Musical Memories Celebrating the Music of Broadway and Hollywood featuring Bob LeBlanc’s Variety Fare. October 27-November 22, 2017.

Musical Memories Celebrating the Music of Broadway and Hollywood featuring Bob LeBlanc’s Variety Fare. October 27-November 22, 2017.

Bob LeBlanc is a musical wonder. An autodidact with an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway show tunes (and Hollywood hit songs) who has never learned to read a note of music, he has, for years, shared his love of the genre with an ever-increasing audience.

Originally from the East Coast where he presented musical revues to great success for 10 years, Bob moved here almost two decades ago and started a Fast Signs franchise, immersing himself in the Victoria business community, including VicAM tourism booster group where his cheery early morning welcomes carried a certain note of pizazz and showmanship.

He founded the Victoria Broadway Chorus with Sue Doman and then, the vocal sextet Variety Fare in 2010.  With over 100 dinner theatre performances under their belt, this ensemble is polished to perfection.

Musical Memories (Celebrating the Music of Broadway and Hollywood) is an original revue, comprised of almost fifty songs, in a compact 70 minute show following a tasty buffet dinner prepared by French-trained chef Guy Lemonnier, owner of the Ambrosia Event Centre.

Gathering for drinks before dinner, the guests (many of whom are regulars) shared stories of shows past including Christmas at the “old” Oak Bay Beach Hotel.  United by an appreciation of the Great American Songbook and these talented performers, even strangers quickly found themselves among friends.

The three course buffet dinner is delicious with several salads, vegetables, entrées (including a vegetarian option), a carving station and yummy desserts.  The chef is happy to accommodate dietary specifications. Attentive staff ensured a seamless experience.

Dinner finished, it was “on with the show”.

Singers Merissa Cox, Stan Davis, Katya Delancey, Rebekah Janzen, Timothy Kyle and Darren Rathgaber are familiar to musical theatre and opera devotees, performing with the Victoria Operatic Society, Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Kaleidoscope Theatre, Pacific Opera Victoria and the Victoria Symphony.  They bring lush tones, balanced vocal harmonies and fancy footwork (choreographer Kelley O’Connor) to every number.

Musical Memories opened with bombastic numbers ranging from Gershwin’s 1927 hit Strike Up the Band, to the Music Man’s 76 Trombones from 1962, and Ethel Merman’s show stopping No Business Like Show Business (1954).  Leblanc’s fingers danced over the piano keys on a featured solo—the 1902 Scott Joplin hit made famous to modern audiences in the movie The StingThe Entertainer.

Stan Davis’ deep base voice boomed on To Dream The Impossible Dream (Man of La Mancha) and Rebekah Janzen’s mezzo soprano warmed hearts with I Have Dreamed That Your Arms are Lovely (The King & I).  Timothy Kyle (and ensemble) followed in an emotion-filled Somewhere Out There from An American Tail, before ending the set on a rousing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

LeBlanc definitely has a gift for finding themes and joining threads across disparate decades of music, along the way sharing historical (and interesting) tidbits of knowledge and lore. For instance, My Way, made famous by Frank Sinatra, with words by Paul Anka, is set to the music of the French song Comme D’Habitude written by Claude François

The evening moved on to songs by Frank Sinatra (High Hopes, Come Fly With Me, New York), Oscar Hammerstein (When I Grow Too Old to Dream, Favourite Things and a series of tunes from his musicals Showboat, Cinderella, State Fair, Me and Juliet, Oklahoma).  It was interesting to note the barber shop sound on Grand Night For Singing and the syncopation of No Other Love. 

Honouring the music of Lerner and Loewe the ensemble performed songs from Brigadoon, including an emotional à capella version of the title ballad and the romantic love song Heather on the Hill with Merissa Cox and Stan Davis.

No evening of Broadway and Hollywood hits would be complete without Gershwin.  Returning to the stage in a sequined jacket, LeBlanc showcased his virtuosity in an instrumental medley that included Rhapsody in Blue, Embrace Me, Summertime, Who Could Ask for Anything More.  Darren Rathgaber and Katya Delancey had everyone smiling with their humourous take on Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.

The evening wrapped up with Oscar-winning tunes.  There was longing in the air as the ensemble sang I’ll Be Seeing You and reminded everyone that It’s Been a Lovely Evening.

Throughout, the assembled audience was engaged, singing along sotto voce or leaning in, intent on every word.  Music is evocative, with the power to draw people back in wonder at past experiences—it’s a power Bob Leblanc and the talented Variety Fare vocal ensemble have tapped into, time and time again.

Thanks For the Memories and for a lovely evening of entertainment.

Musical Memories, Celebrating the Music of Broadway and Hollywood
An original revue written by Bob LeBlanc, performed by Variety Fare
Ambrosia Event Centre, 638 Fisgard Street
October 27/28 and November 3, 4, 10, 11 and 22
Tickets: $69 at Ticket Rocket online, in person or by phone
Doors at 6pm; dinner at 6:30pm and show at approximately 7:45pm

Further reading:

Disclaimer: I was offered a complimentary ticket to attend Musical Memories.

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. There is no doubt that I speak for all the singers in Variety Fare when I say a big “thank you” for your very generous review. We are all glad that you enjoyed the show and thank you sincerely for your interest in our production.

    Bob LeBlanc

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