Last night I had the good fortune of attending the closing night performance of Acting Up Stage’s annual Uncovered show. This year, an impressive assembly of Canadian talent performed selections from the musical libraries of David Bowie and Queen, and included a pair of actors who basically channelled the ghosts of Bowie and Freddie Mercury as they tackled a variety of quotes from over the course of each legend’s career. The whole evening turned into a somewhat intimate affair, as our Bowie and Mercury held a dialogue on stage in between the amazing musical numbers throughout.
My more-or-less-friend-now, the lovely and obscenely talented Melissa O’Neil, had given me a heads up some time ago that she would be a part of this show, and I marked it on my calendar right away, as I fully intend to just support her and her career whenever possible. I looked up the show online and thought it looked pretty cool, but still really had no idea what to expect. Even figuring out that another insanely talented friend, Gabe Grey, would be playing Freddie, didn’t change how much of a happy surprise the evening ended up being!
It made me sad that I’ve missed the other 9 years of this Uncovered show, but determined that this won’t have been my last, especially not when the amazing Reza Jacobs is overseeing things. So much fun, guys!
I stopped watching Gabe pretty early on, because he was so good that, in my mind, he pretty much morphed into Freddie Mercury. For those few hours, my friend wasn’t on stage at all. He had transcended himself. And Maev Beaty, the woman playing Bowie? Holy Hannah! Applause greeted her first words, but from that moment on, she was David Bowie. She had every mannerism and movement down to the point where it just seemed natural. She was he.
Watching Melissa O’Neil sing – especially when she is obviously really enjoying herself – is an absolute joy. I woke up with her version of Let’s Dance in my head this morning, and every time I think about seeing her last night, a giant stupid grin appears on my face. I think that’s how I looked the whole time she was on stage, actually, so it’s a good thing it was dark in there. I realized after that it was also the first time I’d gotten to see her perform live. I’ll need to make sure it’s not the last time for that, either, ’cause damn. I adore that woman to no end, and this show just cemented that feeling all the more.
I loved every single performer last night, and there were several I hadn’t known of prior to taking my seat and pouring over the programme. I can’t count the number of times I was given goosebumps throughout the night, or driven into bouts of gleeful cheers and applause. I was crushing on all the ladies of the stage, including the wicked talented woman rocking the violin. But it was one incredibly talented performer who pulled tears from my eyes not once but twice, just due to how stunningly beautiful her renditions were. Divine Brown rocked my world and broke my heart and put it back together again. She’s seriously, like, not of this earth, guys. Just whoa.
She turned me into Wes Bentley watching a plastic bag floating on the breeze in American Beauty. So, so beautiful.
So go check out Acting Up Stage Company’s website here. They do amazing work in the world of musical theatre, and have an impressive line-up of content coming all year long!