BWW Feature: DOREEN TAYLOR: MY FAVORITE THINGS at The Mass Building & 5th Side
Doreen Taylor, Hot 100 recording artist and Broadway leading lady, is celebrating her birthday week in an exceptional way. She will return to Philadelphia to star in Doreen Taylor: My Favorite Things in The Maas Building & 5th Side on Jan. 22.
While audiences have enjoyed her performances in arenas and stages both on and off-Broadway, Taylor wanted to reach out in an intimate setting. The award-winning singer and songwriter will be performing a retrospect of the songs that were influential in her musical journey along with the stories behind them.
Backed by a piano played by Alex Ayala, and guitar played by Frankie Velardo, she will sing her original compositions as well as perform favorite cover tunes re-imagined. Taylor's show engages the audience as an immersive experience of vocals, melodies, and backstories of the music.
Raised in Buffalo, New York, Taylor comes from a very diverse musical background. She always enjoyed singing and performed in school musicals, but her original career goal was to become a doctor.
"When I was 16, I saw Phantom of the Opera in Toronto, and I was just enamored with the show. It was my first really big production I got to experience," she explains. "When Christine (the lead character) was singing the high notes, I turned to my mother and told her that I could do that too."
While her mother might have doubted Taylor's ability, she did purchase the karaoke tracks to the show. But since Taylor was shy, she waited until she thought she was alone before singing to the tracks at home. Her mother had to return home, heard the vocals, and assumed it was a recorded soundtrack of the musical. When her mother discovered it was Taylor that was singing, her mother decided to encourage and expand Taylor's gift.
The family had a piano, and her mother hired someone to tune the instrument. When she asked the piano tuner if he knew any vocal teachers in the Buffalo area, he told her he was an opera singer when not tuning pianos and gave them his card. When her voice was tested, the teacher told her parents that, "she was a freak." While everyone was stunned, the teacher explained to them that Taylor has a three-and-a-half octave range, and that was extraordinary.
Taylor trained classically, but still planned on becoming a doctor. She was encouraged to audition for the top music schools and received a full fellowship to attend. Taylor put her medical career on hold and decided to pursue a musical career, including two degrees.
Her eclectic music career began with opera, and then she performed in musical theater before crossing over to mainstream music. Later, Taylor sang country music and switched back to adult contemporary music. She decided to take a one-year hiatus and perform off-Broadway and now wants to share her original music with audiences again.
In her show, Taylor will speak about the stories behind the songs she has written and performed as well as the music that is the soundtrack of her life including Linda Ronstadt, Elton John, Bon Jovi, and Phil Collins. She is thrilled to perform in a cabaret with her audience enjoying cocktails and listening to the stories of her crazy journey in the music industry. The show is being performed acoustically, so it is only about the music and its background.
Broadway is a part of her roots, and, "I never forget where I come from, and it is a huge part of who I am today." In 2019, Taylor produced, wrote, and starred in Sincerely, Oscar about the great Oscar Hammerstein performed in Theatre Row on 42nd Street.
"I met the Hammersteins at a music video premiere for my song "Unstoppable." Oscar's grandson Will attended the party and brought the baby, Oscar the IV. We hit it off, and he was telling me that his grandfather had lived in Highland Farm (Pennsylvania), which is in Doylestown (Pennsylvania). All of these amazing musicals were written in our backyard."
However, developers wanted to tear down his homebase and subdivide the property for houses. Taylor wanted to try and save the property. She produced and developed what she called a documusical about Oscar Hammerstein with proceeds going to keep the Oscar's home. The show sold out, and the revamped show was produced for off-Broadway.
"A hologram was incorporated, that was the first time it was ever done off-Broadway, and it was very ambitious and trailblazing. It was such a cool experience. Appreciating his music, I was ready to perform my own music," she says.
Doreen Taylor: My Favorite Things will be performed The Mass Building & 5th Side on Jan. 22. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and all tickets include wine (21 and over), hor's d' oeuvres by celebrity chef Geoff Johnson and complimentary parking in the James R. Ludlow School lot directly across from the entrance on N. Randolph St. After the show, there will be a meet and greet with Taylor. For tickets, click here.