Think of musical comedy, the most glorious words in the English language!
As a little girl, she wanted to sing so badly that she joined a church choir. Nothing exceptional about that except…she’s Jewish. Lucky for her, the church elders had an inclusive philosophy. “Everybody is welcome here.”
How lucky for young musical wannabes here in Montreal that, because of her persistence in getting highly successful professionals into the city, they get to have some of the top Broadway musical actors pass on their secrets. Surprise, surprise, it involves hard work.
Noelle Hannibal can tell you all about that. From a very young age, she has wanted to sing and dance. Her earliest recollection of being ‘on stage’ was performing The Good Ship Lollypop at the age of five. She moved on to one line in her first book musical, Annie, at the age of11. Since then, Hannibal has walked the streets and pounded on doors for auditions – in LA, New York and here in Montreal. She has even busked in Dublin. When she discovered that Montreal isn’t the best city to live in if your hearts desire is the Broadway Musical, she didn’t give up. Hell, no. She created the work herself.
In the Wings Promotions is Hannibal’s company that not only creates and produces musicals but also brings in the likes of Adam Pascal, Andrew Chappelle (Hamilton), Kyle Dean Massey and Seth Rudetsky, to share their expertise in a business that is truly hit and miss.
Coming up on November 11, is, in my humble opinion, the ultimate in the present day musical. The golden boy of New York’s theatre, one of the country’s most versatile actors, is coming to Montreal.
Michael Cerveris’ talent has shone in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Sweeney Todd, Assassins (for which he won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical). You might remember him as the Observer in the television series,The Fringe or as James Castro on the Good Wife. Cerveris recently finished a highly successful run in Fun Home on Broadway, the musical that won the Tony in 2015. It also garnered him the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical. And so very well deserved. He’s one of those actors that peels the skin off a character, bit by bit, until he gets to the nub in the centre. His enjoyment on stage is evident.
“What’s unique about Michael’s class is that he is not just approaching this as working on an audition piece, but he will be focusing on a working piece, a song, a monologue or even a scene.”
Getting him to Montreal was only difficult in that he is in huge demand for workshops and roles in upcoming productions. He is coming here on the heels of a workshop he is doing with Stephen Sondheim. (Oh, Joy!) The fact that he is a long time friend of Hannibal’s also may have had something to do with it! Just a bit. They have known each other since she was 18 when they dined at Cantors Deli after she met him at a night club in LA. He was working in Fame at the time.
November is a busy month for Hannibal. What started out as a PR company to support theatre companies on a shoestring budget, blossomed into a full fledged production company. She is also producing and acting in a production of Hair that will be performed at Mainline Theatre from November 24-26 with a preview on the 23rd. She and Nadia Verrucci, director and choreographer, have been mounting one show a year for the past couple of years. They started off a couple of years ago with 15 auditioning for that first show, and now see 65 plus hoping to book a slot.
Hannibal has been wanting to do Hair again after the first time when she was 20. “ It is one of the most satisfying times as a performer I have ever had.”
In these times of great upheaval in the US, indeed, the world over, it might be nice to see a show that promotes peace and friendship. You can be sure of one thing – with Noelle Hannibal at the helm, it will be presented professionally and with great heart.
A heart that loves Musical Theatre to its core –
For more information about the Michael Cerveris Masterclass or Hair:http://www.inthewingspromotions.com/masterclass-series.html
http://mainlinetheatre.ca/en/spectacles or call 514-849-FEST (3378)
By: Sharman Yarnell – mtltimes.ca