The members of Pacific Showtime Men’s Chorus are donning shades and dark suits to make Semiahmoo Peninsula residents an offer they can’t refuse.
Their latest sing-fest, The Godfather – a Musical Comedy, debuts Saturday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Crescent Branch 240 (2643 128 St.) and Saturday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Ocean Park Community Hall (1577 128 St.)
The Ocean Park-based group has packed the show with close harmony versions of classics that seem to beg for a mobsterish treatment – including such Sinatra favourites as My Way and New York, New York; Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas; Dean Martin’s Memories Are Made Of This, and Ray Charles Hit The Road, Jack.
With musical direction and accompaniment by Jonathan Wiltse, The Godfather focuses on activities of the Corleone family – including partriarch Vito (John Spence), brother Pauley (Leigh Anderson) and volatile son Sonny (Don Dickson) – as they ponder all-out war with the Soprano clan for domination of mob activities in New York in 1980.
But you can look for a few unexpected twists and turns along the way in Ron Flaterud’s tongue-in-cheek script.
The show seems a natural for a friendly group of singers that – while they takes their harmony singing seriously – aren’t known for shyness when it comes to the hammier aspects of musical theatre.
According to chorus members Flaterud, Anderson and Denny O’Donovan the notion of as Godfather musical came about as a follow-up to last year’s spring production.
“We had a very successful Western show called Deadwood, written by Chip Hand, one of the members,” Anderson said. “We were sitting around the Legion after the show and somebody said ‘next year we have to come up with something with a gangster theme’.”
They ended up looking at Flaterud, who has become well-known for coming up with funny, workable scripts for similar shows in the past.
“Being stupid and unable to say no, I was given a list of songs to choose from,” said Flaterud.
“I did write up a bit of an outline, but the thing about writing scripts is that they grow and change direction with where they’re going,” he added.
“I wound up with a lot of subplots – and quite a few sleepless nights.”
“It’s a very good script – we’re going to have a lot of fun with it,” said O’Donovan.
He noted he plays one of the few non-mobster characters, Officer O’Malley, in the show.
“I actually think it should be Officer O’Donovan,” he said.
“Yes,” agreed Flaterud. “But we wanted to get you out of your own character this time.”
It’s not all joking with the 16-member group, which formed just over a decade ago.
Indeed, with such challenging material as Frank Loesser’s Sit Down, You’re Rocking The Boat, Fugue For Tinhorns and Luck Be A Lady in the minimalistically-staged show, as Anderson said, “the focus is on singing.”
It includes a good blend of songs with full chorus, as well as solo and quartet numbers.
“Three or four numbers are a cappella,” O’Donovan said.
“We actually started as a bit of an a cappella chorus, but it changed as we added instruments over the years,” said Anderson.
“Now, having Jonathan as our musical director, we also have somebody playing piano for us. It’s opened up a whole new world.”
While the June 6 Legion show is close to being sold-out, the singers say there are still tickets available for the June 13 show at Ocean Park Community Hall.
Tickets ($15) are available from the legion, from chorus members or by calling O’Donovan at 604-536-7983 or by visiting www.pacificshowtime.com