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Show Tune Showdown returns live to Centrepointe for one night only—April 23, 2022

By Laura Gauthier and Samara Caplan on April 15, 2022

Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever). Follow @bffs613 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

It’s the greatest time of year ⁠— Show Tune Showdown is back and better than ever, live and in person! We are so excited to get our butts back in seats for one of our favourite annual local celebrations of all things musical theatre. We caught up with Show Tune Showdown Producer Rob Bowman and one of the organizers, Heather Daley, to see what this year’s production has in store.

Apt613: What can people who are coming out for the first time expect?

Show Tune Showdown combines musical theatre performances and team competition. It’s a unique blend of the best of Broadway, musical trivia similar to Name That Tune, with loads of Broadway glitz thrown into the mix.

Apt613: Has Show Tune Showdown changed coming back in person since before the pandemic? Are there any health and safety aspects you’d like to share?

We have made some changes to adapt the show to the pandemic environment. The program is shorter, with two instead of three performance rounds by the competing teams, and there are three rather than four showdown rounds. The showdown round happens when the MC will ask if anyone on the team can guess the song title after providing clues. The team that correctly guesses the song takes the stage to perform the song. There is also an audience showdown round where the same thing happens with a member of the audience and after the performance, the performer awards the points received from the judges to the team of the performer’s choice.

Given possible COVID-19 concerns, we have worked with Meridian staff to spread out the audience by reducing capacity, and we will not have any audience singalongs. If the audience feels like singing, we ask that they lip-sync or hum the tune. We will also be recommending that audience members wear a mask, with messages sent by the venue to ticket purchasers. We will also make mask-wearing more tempting with a contest where three times during the show, the MC will call out seat numbers and lucky audience members could win $50 if the audience member in the seat called is wearing a mask. All backstage crew will be wearing masks, be as socially distanced as possible and will go through the COVID screening checklist prior to coming to the theatre.

Tone Cluster Show Tune Showdown 2019

Tone Cluster performing the opening number in 2019.

Apt613: Can you tell us a bit more about Tone Cluster and what the proceeds from ticket sales are going to support?

Tone Cluster is a 30+ voice, auditioned queer choir for those of varied sexual orientation, gender identity, relationship orientation, and their allies. We pride ourselves on creating a queer-positive environment where singers can be themselves while striving for choral excellence. This season, as we look back over the last 27 years of song and community, including an exceptional year of virtual performances, we celebrate our journey and give thanks for first-class leadership, supportive audiences, and enthusiastic, committed singers.

Proceeds from Show Tune Showdown 2022 will support programming for our final concert of this year, as well as the 2022–23 season, community appearances, and will help to fund a festival appearance at Unison Festival in Halifax in 2023.

Apt613: How are teams and companies selected for the showdown? Who will be participating this year?

We send out invitations to local music theatre groups and try to switch things up every year by rotating teams to provide some variety. This year, Ain’t Seen Noth’n Yet, Orpheus Musical Theatre, and Zucchini Productions will compete for the title of Show Tune Showdown 2022 champion. These teams were our virtual competitors in 2021, but we wanted to give all teams the thrill of live competition, so we invited them back again this year.

Orpheus Productions Team for Show Tune Showdown

Alongside artistic directors John McGovern and Aileen Szkwarek, Orpheus Team Singers Michael Gareau, John Litster, Maureen McGovern and Mary-Ellen Vice are having a blast preparing for Show Tune Showdown.

Apt613: And there’s a new host this year? Tell us about them.

We are excited to have actor, stand-up comedian, and Kingston radio host Jesse Reynolds as this year’s MC. Jesse can be heard weekdays from 6 to 10 am on Fresh Mornings with Monica & Jesse on Kingston’s 104.3 Fresh Radio and will be seen starring in the upcoming MarVista Entertainment thriller Ride or Die, coming to Tubi and Fox TV.

In June 2019, Jesse co-founded the inaugural Queer Sphere Expo, a consumer show highlighting the best in LGBTQ-friendly businesses, for which he was recognized as a CBC Trailblazer in 2021.

Apt613: Who are we going to see in the judge’s seats this year?

Our panel of celebrity judges includes Heather Gibson, Executive Producer, Popular Music & Variety for the National Arts Centre, Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden, and CBC Radio Ottawa journalist and frequent fill-in host of Ontario Today, Amanda Pfeffer.

Apt613: Will there be audience participation?

Although audience singalongs have been eliminated for COVID-related reasons, we will have one show tune showdown round where the MC will give clues to the audience to the name of a show tune and the audience member who guesses correctly must come up on the stage and perform it. The audience member awards the points received by the judges to the team of his/her/their choice.

Apt613: What are you most excited about for this year?

We are beyond excited to be back performing in person in front of a live audience. Tone Cluster will perform the opening number and it will be their first live performance in over two years.

Although we reached an amazing milestone of more than 15,000 views for all of our virtual activities in the past 18 months, we are thrilled to be back together in person and cannot wait to welcome our live audience.

Show Tune Showdown takes place at Meridian Theatres at Centrepointe on Saturday, April 23 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $35. The show runs for about two and a half hours with an intermission. All proceeds go to support Tone Cluster.