LUMINATO to Present If I Loved You, Gentlemen Prefer Broadway: An Evening Of Love Duets
Luminato Festival is thrilled to present the world premiere of IF I LOVED YOU: Gentlemen Prefer Broadway - An Evening Of Love Duets, conceived by composer, singer and songwriter Rufus Wainwright, for one night only on Saturday, June 14 at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts.
"I think the primary purpose of my job is to love artists. Of course the relationship with my husband Rufus Wainwright is special but I feel if someone is more talented and deserves more to be associated with this festival it is him rather than me," enthused Luminato Festival Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt.
"What Rufus has put together for this evening of celebrating love is simply mind- boggling and something I would not have been able to pull off as the artistic director by myself. It promises to be one of the most unusual nights of music. Who doesn't want to hear these artists sing together? If I Loved You is not about turning something from "straight" to "gay," by singing love duets with only men, but instead, to declare the universality of love, and to celebrate love that comes in every shade."
Rufus Wainwright first appeared at the Luminato Festival in 2010 with the first stop on his North American tour for his solo album All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu and the North American debut of his highly acclaimed opera, Prima Donna. To the delight of Toronto audiences, Wainwright has regularly appeared at the Luminato Festival, and this year is no exception!
In 2006, Wainwright took showmanship to dazzling new heights with his song-for-song re-creation of Judy Garland's landmark 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall. Now, in an equally bold move, Wainwright teams with Grammy- and Tony-winning musical director Stephen Oremus to redefine dozens of the most beloved gems in the Great American Songbook, all love songs from Broadway musicals. In their original productions, these songs were performed as duets by a man and a woman, or by a man singing about a woman.
Wainwright's re-contextualizations, performed exclusively by men and to men, fortify the songs' universality as expressions of love. Many of these treasured songs were crafted by some of Broadway's most legendary gay men- Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Jerry Herman and Lorenz Hart. Other songs like Rodgers and Hammerstein's We Kiss in a Shadow from The King and I, have long been claimed as anthems by the gay community.
The groundbreaking evening will showcase Wainwright and an international spectrum of pop, classical and musical theatre stars, including David Byrne, Boy George, Ezra Koenig (Vampire Weekend), Josh Groban, counter tenor Brennan Hall (River of Fundament), Glen Hansard (Once), Steven Page (Barenaked Ladies) and Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon, HBO's GIRLS), in unexpected, entirely enchanting pairs.
Drawing on a century of stage hits and featuring a full Broadway orchestra, IF I LOVED YOU will also serve as a wonderful prelude as Toronto hosts the first World Pride ever celebrated in North America.
"You can never underestimate the power of seeing yourself reflected in art, and how important that is to a feeling of belonging. WorldPride 2014 Toronto will showcase a rich range of LGBTQ art and voices from across the world in a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Chrystal Dean, WorldPride Manager. "We are delighted to partner with a cultural icon like the Luminato Festival to celebrate Toronto's vibrant arts community and bring focus on global LGBTQ struggles and triumphs."
Added Weisbrodt, "This is truly a concert of which the Luminato Festival and Toronto can be proud of in front of the world.?