A Few of My Favourite Things, Presentation House Theatre, Dec. 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 2 p.m. For more information visit phtheatre.org/show/ a-few-of-my-favourite-things.
JAY Brazeau believes every actor has at least one song to sing.
"Like everybody has one meal they can cook, everybody has a couple of tunes in them," he says.
For more than two decades, Brazeau has been a fixture on Canadian stage and screen.
"My job's like a cab driver: either a lot of money or no money," he says about his long and varied career.
Over the years, he has tried to be involved in as many different types of productions as he can and his resume reflects it: actor, writer, director. He enjoys moving between mediums because, "It makes life more interesting."
This weekend, Brazeau will join other members of Vancouver's musical theatre scene for a night of Broadway show tunes at Presentation House Theatre in A Few of My Favourite Things, a benefit for North Shore Neighbourhood House.
"We really don't know how it's going to go but we know it'll be fun," says Brazeau. "Instead of singing carols, which everybody else is doing, we're bringing out the old (song) book and flipping pages."
However, there will be an opportunity for audience requests, so some holiday carols might slip in. "It's going to be a really fun evening," he adds.
The sing-along concert will also feature Steven Greenfield, Bree Greig, Annabel Kershaw, Warren Kimmel, Seth Little, Jane Mortifee, Cailin Stadnyk and Andy Toth, with piano accompaniment by musical director Bill Sample.
The event is a chance to sing their favourites, says Brazeau, noting he will be performing a songs from Fiddler on the Roof and Guys and Dolls, which he hasn't done for about 20 years.
Brazeau portrayed Edna Turnblad in the Arts Club Theatre Company's production of Hairspray during the 2010-2011 season, and says he has been lucky over the years to be involved in musicals for people who hate musicals, such as Urine Town, Hairspray and The Drowsy Chaperone. While some people don't like musicals, Brazeau says there is some logic behind all the singing.
"You're doing a scene in a play (and) you can only get to a point in the play where the emotion is so high," he explains. That emotion has to turn into song.
"So many songs people know and love started out in musicals," says Brazeau. "That's part of the joy of watching the show, you'll hear the songs and remember the musicals."
The idea for the show has some origins in the Shaw Festival (an annual Ontario theatre festival) a while back when participating actors would sometimes meet at a nearby bar once a week and perform show tunes for the patrons there and would take requests.
"It got to be quite a nice little thing. It was a great sort of release for the actors after their show," says Brazeau.
That experience inspired the idea to bring together some of Vancouver's best musical theatre performers for the sing-along concert.
"It's been great," says Brazeau of working with the other performers. Although it has been easier getting together via email than in person, he notes. Brazeau has been busy working on two shows at the same time. Along with A Few of My Favourite Things, he's appearing as Ebenezer Scrooge in Bah! Humbug! At the theatre at SFU Woodward's on Dec. 15. A comedic take on the traditional Christmas Carol tale, Bah! Humbug! takes place in a pawn shop in the Downtown Eastside.
"It's a lot of fun," says Brazeau, noting a few rock 'n' roll tunes have been worked in.
Proceeds from the show will benefit art programs in the Downtown Eastside.
Brazeau has performed in Bah! Humbug! for a few years, and says he continues to enjoy stage work.
"The experience is just an amazing different thing," he says of the theatre. "You could see the same play every night for three weeks and see something different."
The North Shore in particular has some great theatre options, often with easy parking and lower ticket prices, says Brazeau.
"I think on the North Shore here there's a lot of great theatre happening," he notes, adding he doesn't qualify it as amateur theatre or professional theatre, just theatre in general.
"If you want some nice family entertainment out there I think there's a lot to go look for."
A Few of My Favourite Things is at Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver Dec. 14-16. Tickets: $28/$23, available online, at the box office, or by phone at 604-990-3474.