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Hotel X in Toronto marked the spot this past weekend for A Night on Broadway, an event that featured Broadway stars performing their favourite showstoppers to support the David Foster Foundation. The charity supports Canadian families with children who need organ transplants. Postmedia had red-carpet access to the stars, the event, and the heart-wrenching stories of selflessness.
The David Foster Foundation was founded in 1986 by namesake Canadian musician, composer and arranger David Foster. Foster has won 16 Grammy Awards from his five decades in the music and entertainment business. When it came to putting on a Broadway-belting fundraising gala, Foster and team knew exactly who to call.
The event featured stars such as Leslie Odom Jr. of Hamilton, Katharine McPhee of Waitress and so many other talented voices. Before they headed to the stage, we had a red carpet (purple sparkly) moment to chat. When we think of Broadway stars, we think vocal cords and costumes. So, on behalf of our Shopping Essentials audience, we wanted to know how they keep their voices healthy and what’s the ideal outfit to change into once the final curtain falls.
We spoke with the brilliant:
Leslie Odom, Jr. — Lead role as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, 2016 Tony award winner and 2016 Grammy award winner
Katharine McPhee — Lead Role in Waitress, Smash and Scorpion
Jessica Vosk — Elphaba in Wicked, and starred in Broadway hits like Fiddler on the Roof and Finding Netherland
Kara Lindsay — Katherine Plumber in Newsies and Glinda in Wicked
Tony Vincent — Lead in Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent and We Will Rock You
Jonathan Cullen — Lead in national tour of The Book of Mormon
How to keep a healthy voice
Odom, Jr.: I warm up extensively still with my voice teacher from college and he helps me maintain a healthy singing technique.
Vincent: Talking is probably the worst thing you can do as a singer. I tend to get hired for roles with really high parts, so I don’t talk a lot during the day.
Cullen: Warm up and cool down after each performance. I stay away from fried and spicy food before a show. Also natural ginger, lemon and honey are great.
How to soothe a sore throat
Vosk: Thieves essential oil (had a small bottle on the ready in her bag).
Lindsay: Ginger candies (also had a few in her bag).
Vincent: I have essential oils, or this tincture that I put into a water bottle. I put in three drops and it’s kind of therapeutic.
Cullen: Lemon Ricola are my thing.
Favourite outfit to change into after your costume
Odom, Jr.: With Hamilton, it eventually got to be hard on my body, so a robe and ice.
McPhee: [Foster, McPhee’s husband, suggests she wears sweats]…I never wear sweats. We love the New York lifestyle, so I was always meeting you for dinner. A pair of jeans and a leather jacket. [I then suggest Roots and Foster conquers.]
Vosk: I’m into a suit these days. A woman really rocking a sexy tuxedo or a suit, even if it’s a sweatpant on the bottom and a little suit jacket on top, like from Zara. Spanx makes a really good legging.
Lindsay: I like pyjamas.
Vincent: The older I get, the more lululemon material I have.
Three families becoming one
There was absolutely no hope of a dry eye in the crowd. The evening started out with three incredible families uniting. Their story should be turned into a feature-length film. Or more fittingly, a musical. It was an amazing example of what the charity financially supports and logistically facilitates.
Family 1 includes the parents of a child who faced medical complications. Their child could not survive so they donated their child’s heart to Family 2.
Family 2 includes parents who have a child who required a new heart. They received the heart from Family 1. The two families connect and Family 2 realized Family 1 cannot medically have another child. Family 2 offers to be a surrogate for Family 1.
Family 3 includes a couple who couldn’t have children of their own. They heard about the story of Families 1 and 2 and paid for the entire surrogate journey.
We were honoured with meeting all three families, including the young heart recipient and the brand new baby born via surrogate.
That’s just two of the 1,300 families (and counting) that the David Foster Foundation has supported.
Check out some of the next-level performances from the room where it happened.
Part 1 of 4: Broadway is back (as is my first foray into travel)
Part 2 of 4: Behind the scenes with Canadian stars back on Broadway
My must-haves: A few of Eva Longoria’s favourite things