Who: Sandra Margolese, Colm Wilkinson, and Toronto's top musical stars frm Ragtime, Beauty and The Beast, Joseph and Phantom.
All proceeds will be donated to The Hosptal for Sick Children's Foundation's HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (performed by Phantom cast members) -- enter Sandra Margolese (the producer and organizer of the event) wearing a beautiful blue evening gown. She was accompanied by a "barbershop quartet" comprised of Peter Barnes, John Doddington, Robert Meilleur and Tim Stiff. They performed this beautiful arrangement "a cappella." These four talented gentlemen would eventually go on to be a rather humourous group of scene changers, throughout the rest of the show!! Next came the Master of Ceremonies, who was Gary Krawford (from Phantom). Aside from performing his own number, he would also introduce the various acts from time to time. He was a GREAT M.C.!! Next came performances of 2 songs from Stephen Sondheim's "Company." They were "No One Is Alone (performed by Pamela MacDonald from Phantom)" and "Children Will Listen (performed by Melissa Thomson and Steve Blanchard from Beauty and the Beast)." These songs were very beautifully done. When I Am Holding You -- this song was beautifully performed by Tim Stiff. It was written by Tim on the occasion of his daughter Meagan's christening. It was a very touching song about how he hoped to pass on the love of his father, to his daughter. The Recipe -- this song was performed by Margaret Ann Gates and Scott Watanabe (from Phantom). It was an absolutely HILARIOUS song about a food hotline call (976-FOOD!!), all about the sheer joy of braising beef, and what ingredients to use!! This performance came complete with phones and tables, with Margaret and Scott sitting on opposite ends of each other. What more can I say?? You just HAD to be there!! Living With the Little Things -- this was another equally hilarious song, performed by a rather TALL Abe Reybold (of the musical Quilt), all about the joys of living with animals inherited from a deceased roommate. One of the animals in the song was a bird, who would remark to this man's mother that she had a nice bosom (substitute the "T" word here!!)!! :-D We Can Be Kind -- a VERY touching song, performed by Roland Rusinek (from Phantom), all about how we can be kind to each other in this world (pretty self-explanatory, huh??!!). The Elements -- performed by Gary Krawford. This was a HILARIOUS song about Gary having to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements in his high school Chemistry days. Personally, I can't understand how he was able to remember all of those elements' names!! :-D This great song was followed by a short, very informative speech by Dr. Stanley Read, the Director of the HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care programme at the Hospital for Sick Children. In it, he described the research that has taken place thus far, and reminded us that we still have a long way to go, in fighting this terrible disease. He then expressed his thanks to all involved with the presentation. Never Alone -- this was a combination of 2 gospel songs, performed by a group of Beauty and the Beast chorus members. It was really rousing and exciting, and many audience members were clapping along!! :-D You Can't Take That Away From Me -- a beautiful song-and-dance number, featuring Gerald Isaac, Mimi Pineau and Mark Snow (from Phantom). Four Guys in the Chorus -- an absolutely HILARIOUS parody of life in the Phantom ensemble (featuring Peter Barnes, John Doddington, Robert Meilleur and Tim Stiff again), sung to the tune of "Three Coins in a Fountain." Tim wrote the lyrics. It finished with words that went something like "remember the words to 'Masquerade'", complete with actions (although one guy pretended to goof up!!), and a strong emphasis on the word "masquerade"'s last syllable!! :-D Come Down From the Tree -- a very touching song about a child, sung by Steven Sutcliffe (from Ragtime). Waiting for Life -- powerfully sung by Sarah E. Litzsinger (from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat). Entering Marion -- a really funny song, performed by Kevin McGuire (from Phantom), about a man travelling in a U.S. state (I can't remember the name), and entering towns and villages bearing women's names!! There was a very strong sexual tone here. Halfway through the song, the man gets upset when he starts to enter towns bearing men's names, then becomes really happy when he's able to enter Marion again!! Bein' Green -- enter Janet Martin (from Phantom), sitting on a bench, wearing a beautiful strapless green ball gown. After finishing this beautiful song, she mentioned how honoured she was to have been asked to help Sandra plan this affair, then talked about how she first heard Kermit the Frog singing the song when she was 5 years old. She mentioned that she realized just how this particular song was about courage, and how it's OK to be different. On that note, she introduced the second speaker: Shari Margolese Fecht. Shari is Sandra Margolese's sister. Shari and her 4-year-old son Quinn are HIV+, and her husband Martin has full-blown AIDS. Shari shared an EXTREMELY heartfelt and moving story of what life is like for people living with this condition. She discussed what options are currently available, and what it's like living with the side effects of the anti-AIDS medication that the family is currently taking, and also discussed the support and caring that she's received. She also emphasized the need to keep fighting, and thanked the audience members and everybody else for their support. Needless to say, she earned a VERY WELL-DESERVED standing ovation, and brought a few tears to the eyes!! Next followed a trio of songs from The Secret Garden. Enter Laird Mackintosh, wearing his gorgeous Raoul tuxedo, performing a beautiful rendition of "Where in the World." He was then joined by Sandra Margolese, wearing a gorgeous white ball gown. They performed "How Could I Ever Know??" They remained sitting on a bench afterwards, and watched as Jill Diane Filion and Robert Reid Atkinson (both from Ragtime) performed the lovely "Come To My Garden/Lift Me Up." Now comes the crowning glory, and what a crowning glory it was!! Gary Krawford began by talking about a man who was the Phantom as of the first preview of the show, on September 12th, 1989, and continued on for another 4 1/2 years. Enough said!! That alone garnered Colm a standing ovation, and some rather enthusiastic cheers from a few select people!! A surprise was added into the programme, and WHAT a surprise it was!! Now, if you've ever tried to picture Chuck Berry singing a rock 'n' roll version of "Music of the Night", then you've just pictured Colm, because THAT is EXACTLY how he performed that song!! Yes -- and he was swivelling his hips, hopping up and down, and everything!! I was rolling around so much in my seat, that I nearly fell out of it!! He finished the rendition by stating, "I'm glad Andrew Lloyd Webber isn't here. I'd never work again!!" The next song he performed was "Father and Son", with Aaron. This time they did the song with orchestral backup. I just loved the way Colm looked at Aaron when singing this song. It was quite obvious that he really enjoyed doing it, and was really proud of Aaron. It moved me to tears!! The final song he performed was one that needed no introduction. As soon as he mentioned the composers' names, the audience burst into rousing applause!! Of course, the song was "Bring Him Home", performed with Colm's usual brilliance and power. Y'know the "wave" at baseball games?? Well, that's how the audience stood up after this rendition!! Laird remarked on the phone to me earlier on today, that he'd never heard Colm sing that song live before, and that it's definitely HIS song!! He told me that he's a great admirer of Colm's, and that he's known him for about 3 1/2 years. He also told me a little story. When Laird did his first performance as Raoul years ago, Colm pushed him out for another bow after taking his own bows!! Laird told me that Colm has always been a great source of personal encouragement to him. Enough said!! :-D I can now interject another bit of humour, here. After Colm finished performing the song, he was confused as to what direction to exit the stage. "Do I go this way, or that way??" he asked someone backstage. He then grinned sheepishly at the audience as he left!! :-D Next to appear was our current Phantom, Ethan Freeman, performing his own song, which was a very touching rendition entitled "Mighty Small." Again, I was crying!! The only glitch came when he accidentally bumped into the bench on his way off stage. Oh, well!! :-D The finale was a song entitled "With a Voice of Hope", which was written by Tim Stiff. Almost all of the above-mentioned actors took part, except for Colm and Aaron, as well as Steve Blanchard. It was really exciting!! The audience rose to its feet, and Sandra burst into tears, as her nephew Quinn presented her with a lovely bouquet of flowers!! All I can now say is: wow, what an evening!! :-D