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From 'Guys and Dolls' to 'Dear Evan Hansen': Port Moody troupe to belt out Broadway's best

IOCO Players is presenting "Lullaby To Broadway" from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at the Inlet Theatre in Port Moody.

Ever had an earworm after leaving a live show?

Many hits that sprung from Broadway stages — and forever shaped musical theatre — will soon be performed in an original production in Port Moody.

Mike Arseneault, founder of the IOCO Players Theatre, is the creator, producer, director and one of the stars of Lullaby To Broadway, a musical theatre concert that runs on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 and 2 at 7 p.m., as well as at 2 p.m. on Sept. 2, at the Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Dr.).

In an interview with the Tri-City News today (Aug. 9), Arseneault said the three-act retrospective pays homage to the ground-breaking tunes and the composers who advanced the craft over four decades.

There will be a six-piece orchestra on stage, led by Kyle Lorenzana Fonacier:

  • Catie Akune (violin)
  • Carlina Dykstra (piano)
  • Anna Kuchkova (cello)
  • Ashley Trimble (woodwinds)
  • Alvin Yang (guitar)

"The songs and the composers that were picked had a huge impact on musical theatre," Arseneault said, noting there are 21 iconic musicals highlighted in the program that includes pieces from Guys and Dolls, Cabaret, Les Miserables, Rent and Dear Evan Hanson.

Lullaby To Broadway, a play on the 1935 song "Lullaby of Broadway," features a cast of 15 — many new to the theatre world.

After an audition that saw 30 bookings, Arseneault said he selected a range of ages and skills "so that everybody could have a chance to shine."

"We've got a good mix of people with different skills and talent," he said. "I try to give everyone an opportunity."

Besides Arseneault, they are (in alphabetical order):

  • Elaine Francis
  • Lisa Hills
  • Mako Fujimoto
  • Kyla Kay
  • Amy Lubik
  • Lannette New
  • Andrew Ould
  • Raven Pedron
  • Bennette Renault
  • Kathy Rota
  • Maggie Roth
  • Amanda Spinosa
  • Kevin Staley
  • Danielle Yu

Some will have solos but, for the most part, the songs will be sung in groups or with full company.

Arseneault said he has added a few works from Stephen Sondheim, although he dedicated an entire program to the late master and Stephen Schwartz last summer.

And, like with past IOCO Players shows, Arseneault said he'll include stories and photos in a slide show with each song, in a bid to educate the audience about how the tune became a standard in the American musical theatre catalogue.

The 2023 winner of the city’s Civic Arts Award, Arseneault said IOCO Players has a several corporate and non-profit partners who have contributed with financial or in-kind donations, including Andrew Peller Ltd., PCI Developments and PoMo Arts.

"They are developers and people in our community who have made an investment in the City of the Arts," he said.

Meanwhile, tickets for IOCO Players' next show, War of the Worlds, in November went on sale today on its Eventbrite page.

For tickets to Lullaby To Broadway from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at the Inlet Theatre in Port Moody, you can visit its Eventbrite page. The cost is $35 online or $40 at the door, if not sold out.