Les Reagan, the founding director of The Augusta Broadway Singers (TAB), had no trouble deciding what the theme of the group’s upcoming show would be: “Hope… Happiness… Harmony…” is what he trusts audiences will feel when they leave the show.
“I decided I wanted a feel-good concert, just due to so much garbage going on in the world, so much heartache, so much hurt, so much worry and all,” he said. “I just wanted a few minutes, maybe an hour or an hour and a half of ‘Ahhhhhhh.’ We need that, just to take ourselves away. So in planning this program I looked at music that I thought would do that, would take us on this little journey of feeling good.”
This will be TAB’s third dinner show at the DoubleTree Hotel, where Reagan serves as general manager, since its inception in 2013. In 2014, they presented a holiday-themed event and went on to stage “The Marvelous Wonderettes,” a musical that incorporated girl-group songs of the 1950s and ‘60s.
This time around the group, which only performs musical numbers that are currently in or have been in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, will feature well-known songs such as “Joyful, Joyful” from “Sister Act,” “All Good Gifts” from “Godspell,” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” from “Guys and Dolls.”
Perhaps the most famous feel-good song of the program, though, will be performed by 12-year-old Heidi Gray, who will join TAB on stage Friday and Saturday night to sing “Tomorrow” from “Annie.”
“With this concert, we are featuring Heidi Gray, who is from North Augusta and has done a lot of theatre work around town with many of us,” Reagan said. “And she, of course, is most noted for landing the role of Annie in the Broadway national tour of ‘Annie.’ She has just returned a few months ago from touring the U.S. and Asia on a national tour. She’s doing a couple of numbers with us.”
“Tomorrow” is a song that no musical theatre lover gets tired of hearing, and Reagan says that sentiment goes for Gray as well.
“I asked her, ‘Are you tired of it yet?’ and she said, ‘Oh no, no, no, no,’” he said. “Because most of us, by the time we get to a show, we’re like, ‘Ugh, can we move on to another show?’ She does such a phenomenal job with it.”
In addition to making the audience forget their troubles for a while, Reagan said he and the members of TAB chose most of the songs because of their connection to them. Many of the members of the group are local theatre performers who have sung these numbers in productions from years past.
“For instance, the song ‘Happiness’ from ‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown;’ that’s one of the songs we sing. Well, we’ve got several people who have done the show, from all different ages from several years ago. We have three Lucys from different times that are in it,” Reagan explained. “My wife and my daughter are singing in this, and we were all involved in ‘Godspell’ at different times. We met two other people who are in the group through doing ‘Godspell’ here locally years ago.”
Audiences will learn of these local connections when TAB introduces each song.
“It’s just one of those, ‘Welcome to our house, here’s who we are,’” he said. “And let’s have a moment of fun, and a moment of good, and maybe a moment of tears because there’s some beautiful stuff in the show.”
Hope… Happiness… Harmony…
Fri-Sat, August 18-19
Dinner, 6 p.m.; show, 7 p.m.
$45, adults; $20, ages 5-12 (reservations required)