Saturday, February 20, 2010

Give Your Regards to W. Broadway at HSU

It was after the Humboldt Light Opera Company production of “The Music Man” that several cast members decided to stick together awhile longer—and sing together, to raise money for HLOC as well as have some fun.

That was 1991, but the West Broadway Company they formed is still singing. They’ll get together again for a performance at Humboldt State University on Saturday, February 20, this time to benefit the HSU Music Department scholarship fund.

“These days all of us are busy working in theatre, teaching, conducting and generally involved in the art of making music,” said Carol McWhorter Ryder. “But about once a year we treat ourselves to working together. Part of the fun of this group is rehearsing and watching each other perform.”

Besides Carol Ryder, the group consists of her husband, Bill Ryder, Betty Diehl, Brad Curtis, Carolyn Ayres and Sharon Welton.

“We called ourselves W. Broadway because we’re on the West Coast,” Carol Ryder explained. “We chose the literature of Broadway because it offers so many wonderful songs that can make up an entertaining evening.”

But the program of solos, duets and ensembles the group will perform at Fulkerson Recital Hall reflects the Broadway of today as well as before. There are selections from “Mame,” “On the Town,” “Oklahoma!” and “The Fantasticks” but also from “Spamalot,” “Young Frankenstein,”“Avenue Q,” and “The Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”

While many selections are from famous shows (including “Follies,” “The Most Happy Fella” and “Hello, Dolly!”), others are standards or neglected jewels from forgotten musicals (like “Juno” from 1938 or “The Happy Time” from 1968.)

“All of us have been performing since we were in our twenties,” Carol Ryder said. “Most of us are former students of the HSU Music Department, so we are happy to perform a program to benefit the scholarship fund for current HSU Music majors.”

The six members of W. Broadway Co. are well-known on local stages, and in their communities.

Just over the past few years, Brad Curtis has performed leading roles in musical and non-musical plays at HLOC, North Coast Rep and Ferndale Rep.

Apart from performing, Carol Ryder has directed more than 30 productions on the North Coast, and Bill Ryder has sung in more than 25 HLOC shows. Most recently they performed together in “The Light on the Piazza.” Carol Ryder teaches voice and choir at HSU and College of the Redwoods, and is Artistic Director of the Humboldt Light Opera Company.

Besides singing with the Six Rivers Choral Artists, the California Redwoods Choir and the Rhododendron Festival Choir as well as in HLOC shows, Betty Diehl has been the director of the Ferndale Community Choir for 40 years.

An actress, singer, dancer and director over the years, Carolyn Ayres taught in public schools. Sharon Welton has been the pianist for HLOC productions, and is the accompanist for Carol Ryder’s vocal program at CR.

These six stars of North Coast musical theatre perform new songs and old favorites from Broadway on Saturday February 20 at 8 PM in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets: $8/$3 students and seniors from HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. A Faculty Artists Series concert produced by the HSU Department of Music.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Arcata Eye.

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