When and Where: May 12, 1997 at the Wintergarden Theatre (189 Yonge St, Toronto, Ont.)

Who: Sandra Margolese, Colm Wilkinson, and Toronto's top musical stars frm Ragtime, Beauty and The Beast, Joseph and Phantom.

All proceeds will be donated to The Hosptal for Sick Children's Foundation's HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program.

This is a review of the concert by Dot McFarlane

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (performed by Phantom cast members) -- enter
Sandra Margolese (the producer and organizer of the event) wearing a
beautiful blue evening gown.  She was accompanied by a "barbershop
quartet" comprised of Peter Barnes, John Doddington, Robert Meilleur and
Tim Stiff.  They performed this beautiful arrangement "a cappella."
These four talented gentlemen would eventually go on to be a rather
humourous group of scene changers, throughout the rest of the show!!
Next came the Master of Ceremonies, who was Gary Krawford (from
Phantom).  Aside from performing his own number, he would also introduce
the various acts from time to time.  He was a GREAT M.C.!!
Next came performances of 2 songs from Stephen Sondheim's "Company."
They were "No One Is Alone (performed by Pamela MacDonald from Phantom)"
and "Children Will Listen (performed by Melissa Thomson and Steve
Blanchard from Beauty and the Beast)."  These songs were very
beautifully done.
When I Am Holding You --  this song was beautifully performed by Tim
Stiff.  It was written by Tim on the occasion of his daughter Meagan's
christening.  It was a very touching song about how he hoped to pass on
the love of his father, to his daughter.
The Recipe --  this song was performed by Margaret Ann Gates and Scott
Watanabe (from Phantom).  It was an absolutely HILARIOUS song about a
food hotline call (976-FOOD!!), all about the sheer joy of braising
beef, and what ingredients to use!!  This performance came complete with
phones and tables, with Margaret and Scott sitting on opposite ends of
each other.  What more can I say??  You just HAD to be there!!
Living With the Little Things -- this was another equally hilarious
song, performed by a rather TALL Abe Reybold (of the musical Quilt), all
about the joys of living with animals inherited from a deceased
roommate.  One of the animals in the song was a bird, who would remark
to this man's mother that she had a nice bosom (substitute the "T" word
here!!)!! :-D
We Can Be Kind -- a VERY touching song, performed by Roland Rusinek
(from Phantom), all about how we can be kind to each other in this world
(pretty self-explanatory, huh??!!).
The Elements -- performed by Gary Krawford.  This was a HILARIOUS song
about Gary having to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements in his high
school Chemistry days.  Personally, I can't understand how he was able
to remember all of those elements' names!! :-D
This great song was followed by a short, very informative speech by Dr.
Stanley Read, the Director of the HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care programme
at the Hospital for Sick Children.  In it, he described the research
that has taken place thus far, and reminded us that we still have a long
way to go, in fighting this terrible disease.  He then expressed his
thanks to all involved with the presentation.
Never Alone -- this was a combination of 2 gospel songs, performed by a
group of Beauty and the Beast chorus members.  It was really rousing and
exciting, and many audience members were clapping along!! :-D
You Can't Take That Away From Me -- a beautiful song-and-dance number,
featuring Gerald Isaac, Mimi Pineau and Mark Snow (from Phantom).
Four Guys in the Chorus -- an absolutely HILARIOUS parody of life in the
Phantom ensemble (featuring Peter Barnes, John Doddington, Robert
Meilleur and Tim Stiff again), sung to the tune of "Three Coins in a
Fountain."  Tim wrote the lyrics.  It finished with words that went
something like "remember the words to 'Masquerade'", complete with
actions (although one guy pretended to goof up!!), and a strong emphasis
on the word "masquerade"'s last syllable!! :-D
Come Down From the Tree -- a very touching song about a child, sung by
Steven Sutcliffe (from Ragtime).
Waiting for Life -- powerfully sung by Sarah E. Litzsinger (from Joseph
and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat).
Entering Marion -- a really funny song, performed by Kevin McGuire (from
Phantom), about a man travelling in a U.S. state (I can't remember the
name), and entering towns and villages bearing women's names!!  There
was a very strong sexual tone here.  Halfway through the song, the man
gets upset when he starts to enter towns bearing men's names, then
becomes really happy when he's able to enter Marion again!!
Bein' Green -- enter Janet Martin (from Phantom), sitting on a bench,
wearing a beautiful strapless green ball gown.  After finishing this
beautiful song, she mentioned how honoured she was to have been asked to
help Sandra plan this affair, then talked about how she first heard
Kermit the Frog singing the song when she was 5 years old.  She
mentioned that she realized just how this particular song was about
courage, and how it's OK to be different.  On that note, she introduced
the second speaker: Shari Margolese Fecht.
Shari is Sandra Margolese's sister.  Shari and her 4-year-old son Quinn
are HIV+, and her husband Martin has full-blown AIDS.  Shari shared an
EXTREMELY heartfelt and moving story of what life is like for people
living with this condition.  She discussed what options are currently
available, and what it's like living with the side effects of the
anti-AIDS medication that the family is currently taking, and also
discussed the support and caring that she's received.  She also
emphasized the need to keep fighting, and thanked the audience members
and everybody else for their support.  Needless to say, she earned a
VERY WELL-DESERVED standing ovation, and brought a few tears to the
Next followed a trio of songs from The Secret Garden.  Enter Laird
Mackintosh, wearing his gorgeous Raoul tuxedo, performing a beautiful
rendition of "Where in the World."  He was then joined by Sandra
Margolese, wearing a gorgeous white ball gown.  They performed "How
Could I Ever Know??"  They remained sitting on a bench afterwards, and
watched as Jill Diane Filion and Robert Reid Atkinson (both from
Ragtime) performed the lovely "Come To My Garden/Lift Me Up."
Now comes the crowning glory, and what a crowning glory it was!!  Gary
Krawford began by talking about a man who was the Phantom as of the
first preview of the show, on September 12th, 1989, and continued on for
another 4 1/2 years.  Enough said!!  That alone garnered Colm a standing
ovation, and some rather enthusiastic cheers from a few select people!!
A surprise was added into the programme, and WHAT a surprise it was!!
Now, if you've ever tried to picture Chuck Berry singing a rock 'n' roll
version of "Music of the Night", then you've just pictured Colm, because
THAT is EXACTLY how he performed that song!!  Yes -- and he was
swivelling his hips, hopping up and down, and everything!!  I was
rolling around so much in my seat, that I nearly fell out of it!!  He
finished the rendition by stating, "I'm glad Andrew Lloyd Webber isn't
here.  I'd never work again!!"
The next song he performed was "Father and Son", with Aaron.  This time
they did the song with orchestral backup.  I just loved the way Colm
looked at Aaron when singing this song.  It was quite obvious that he
really enjoyed doing it, and was really proud of Aaron.  It moved me to
The final song he performed was one that needed no introduction.  As
soon as he mentioned the composers' names, the audience burst into
rousing applause!!  Of course, the song was "Bring Him Home", performed
with Colm's usual brilliance and power.  Y'know the "wave" at baseball
games??  Well, that's how the audience stood up after this rendition!!
Laird remarked on the phone to me earlier on today, that he'd never
heard Colm sing that song live before, and that it's definitely HIS
song!!  He told me that he's a great admirer of Colm's, and that he's
known him for about 3 1/2 years.  He also told me a little story.  When
Laird did his first performance as Raoul years ago, Colm pushed him out
for another bow after taking his own bows!!  Laird told me that Colm has
always been a great source of personal encouragement to him.  Enough
said!! :-D
I can now interject another bit of humour, here.  After Colm finished
performing the song, he was confused as to what direction to exit the
stage.  "Do I go this way, or that way??" he asked someone backstage. He
then grinned sheepishly at the audience as he left!! :-D
Next to appear was our current Phantom, Ethan Freeman, performing his
own song, which was a very touching rendition entitled "Mighty Small."
Again, I was crying!!   The only glitch came when he accidentally bumped
into the bench on his way off stage.  Oh, well!! :-D
The finale was a song entitled "With a Voice of Hope", which was written
by Tim Stiff.  Almost all of the above-mentioned actors took part,
except for Colm and Aaron, as well as Steve Blanchard.  It was really
exciting!!  The audience rose to its feet, and Sandra burst into tears,
as her nephew Quinn presented her with a lovely bouquet of flowers!!
All I can now say is:  wow, what an evening!! :-D