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Wednesday, 08 February 2017 16:25

Tapping for Sick Kids – Fundraiser

Written by  Dennis Kucherawy
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World Premiere of “One Step at a Time,”

One-Man Show Featuring Internationally Acclaimed

Canadian Tap Dancer and Multi-Disciplinary

Artist Andrew Prashad

Special guests Elaine Overholt, Director Scott Hurst and Music Director Jeannie Wyse also will perform

One night only - Saturday, Feb. 18th at Randolph Theatre

By Dennis Kucherawy

 

“Audience of angels descend in the ambiance reciting praises in your glory, when you wear your dance shoes, when you arrive at the stage and with every step you take beneath your feet heaven moves. That is the power of dance.”

― Shah Asad Rizvi

Andrew Prashad is one of Canada’s leading tap dancers.  He has studied and trained with some of the world’s greatest – Broadway’s Savion Glover (“Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk”) is just one of them.  He’s also more than a true triple threat as a dancer, actor, and singer in theatre, film and television.  He’s a writer.

He’s also a Dad. His son was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.  His name is Ezra Courage Prashad. It means "Helper." SickKids Hospital saved his life.

Now, Andrew plans to help in a way he knows best, by singing and dancing in his new one-man show Saturday night, Feb. 18th titled “One Step at a Time.” It’s preceded by a first act that will feature performances by director Scott Hurst, music director Jeannie Wyse and special guest Elaine Overholt.

All proceeds will be donated to the SickKids Hospital - ErinoakKids (Physiotherapy), Andrew says. “My son and I are frequent flyers there.”

(ErinoakKids is Canada’s largest Children’s treatment centre providing rehabilitation and support services for children in medical need.)

“SickKids saved my son’s life, on more than one occasion. I’m glad I’ve got a way to give back.”

Courage is indeed Ezra’s middle name.  “Upon birth, he wasn't supposed to have any function below the waist,” Andrew explains, “but not only has he figured out how to crawl (with a tremendous amount of work), but we got him his leg braces, and he's slowly figuring out how to bear his weight and stand with assistance.  This was possible with non-stop physiotherapy with us, using techniques and exercises we learned from Erinoak Kids.

In a Toronto theatre season that has seen such moving, one-man show hits as Shawn Wright’s “Ghost Light” and Christopher Wilson’s “Two Kittens and a Kid,” Prashad’s show stands out.

“There aren’t many one-person shows that attempt continuous storytelling through monologues, original music, and improvisational Tap dance,” says Andrew.  “I have a well-developed voice through the instrument that are my Tap shoes, so I knew dance had to be a key part of the show.

“The idea is that, where the monologues aren’t enough, the original music takes over, and when that’s not enough to emotionally and physically express the journey, then we dance.

“The one-person show covers a timeline from receiving the news about our son, to living at SickKids when he was born, for his first major surgery, to Ezra being rushed to the hospital with his first Urinary Tract Infection while I was away touring with `Riverdance,’ to present day decisions.

“People always ask how my wife and I manage. This show is going to shed some light on that, finding what’s funny in things that don’t seem so serious now, looking back on it.

“Sitting at my piano, I wrote five songs for this show, varying in structure from pop to theatre. There’s even a little gospel near the end.  All of this best tell the story of my wife and mine’s journey with our third child.”

Prashad said he asked Scott Hurst – an acclaimed teacher, actor and director -  to stage the show because “he is an incredibly giving and lovely human being who had a heart-to-heart with me a few years back when I was rebooting my career. He told me if I wanted to make a career of this theatre thing, perhaps I should divert some of my focus from Tap dancing and continue my training in acting and singing. I took that advice and ran with it. I continue to train in as many areas as possible.

“Jeannie Wyse (an accompanist, vocal teacher and accompanist for many of Toronto’s musicals and touring shows) graciously agreed to musically direct my show. I’ve trained with some incredible vocal coaches, and she’s one of them. We also worked together on a recent contract at Drayton. We’ve become very good friends. I’ve even taught her daughter private Tap dance lessons.

“Elaine Overholt is my special guest. She was a game changer in my career. When she took me under her very capable wings, she was one of the first people to tell me that I could be a singer, and not a `dancer who sings.’ I heard that loud and clear. She’s helped me as a performer and has shown me so much guidance.”

Elaine is one of Canada’s most highly regarded musical directors and vocal teachers. A well-known singer, pianist and vocal coach with her own studio on Toronto’s Broadview Ave., she is internationally acclaimed from Hollywood to the West End and Broadway as one of the best vocal coaches anywhere.

In addition to teaching thousands of local aspiring music students, she has coached movie stars such as John Travolta in “Hairspray” and Rene Zellweger, Richard Gere and Catherine Zeta-Jones in the multi Oscar-award-winning “Chicago,” both filmed in Toronto.

Scott, Jeannie and Elaine will each perform their own sets in the first act, Andrew explained:

“I couldn’t have these three talented people in one room and not at least ask them if they’d perform! They’ve all agreed and they’ll comprise act one. The second act will be `One Step at A Time.’

“We’re working very hard to present an entertaining and honest storytelling of the journey. The songs are written and the script is on its fourth draft and nearly finalized.”

Ticket Information:

The show will run one night only, Saturday February 18th at 7pm at the Randolph Theatre, 736 Bathurst, in Toronto.

$30 – General

$25 – Arts Worker

(Additional donations may be made at time of ticket purchase)

To purchase tickets, visit http://onestepatatime.bpt.me/ or call  1-800-838-3006.

The FaceBook event page is:

https://www.facebook.com/events/392731147740473/

Visit this FaceBook link to see Andrew rehearsing with Jeannie Wyse:

https://www.facebook.com/andrewcprashad/videos/10158056820040104/ 

By Dennis Kucherawy

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2017 17:13
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