#RiseMTL is Montreal Theatre Hub’s new journalistic series featuring local artists and companies who are spearheading creative community initiatives for artistic and social activity in response to COVID-19
Nick Burgess is the unanymous darling of Montreal musical theatre as the host of the Big Broadway Sing-Along at the Segal Centre and recurring musical director, pianist, arranger, and band leader for the company’s major professional productions in the genre (notable credits include “The Times They Are A Changin'”, “Mythic”, “Indecent”, “Prom Queen”, Funny Girl”, “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz“, and “Guys and Dolls”).
It is the gift of his craft and charisma – the combined qualities of professionalism and personability – that have made Burgess an indispensable asset to the artistic community, and he ascertains his generosity of spirit once again with an uplifting initiative in difficult times.
“I was very much looking forward to the upcoming ‘Big Broadway Sing-Along’ at the Segal Centre,” he begins. But after the remaining sessions were postponed for the rest of the season due to the temporary closure of all theatre doors across the province, he decided to start a new online event: Broadway Happy Hour.
Similar to the pianist-led format of the singalong, Broadway Happy Hour features Nick covering classical and contemporary showtune favourites from the Great White Way. Streamed live from the Segal Centre’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, audiences can request songs in advance or in real time (through the comments section), and interact with the host and other viewers via chat.
The idea to transition the performances to the web format was proposed “so that we could all still be together doing what we love the most, which is belting out show tunes at the tops of our lungs,” explains Burgess. “We may not be physically together, but technology allows us to be virtually together, to reach out and say hello, and feel like we’re a part of something special together as a community. Singing is cathartic and musical theatre songs tell stories which allow us to express a wide variety of emotions and get them out of our systems. I want people to remember that no one is alone in this crisis and that there are still opportunities for inclusivity.”
#RiseMTL by Montreal Theatre Hub
Are you or do you know of someone who has started a creative community initiative in response to COVID-19? We’d love to feature it as part of our #RiseMTL series. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org