Express Yassself: Broadway at Broadway

Esther Hannan-Moon

As I entered Broadway Shopping Centre and spotted the rainbow arch welcoming customers up the escalator, I’m hit by the fact that Mardi Gras has been in full-swing since Valentine’s Day and will continue until the 1st of March. I wasn’t here to shop, mind you, I was here to attend the centre’s latest event dedicated to Mardi Gras, Express YassselfBroadway at Broadway, which promised to be a musically pleasant experience. 

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Broadway at Broadway, one of three shows in the lineup for Express Yassself’s overall event, is a mini-concert of show-tunes and other musical numbers. This show makes up a small part of a variety of shows put on by Broadway. Originally, I aimed to attend one of the other events on offer by Broadway Shopping Centre ‘Bingay Bingo’ which as the name suggests, is bingo with a Mardi Gras twist. The event’s other choice of entertainment was ‘Mega Drag’ a drag queen performance. I opted for the third option on offer, Broadway at Broadway, and thus, found myself sitting on a glowing box-seat beneath the stage. The stage’s backdrop was framed by a multitude of rainbow hearts, arranged into one giant heart (oh and the pink streamers, can’t forget those!).  

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Upon arrival at any of the three events, the location might seem to be an odd choice: the food court, just outside H&M. I admit it took me a little to settle in, especially after mistaking a man sitting next to the stage on his laptop as the ticketer — spoiler alert, he was just trying to enjoy a burger. Once the show got underway, a little later than advertised, the audience was introduced to its elegant, sequined hostess for the night. The chatter of the food court was blanketed by the expressive voice of Debora Krizak, the hostess, singing ‘Rain On My Parade’ from Funny Girl. The energy lifted. The event began to feel like live music on a night out. The added improvisation to entertain the children in the front row helped to bring the audience’s laughter into the musical accompaniment. Although the next song wasn’t known in advance, by the audience or Ms. Cryzack, the mood of the night was set. This was a performance without expectations or worries. Ease back into your chair, ignore the clattering of dishes and simply enjoy.

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With the atmosphere in place and the food court goers listening attentively, the second performer was welcomed to the mic. Noah Mullins, has a clear voice that resonates through the centre. There wasn’t any announcement as to which song he was singing and from where, so the next few pieces took on a game-like quality, where the audience was quietly guessing what was happening. Rather helpfully, Mr. Mullins acts out the songs, embodying the character and offering the audience a charming voice that warms the ears and provokes the imagination; it’s a treat to decipher just what his character feels and experiences through the song.

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The next performer, all the way from London, is Josie Lane: a strong voice that boomed and soothed, with a peppering of cheek to lighten the sound. Sitting there, as my seat glowed and switched to a neon green, it felt as if Josie Lane was taking us on a journey. Josie told the song’s story through playful winks and dancing, working the stage like she was reading us a book. Pure energy, a performer who was having fun with her audience.Once again, the song titles were lost on me, but that didn’t stop all of us from appreciating the voices behind the mysterious words.

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Broadway at Broadway was only a taste of the Express Yassself event. It officially ends on the 27th of February — and don’t worry for all you broke Uni students, tickets are free (or you could just “happen” to be in the food court around six to six-thirty at night). I would, however, recommend spending the two minutes to get a free ticket, because if you show it to the service desk on level two (not the guy with the laptop eating his post-work dinner), then you get a gift card for the centre! Not half bad, I’d say!

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All in all, this event is for anyone. You don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of showtunes (I certainly didn’t) because there’s no pressure on the audience or the performers to present themselves as nothing more than comfortable and fun. Simply put, sit back and embrace the rainbow.