New Brunswick-born New York artist brings Broadway to Saint Andrews
For Fredericton-born Broadway actor Tony LePage, time slows down in Saint Andrews.
“There’s something about the feeling when you come to Saint Andrews,” he said. “The water is so close, and it’s just that the surroundings are so beautiful. So it was an immediate draw, just the place itself.”
LePage and his wife, Courtney, have created Broadway by the Sea, a tonight-only revue that features four Broadway performers and an 11-person New Brunswick ensemble with a full New Brunswick orchestra.
They perform at the Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts & Amphitheatre.
LePage said creating the project with Courtney was a “dream,” with him on stage and directing it.
“We both share the same ideas,” LePage said. “We are big dreamers. But we also work very, very well together. To be able to do this together is rare.”
LePage began his theatrical journey in Fredericton with local productions before transitioning to professional touring followed by contracts in Toronto and New York. At the moment he is in Come from afar on Broadway as a stunt double.
Putting on a show with actors living in New York with actors from New Brunswick wasn’t easy, LePage said.
Rehearsals in 2 countries
“It was a bit of a headache,” he said.
LePage, Courtney and the other Broadway cast rehearsed in New York while the New Brunswick ensemble rehearsed in Fredericton with the show’s musical director and accompanist.
Katelyn Goodwin, 29, of Fredericton, said they had rehearsed in different countries, but the ensemble and the conductors had video calls, where they listened to each other’s rehearsals.
“When we really got together, it went really well,” she said.
Goodwin said the first rehearsal together, with all the performers plus the band, was “magical”.
‘Oh my God, this is my life’
She said this show was unlike anything she had ever done. Along with the sun and the breeze, Goodwin said, working in an outdoor theater gives her an energy she doesn’t get with an indoor setting.
She said the experience of performing in Broadway by the sea makes her wake up every day and say, “Oh my God, this is my life.”
“It’s unheard of — the fact that we, as New Brunswick artists, can stay in our home province and work alongside these Broadway artists and stars.
Some songs in the review are taken from musicals such as Lease, Come from afar, Dear Evan Hansen, funny girl and Nasty, with Broadway artists Christine Dwyer, Iris Beaumier and Matt DeAngelis.
LePage said coming out of the pandemic, it’s especially exciting to put on a live performance with 16 people on stage and a band of five.
He said it was important to him to give New Brunswickers the chance to take the stage and sing alongside Broadway actors.
“My mission is really to give back to the place that gave me my start,” LePage said. “It’s kind of a fusion of two worlds for me.”
John Harley, 22, of Saint John, is one of the entertainers. He said the experience of performing alongside Broadway actors was “incredible”.
“I’m enjoying every moment of this experience,” he said.
Harley said there are few words to describe her excitement for the show. He’s “almost too excited to sit down” and feels inspired to share the stage with four Broadway leads.
See more theater for the province
“I wish I could do what they do,” Harley said. “It really, really makes me want to try to go that route too and become as confident and as amazing as them.”
After the show, LePage returns to New York to finish in come from afar, which closes October 2.
Although he said it was unclear what was to come next, he and Courtney had big plans.
“The idea is that we want to bring a lot of theater to New Brunswick,” LePage said. “That’s about all I can say at the moment, but there are a lot of plans for a lot more going on in New Brunswick.”