'Take the Moment' Starring Cynthia Dale

Produced by The Musical Stage Co. and MARQUEE at The Winter Garden Theatre

Dahlia Katz

Joe Szekeres

If ‘The Musical Stage Co’s ‘motto is ‘It’s better with music’, then artist Cynthia Dale deserves a full house and standing ovation for every performance.

Not even the chronic cougher, sniveler and phone ringing in this opening night audience could or would destroy the terrific performance Dale delivered. She remained the utmost professional and did not flinch through these annoying distractions. Audiences, make sure your phones are turned off and put a lozenge in your mouth before the show starts.

Mea culpa for the digression.

Thank you so much, Cynthia, for allowing me to take so many moments during the show to close my eyes and just simply revel in listening to the lyrics and hearing your voice fly to the rafters of The Winter Garden Theatre. You made me laugh, smile and even tear up at one point when you spoke of aging parents because, at one point in our lives, we will all go through what you experienced.

I had the golden opportunity to interview her in 2020 for the Pandemic Profile series I was compiling and was thankful she was gracious and open during our conversation. I’ll include the link to our conversation at the end.

Like all of us, Dale too felt the sadness and emptiness we all did when the world came to a crashing halt. But through listening to her body, her spirit and heart, she knew she would sing again but she didn’t push it. I didn’t get the chance to see ‘Follies’ concert in which she performed last fall, but I had heard the production was aces all around.

I’ll go one step further with ‘Take the Moment’.

Cynthia Dale remains another of Canada’s dearest treasures who didn’t push herself in telling the stories about those ‘tectonic shifts’ that transformed her in her life and career. She didn’t need to do that.

Instead, with her refined and classy presence dressed in an at times shimmering black cocktail dress and black shoes, Dale speaks to us with the same amount of respect she would give to anyone whom she would meet. She was quite open in sharing about growing up with strict Italian parents and being raised in a Catholic home. Sometimes her apropos use of delectable witty humour effectively countered some highly dramatic moments she shared with dignity and candour.

There was one point where she spoke to us about experiencing her first kiss at the age of 14 and then, in good humour, shared how she felt incredibly naïve and awful about it that she felt she had to go to Confession as she began the beautiful life process of understanding her womanhood. And, it was at this point, that I wish all those woke individuals who cannot define what it means to be a woman could hear what Dale has to say.

As far as I’m concerned, Cynthia beautifully expressed what it means to be a woman that no other individual can ever experience, no matter what is said or done.

Thank you for that moment as well, Cynthia.

Director Richard Ouzounian’s utmost admiration and esteem for Ms. Dale and the material were solidly evident throughout the show. Using some of Stephen Sondheim’s songs to underscore Ms. Dale’s stories worked so well that I could feel a big ol’ smile creep across my face especially in the songs ‘Some People’ from ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Something’s Coming’ from ‘West Side Story’.

Let’s just say ‘No One is Alone’ from ‘Into the Woods’ always brings a tear to my eye since the song poignantly references how each of us will one day have to face the world on our own when our loved ones are no longer here. But the message of the song is we are not alone. I felt as if Cynthia was singing the song to me directly as that’s how powerful of a moment it truly became.

Thank you again for that moment, Cynthia.

Arun Srinivasan’s production design was uniquely simple as the focus was to remain on Ms. Dale’s storytelling. David Terriault (Music Supervisor & Arranger) and Benjamin Kersey (Associate Music Director) sit in front of two grand pianos up centre stage. They are dressed in stylish black tuxedos. I love just hearing pianos used to accompany artists and I must credit Messrs. Terriault and Kersey for this choice.

About three-quarters of the way through, Dale’s gratitude for the opportunities in her career lead her into a moment of dance, and this is where I would like to acknowledge Genny Sermonia’s substantial work here as Movement Director. As I watched every move Dale made in this number in time with the music, I couldn’t help but be reminded of ‘The Music and the Mirror’ from ‘A Chorus Line’ where the character Cassie shares her love of dance and what she is meant to be doing.

Final thoughts: A consummate and veritable performing artist, Cynthia Dale remains one of Canada’s greatest treasures. I’m grateful she allowed me to ‘Take the Moment’ with her.

I encourage everyone to see the production to take some moments with her too.

The production runs approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.

The production runs to June 25 at the Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge Street. For tickets visit ticketmaster.ca or call 1-416-314-2901

TAKE THE MOMENT with Selections from the works of Stephen Sondheim
Writer: Cynthia Dale
Director: Richard Ouzounian
Music Supervisor & Arranger: David Terriault/ Associate Music Director: Benjamin Kersey
Sound Designer: Matteo DeSimone
Movement Director: Genny Sermonia
Production Designer: Arun Srinivasan
Stage Manager: Dustyn Wales

Profile of Cynthia Dale: https://www.ourtheatrevoice.com/items/cynthia-dale

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