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BWW Interviews: CORNER OF THE SKY Celebrates the Music of Stephen Schwartz at the Segal Centre, Nov. 13

Stephen Schwartz may not have the same household name status as "that other Stephen," but with the explosion of Wicked onto the scene in 2003 and the Tony Award-winning revival of his 1972 musical Pippin, Schwartz is well on his way. Stephen Schwartz has written or contributed to more than 15 musicals and has also composed music for film and television. On Thursday, November 13, at the Segal Centre Studio, Montreal audiences will have the opportunity to experience the magic of Schwartz's music for themselves in Corner of the Sky: The Music of Stephen Schwartz, a cabaret performance conceived and hosted by local performer Noelle Hannibal.

I recently caught up with Noelle to talk about the upcoming show and her personal connection to Schwartz's music.

Noelle has been performing on the musical theatre stage since she was five. Since then, her career has found her on stages internationally, as well as in film and on television. She now makes her home in Montreal and can be seen performing at various venues around the city, including the Segal Centre Studio, where once a month she host the popular Broadway Café, a casual evening when the city's top talent gathers to sing their favorite tunes (next show: November 22).

Her personal connection to Stephen Schwartz's music also started at a young age. When she was seven or eight, her sister sat her down to watch Godspell on Easter, an event that has now become a yearly tradition. A few years later, she saw Pippin, an experience she describes as the "true cementing of my love for everything Schwartz." In high school Noelle begged her drama teacher to stage Pippin as the senior musical. Instead, her school put on Working (which does feature some Schwartz songs) only to present Pippin the following year, after Noelle had already graduated.

Noelle did have the opportunity to appear as a guest on the Broadway cast recording of the last year's Pippin revival, but she has never had the opportunity to perform in a Stephen Schwartz musical, a fact that provided some of the impetus for creating and co-producing Corner of the Sky. Noelle actually had the opportunity to communicate with Schwartz about the show. His advice? "Do the songs that inspire you and resonate the most with you."

The show on Thursday will feature songs from six of Schwartz's musicals: Wicked (2003), The Baker's Wife (1976), The Magic Show (1974), Children of Eden (1991), Working (1978), and Pippin (1972). The Segal Centre Studio is an intimate space and there will be some audience participation, some opportunities to sing along. With songs from Wicked as well as from some of Schwartz's less well-known musicals, there will be something for musical newcomers and aficionados alike. Noelle couldn't narrow down a favorite Schwartz song or even a favorite Schwartz musical, but she did tell me her favorite songs that she will be performing in the show: "Meadowlark" from The Baker's Wife and "It's an Art" from Working.

In addition to Noelle, the performers include co-producer Marc Ducusin, who Montreal audiences will recognize from local productions of Into the Woods and Cabaret among others; Tina Mancini, who was recently seen in Merton of the Movies: The Musical; special guest Jeremy Carver-Jones, who studied in Montreal and is now in his third season at the Shaw Festival; and music director/pianist Ian Baird.

Corner of the Sky: The Music of Stephen Schwartz will take place on November 13, 2014, at 8:00 pm at the Segal Center Studio. Tickets start at $22 and can be purchased by calling (514) 739-7944 or online at

Photos courtesy of Noelle Hannibal

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From This Author Krista Garver