Rachel DeShon thinks that after living for two years in a pandemic, a theatre audience might want to hear some positive, inspiring songs.
The Nelson singer’s new show, Look for the Silver Lining, coming up at the Capitol Theatre on Feb. 10 and then streaming online, has no sad songs in it. No tragedy, no heartbreak.
She has drawn most of the music from what is known as the great American songbook — show tunes, musical theatre, songs from the big band era — but only songs with a positive spin such as Pick Yourself Up and The Best Is Yet To Come.
“People are searching for light at the end of the tunnel,” DeShon says. “Everyone is fatigued and has been touched by the pandemic. I wanted to create an evening full of optimism and a sense of joy and hope, even if it was only for the short duration of a concert.”
She will be accompanied on stage by the Calgary pianist Konrad Pluta.
DeShon has lived in Nelson since 2017, and is perhaps best known here for her lead role in Mamma Mia! at the Capitol Theatre in 2019.
Before moving to Canada she had a busy career in the U.S. as a singer who can easily cross over between opera, musical theatre and jazz. She often performed in concerts conducted by Marvin Hamlisch.
She also worked in a circus, Teatro ZinZanni, “singing opera while rollerskating or flying on a trapeze.”
DeShon’s choice of songs for Look for the Silver Lining came after several years in which she found herself in the presence of relatives and friends who were very ill or at the end of their lives, including one of her professional mentors, the pianist and composer Norman Durkee.
“I saw how incredibly therapeutic and important music is in the recovery and healing process,” she says.
She developed a show specifically to be performed in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and other nontraditional venues. Because those audiences were older, so was the repertoire.
“So, standard show tunes, that sort of thing, was what resonated,” she says.
DeShon recalls an incident in which she sang for a woman in an ICU.
“She wasn’t responding, and her daughter finally asked her if she wanted me to sing to comfort her and she nodded yes. I sang for over an hour and she slowly woke up. She began to move her hands and open her eyes. It was such a beautiful moment and one of the most rewarding experiences.”
DeShon emphasizes, however, that Look for the Silver Lining is not aimed specifically at older people or those at the end of lives. It’s for everyone.
“The show (is about how) we’ve all had challenges or we have been in hard places, but I don’t speak about the things that led me to create it. It’s for anyone who just wants an uplifting, hour long, optimistic, great evening of music.”
For the live performance at the Capitol Theatre on Feb. 10, tickets are $20, and $15 for students. Proof of a second vaccination dose is required. Tickets can be purchased at the Capitol Theatre box office or online at www. capitoltheatre.ca.
The show will be streamed online starting on Feb. 16 at noon for one week. Tickets are $12, or $22 for two, or $30 for three or more viewers. To purchase tickets for the online performance go to https://capitoltheatre.ca/event/look-for-the-silver-lining-stream-ticket/.