'Broadway at the Blue'

What makes Broadway music different? "Heart," says Laurelia Derocher, artistic director of "Broadway at the Blue," a cabaret-style show with an indefinite run at Ashland's Blue: Greek on Granite.

Shows are set for 7 p.m. Fridays and 8 p.m. Mondays at the restaurant, 5 Granite St., and they are about as close as you're ever going to get to The Great White Way without going there.

Along with great Greek cuisine, patrons will hear strains from "West Side Story," "Funny Girl," "Evita" and many other shows as the singers bid you to raise your arms and crow "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" (lyrics provided) or line dance to "Hello, Dolly."

Tammy Marston, John Stadelman and guitarist Mark Turnbull will perform Friday, March 30, and Monday, April 2. Derocher and Rose Passione perform April 6 and 9, and David Gabriel, Blue owner and former Broadway singer Gloria Rossi Menedes and Derocher will perform April 13 and 16. A show is set for Sunday, April 15, (and every third Sunday of the month) at the request of the gay community.

"It's so they can whoop it up and bring friends," Derocher says. "It's also open to the whole community."

The talent will perform on a rotating basis. Gabriel, Priscilla High and Rossi Menedes performed last weekend, belting out "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" from "Gypsy," "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha," "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables" and "I Hate Men" from "Kiss Me Kate."

High, who has seen lots of Broadway, says it's "awesome, and I'm madly in love with being able to sing show tunes in an intimate, attentive environment like Blue."

Fridays were chosen because they are "date nights," and this is a great date, Derocher says. Mondays were chosen because theaters are dark in Ashland on that night, and people need a fun place to go.

"The close proximity of singer and audience brings out such palpable energy," Gabriel says. "They're here because they love this kind of music, which has emotion that's much more available than any other kind of music. Some of it can be sentimental and get dated, but they're going to be singing it 200 years from now."

Show tunes have the power to overcome situations in this country where, as "Les Miserables" addresses, power and money are in the hands of the few, Gabriel says.

" 'Bring Him Home,' is the last anti-war song," he says.

Derocher says it's been a dream to find the right venue for "Broadway at the Blue."

"There is nothing like this around," she says. "It's great for the town and tourists, and it's distinct from the full productions of Camelot Theatre and the contemporary works of Oregon Cabaret Theatre."

Reservations are recommended. The cover is $7. Call 541-708-5150.

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