Australian entertainment industry stalwart Simon Burke will revisit a handful of showtunes from across his career as a special guest at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir’s upcoming concert, Broadway Baby.
“I thought it sounded like a great afternoon’s entertainment. The only other time I’ve sung with a choir was with the QANTAS children’s choir at Carnegie Hall, about four years ago. It’ll be nice to do it again, particularly with such a renowned choir as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir,” Burke told the Star Observer.
“Plus, it’s always great to revisit songs from shows you’ve been in. It usually brings back a lot of memories – not always very good memories!”
Burke will join other special guests, The Sydney Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band and the Tip Top Tapping Lovelies, for the June 2 concert.
The SGLC promise two hours of show-stopping songs from shows including Les Miserables, Rent, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, Hair, Carousel plus a feisty rendition of There Is Nothing Like A Dame from South Pacific performed by the female members of the choir.
Burke revealed he’s planning on singing the Jekyll & Hyde showstopper This Is the Moment with the Navy Band, and is still deciding between a couple of other options.
“For a ballad, I’m tossing up between a song from La Cage Aux Folles which I did in the West End with John Barrowman, called Song on the Sand. Or there’s also a great song called What More Can I Say which is from Falsettos, a great show I did with Gina Riley back in the ‘90s,” he said.
“Singing with a choir, an orchestra, a band – it bumps up your performance level. It’s always exciting to be on stage, but to be on stage with a whole heap of people is a real thrill. You just feel so supported.”
In the lead-up to the Broadway Baby concert, the SGLC have been reaching out to the older members of the LGBTI community, holding workshops to actively encourage those of baby boomer age and above to give choral singing a try. As someone who’s spent his entire life singing, would Burke say it’s never too late to take to the stage?
“It’s absolutely never too late. I did actually start singing relatively late, in my mid-20s, when I went for an audition for the original Australian production of Les Mis and got the role of Marius – god knows how!
“Singing is a great art form, and I think it’s great when people take up new challenges later in life. What I know about the community aspect of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir too, it sounds like such a strong, powerful community to be a part of.”
INFO: Broadway Baby, Sydney Town Hall, 4pm Sunday June 2. www.sglc.org