You don’t have to travel to Broadway to enjoy a romantic musical revue.
Plain Jane Theatre’s newest production, Ah! Romance!, a celebration of song, dance and other passionate meditations opens Thursday, Feb. 16 with a roundabout of musical selections from Noel Coward to Sondheim.
“It’s a celebration of love, romance and friendship. It’s perfect timing for date night. Every song just makes your heart explode with emotion,” said St. Albert Children’s Theatre (SACT) alumna Madelaine Knight.
Knight stars in this two-act production along with triple-threat cast members Jocelyn Ahlf, Jason Hardwick, Ron Pederson and Gianna Read.
Director Kate Ryan, also a SACT alumna, creates the many aspects and moods of love from wild infatuation to enduring love to heart-breaking splits.
For instance, Knight sings a variety of numbers including Follow Your Heart from the satirical comedy Urinetown: The Musical.
“I sing a duet with Ron Pederson and he brings a vibrant comedic energy to the piece.”
Knight also sings Jeanine Tesori’s Changing My Major from Fun Home, an incredible musical that deals with a lesbian teenager as the protagonist.
“She wakes up in the morning after having made love and it’s completely stream of consciousness. It’s amazing to hear about lesbian love. We get to hear from a character we don’t normally get to hear.”
St. Albert music director David Fraser, now working on his third production for Plain Jane, describes the song as one of the most technically challenging.
“The music reflects the change in tempo. As it goes from one section to the next, it speeds up and slows down and the different moods are woven together,” Fraser said.
In a more traditional vein, Cole Porter’s De-Lovely and It’s Wonderful are dance duets performed by the nimble and graceful Jason Hardwick and his quick-footed partner Gianna Read.
Perhaps one of the more charming songs is the full-cast Romantic Atmosphere, a tango-esque dance break from the musical She Loves Me.
“It takes place in a restaurant where the waiter is desperately trying to preserve the romantic atmosphere even though things are going desperately wrong.”
Fraser and violinist Ryan Berends accompany the cast.
In summing up Ah! Romance!, Knight says, “Because the music is so varied, it has something for everyone. It’s such a celebration of love and a romantic way to spend the night with someone you love. But it’s also for people who love musicals. After all, that’s just another kind of love.”
By Plain Jane Theatre
Feb. 16 to 25
10329 – 83 Ave.
Tickets: $20 to $34 plus fees at tixonthesquare.ca or at the door