By Philip Round
Special to the Record
The all singing and dancing Beach Street Players will be boppin’ down memory lane at this year’s Have a Heart dinner-show being promoted by Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club.
That’s because the storyline of the three-night presentation, being staged from Feb. 15-17, is based on a reunion of players from past shows and a revival of musical memories of earlier performances.
As always, the Beach Street Players will take to the stage at Courtenay’s Florence Filberg Centre under the direction of Comox musician Gloria Herauf, who also crafted the script.
Herauf retired to the Valley from Saskatchewan 11 years ago after an award-winning career in musical education, theatre and composition — but was in no mood to stem her creativity.
Before long she was working on the very first Beach Street Players show, staged eight years ago, and the following year the Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club teamed up with them to establish it as an annual fundraising event.
In next month’s production, the cast will perform a fast-moving mix of almost 50 popular tunes spanning six decades, from rock to pop, gospel to Broadway, and opera to country. All are songs that make up a soundtrack of people’s lives, with the linking storyline featuring lots of gags.
“There is a huge amount of music — and a wide variety of styles — for the 18 singers to learn in a very short time,” said Herauf.
To help them master their roles in just six weeks, the cast has drawn on music previously recorded by Herauf, allowing each performer to practice for their solo and group parts at home.
They are now meeting together three times a week at Comox United Church to work in teams, rehearsing their roles and singing together in groups and as a chorus.
“There’s tremendous enthusiasm from everyone involved on and off stage,” Herauf added. “As always, we’re all determined to put in a quality show to entertain everyone, and have a ton of fun doing it.”
The president of the Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Club, Richard Clarke, said they were “absolutely delighted to be working for the seventh year in a row with Gloria Herauf and the Beach Street Players to mount this wonderful dinner musical theatre, just days after Valentine’s Day.”
He added: “Gloria and her team of incredibly talented local actors, vocalists and musicians put on a wonderful performance every year. Our goal is to raise $25,000 or more with this year’s event, all of which will stay in the Comox Valley to help make this an even better community.”
The money raised will be shared three ways — between the Rotary Club, Comox United Church’s community support efforts, and this year’s chosen partner organization, the Wachiay Friendship Centre. Clarke offered particular thanks to all the event sponsors, including the title sponsor, Canadian Western Bank; Plates Eatery and Catering Company, which will prepare the meal to accompany the show; and to WestJet for their gift of flight tickets.
Tickets for the show, including dinner, cost $60 for the Thursday and Friday performances and $65 for the Saturday night event. They are available from Blue Heron Books in Comox and from the Benjamin Moore House of Color on Fifth Street, Courtenay.