material in front of a live audience for two or three nights in a row.

Luckily for myself and the rest of the audience who went to see the play Saturday night, the actors all had their performances down to a tee. What was even more amazing is that none of the cast members had ever taken singing lessons before joining the Showbiz class.

In the Cole’s Notes version of the plot, Claire is secretly taking singing lessons from a woman named Louise who has had some sort of run in with her mother 17 years ago.
When Louise finds out about the musical coming to town and the fact that its being produced by two former colleagues of hers, she decides to try and get Claire an audition.

In the meantime Claire decides to try and audition on her own, only instead of auditioning for the play’s producers, she sings for the lead actress who jealously tells her she’s no good.

As it turns out the actress is Diva Simone who got her break in theatre when she tricked Louise and Claire’s mother Rosie into missing their auditions 17 years ago. Each of the women thought that the other had sabotaged their careers. After they make up, they give Diva her comeuppance and she’s fired from the show and replaced by Claire, while Diva’s groupie chorus members are replaced by Rosie and her sisters, the Rosettes.

While Sweet Nothin’ is an entertaining story, it is the music which brings the play to life and on that note McDowell had done an amazing job especially as a first timer.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt when your songs are being sung by the likes of Megan Moffatt, who plays Claire, and Alexandra Acton who plays Diva Simone. Both young ladies have incredible singing voices. In fact, my daughter turned to me after Claire’s solo Every Night and suggested that Megan should have tried out for Canadian Idol.

The rest of the cast was awesome as well, including Keri Purpore as Louise and Bronte Germaine as Rosie. The producer and the director were played by Victoria Sawyer and Katie Webster and Claire’s two aunts were played by Alexandra Dean and Jamie Hurcomb.

Kudos to McDowell as well for including a solo number for the chorus, which included Haley Brennan as Jayla, Justine Davies as Jessica, Emily Simms as Sophie, Alyssa Paliotti as Emma, Celia Hogan as Violet and Meaghan Donohue as Melanie.

Last but not least, Aileen Duncan deserves special mention for her duel role as Ruby the chorus line member and Biff, Diva’s rock and roll boyfriend. She had at least two of the people sitting in front of me completely fooled.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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