Nobody Does It Better Than Sharron Matthews

I found myself in a strange mood tonight as I headed down to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. I’ve had a strange, oddly emotional, quasi exhilarating, mentally exhausting past few days, and then today I found out about Bea Arthur, and then realized that this would be the last Sharron’s Party that I would have the great fortune to attend. So, it is with bittersweetness that I begin this entry.
I was grateful to Bryce Kulak who put on a wonderful pre-show show and kicked things off with his tune “You’re My Man,” which always gets me bopping like a six year old at a picnic. He then sang the beautiful “Tin Can Telephone” and then elicited the help of the illustrious Lily Ling with the Gershwin tune “Slap that Bass.” Bryce Kulak would have made a phenomenal Vaudevillian. Sometimes when I see him perform, I wish that we could revive Vaudeville, just because I think the antics he would get up to in such an ambiance would be Gee-Willikers, gosh darn swell! Know what else is Gosh Darn Swell? On Wednesday April 29th, 2009 Bryce Kulak and Lily Ling will be performing Divine Dinner Music at Statler’s Piano Lounge on Church Street from 9:30-12:30am, where they will be performing “timeless classics and unknown gems.” It’s sure to be as close to Vaudeville as Church Street gets, my friends!
One of the most endearing things about Sharron Matthews is how personable and genuinely lovely she is. Before she begins her Party, she makes sure to introduce herself to every new face she sees in the audience. She greets the familiar faces with her infectious smile and laughter, and there is always at least one special audience member who gets drawn into the show with particular emphasis.
She has been doing Sharron’s Party for four and a half years, and tonight was her forty-fourth party. There are only TWO more Parties (one May 29th and 30th and one blow-out-one-night-only-gay-a-palooza June 20th) before, like the Disney movies before her, Sharron Matthews puts Sharron’s Party in the vault.
And I know I have written about Sharron’s Party a lot, and I won’t linger too long on how beautiful her voice is and how refreshing and hysterical her stories and her medleys are, because you can read about how fantastic she is elsewhere. What I would like to express to you is how inspiring and empowering Sharron Matthews is. She wears her heart on her sleeve and she speaks with such candid sincerity about her struggles and her triumphs, the embarrassing awkwardness of life that we can all relate to. When it comes from someone of such beauty and talent and success, it fills me with such a sense that I can accomplish great things too. She is a booster shot of motivation and encouragement and I know that she has given that boost to so many of Toronto’s youngest artists who are working and making their dreams come true in this city. For that, I feel that we should all be so, so, so grateful.
The special guests for the evening were Gabi Epstein, who sang an incredible rendition of “Show Off” from The Drowsy Chaperone– Epstein always knows exactly how to tweak a song so that it suits her purpose perfectly. She then performed her and Lily Ling’s beautiful arrangement of “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” which is becoming one of my favourite songs. Then, I felt very blessed to have the opportunity to see Christopher “Big Girl” Wilson perform for the very first time. He is a whole high-kicking, fan-kicking ball of one-man-show vivacity. Wow. He sang a fantastic Barbra Streisand Broadway medley and then a gorgeous rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” which almost had me in tears. He and Matthews then shared stories from the making of The Music Man movie with Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth which included Matthews calling Wilson “super stalker snow skates,” which basically speaks for itself.
Only Sharron Matthews can perform Les Miserables in two minutes, include the line “on that neverending road to Calgary” and then sing the most extraordinarily gorgeous rendition of “Bring Him Home” that makes you wish that you’d invited Colm Wilkinson along to the Party with you. Sharron Matthews is Toronto’s theatrical gem. Catch her shows while you still can, and look forward with anticipation to her future projects because no one puts on a party quite like Sharron Matthews. She is simply the best.

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