The Globe & Mail describes Tomson Highway as ‘a master of the playful pastiche….his work is giddy humour and warmth of spirit, which bathes the audience and turns the cabaret into one big Highway love-in.”
Songs in the Key of Cree cabaret will be exactly this, ‘a Highway love-in’ and will feature highlights from the musical canon of Highway’s compositional and lyrical accomplishments.
Tomson Highway is a Cree playwright, author, storyteller and musician whose work has garnered him international fame, a recent JUNO nomination, membership to the Order of Canada, ten honourary doctorates and named one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history by MacLeans magazine.
After many years working in the Toronto theatre industry, Tomson achieved international recognition with his sixth play the multi-award-winning and legendary, THE REZ SISTERS. This was followed by its companion play, the even more successful, award winning DRY LIPS OUGHTA MOVE TO KAPUSKASING. Some other notable plays/shows/cabarets he has written are, THE SAGE, THE DANCER AND THE FOOL, ARIA, NEW SONG…NEW DANCE, THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF MARY JANE MOSQUITO, ROSE, ERNESTINE SHUSWAP GETS HER TROUT and THE (POST) MISTRESS. He has criss-crossed North America, Europe, and the world combining his many lectures and readings with performances at the piano, both solo and with singer/musician friends.
A master pianist, composer and songwriter with a repertoire spanning over three decades, his music range is from country to classic to a Brazilian samba or tango then to swooning ballads a la Cole Porter to French Canadian-style folk songs to boogie-woogie rhythms of Fats Waller to elegant ballads evoking the Broadway-era Kurt Weill. He writes in Cree, French and English and is a true ‘Trickster’ storyteller.
Under the musical direction of the multi-talented and sophisticated John Alcorn, this tribute cabaret presents a stellar line up including Highway and Alcorn on piano with Marcus Ali on Sax. Joining the stage throughout the eve are Toronto’s most dynamic artists including Micah Barnes, Laura Hubert, Teresa Castonguay, Jani Lauzon, Patricia Cano, David Restivo, Steve Wallace and Morgan Childs. Other special guests to be announced at a later date!
John Alcorn ~ Musical Director/Performer
Recognized as one of Canada’s premier jazz vocalists, John Alcorn is an award winning composer, lyricist, musical director and arranger. John was musical director of Highway’s premiere presentation of ROSE, the concert cabaret.
Marcus Ali ~ Saxophone
One of Toronto’s top horn players, Ali has performed in countless shows in Canada and internationally. Ali tours worldwide with Tomson Highway performing in both the Cree Cabaret and The (Post) Mistress musical production.
Patricia Cano ~ Vocals
Making her mark on the global stage, Patricia Cano has a presence of a Broadway star with a voice that is smooth, intense and a little bit sweet. She frequently performs with Tomson Highway as lead vocalist with the Cree Cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito and The (Post) Mistress. Her debut album, THIS IS THE NEW WORLD, is influenced by traditional South American folk forms including Samba and Afro-Peruvian rhythms.
Micah Barnes ~ Vocals
A well loved singer-songwriter, Micah has performed with the A Capella Pop group The Nylons, launched a hugely successful solo career and recently has shot to the top of the Jazz charts with his latest collection, NEW YORK STORIES. Micah Barnes is a long time Highway family member and also performed in the original cabaret presentation of ROSE.
Jani Lauzon ~ Vocals
A Dora Mavor Moore nominated actress, a JUNO nominated singer/songwriter, a Gemini Award winning puppeteer and an award winning screen actor, Jani Lauzon has countless theatre, film and radio credits. Lauzon is also a producer, filmmaker, director with three current theatre productions in rotation and three independent music recordings. She has performed in a number of Rez Sisters’ productions and was a featured performer in the original cabaret presentation of ROSE. Jani Lauzon is a superb, passionate, powerhouse singer.
Laura Hubert ~ Vocals
A singer of ‘old songs’, Laura Hubert is known for her eclectic repertoire of standards, blues and western swing. She is most famous as co-founder and lead vocalist of the award winning, indie-rock group, Leslie Spit Treeo. Laura delivers with passion and style!
Teresa Castonguay ~ Vocals
Having worked together as the lead team of Native Earth Performing Arts, Teresa and Tomson have a strong history together. Teresa blew audiences away with her vocal performance at the ROSE cabaret/concert and promises to repeat this performance in December.
David Restivo – guest piano
David Restivo is one of Canada’s most respected and inﬂuential jazz artists. A pianist, percussionist and composer, he is a 3-time winner of the National Jazz Awards’ Keyboardist of the Year Award, and is listed in the current edition of Canadian Who’s Who.
Steve Wallace – bass
Steve Wallace is regarded by many as the most powerful bass player that Canada has produced. This award winning musician is almost certainly the most experienced, having begun working with visiting jazz greats in Toronto clubs such as Bourbon Street, Lytes, and George’s Spaghetti House while he was still in his twenties. He has performed and toured with many greats such as Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Pepper Adams, Rob McConnell’s ‘The Boss Brass’, Woody Herman’s All Stars and the Oscar Peterson’s Trio
Morgan Childs – percussion
Award winning drummer Morgan Childs has built an international career as a performer and educator with some of the world’s finest musicians. He is highly regarded among his peers for his deep swing feel, sensitivity, versatility and musicality, as well as his reverence for jazz history and wide-ranging musical vocabulary. Morgan is also a noted composer and bandleader. His groups have been frequently featured on CBC radio shows Hot Air, Tonic, and JazzBeat.