Jan. 24, 2013 - Issue #901: Children can’t choose
The Dream Concert
She created the iconic role of Cosette in the original Royal Shakespeare Company's wildly successful production of Les Misérables. He's performed the lead of Jean Valjean in Les Miz more than 1000 times. Together, the powerhouse duo of Rebecca Caine and Michael Burgess are starring together for the first time on stages around the country.
The dynamic twosome paired up for the Dream Concert in what seemed to be a state of serendipity, and will be performing solo as well as together, bringing audiences the classics from Les Miz, Phantom of the Opera—which both have starred in during separate productions—as well as a little Sondheim and Rogers and Hammerstein.
"I think it's quite natural because we both want the best out of the whole thing. We bring a lot of experience to it," says Burgess over the phone from Toronto. "That's the best part: we have a whole world of material to choose from."
Burgess adds that this repertoire includes a song by Caine that was cut from the original production of Les Miz, as well as a number performed by him from Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. However, despite revisiting the lineup of songs countless times, he doesn't tire of them. "They're great songs, they're great lyrics, they all have a lot of emotion attached to them and you're still telling a story. Even though a song is only two, three, four minutes long, you're telling a story in that time ... you're taking yourself and your audience on a journey."
This time, that journey doesn't include costumes or lavish sets, but just two voices doing what they do best. Burgess notes this concert series has been a learning experience for him in turning each number into its own mini-show, bringing the audience along with each transition. Plus, there are no elaborate get-ups to hide behind.
"When you're doing a show and they don't like it you can pretend it's the character," he chuckles. "When you're doing a concert, it's just you. You're there, you're exposed and it's a direct relationship with the audience, so you learn to sort of accept that and go with the flow, as it were."
Not that the pair have anything to worry about in terms of audience response to their material. Since their beginnings, Les Miz and Phantom of the Opera have gone on to achieve a great deal of success—both were made into feature films, with Les Miz up for numerous awards at this year's Oscars.
"It certainly was a product of the '90s, both of those gigantic Vegas shows, as they were called. From a business standpoint, it changed the landscape of theatre completely," Burgess notes. "We did the Canadian production of Les Miz and it came to be regarded as one of the best in the world, and I think that's Canadian culture. We had a great cast and we put our own stamp on it and made it different from another production even though the lighting was the same and the sets were the same. I kind of think it's like when Canadians play hockey: even though the other team's better we find a way to win."
Tue, Jan 29 (7:15 pm) and
Wed, Jan 30 (7:30 pm)
Michael Burgess and Rebecca Caine: The Dream Concert
Horizon Stage, $35 – $40
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