Energetic Live Entertainment That Is Right On Target

SKYLIFE MAGAZINE: The Deerhurst stage show production is Canada’s longest running musical variety show. What can attendees expect from this new version of the show?

KASEY STEPHAN: It’s a whirlwind spree from Funk to Jazz, Country to Blues, Reggae to Classic Rock and tons more. You’ll get to drop in on an East Coast kitchen party jam, experience the magic of awe-inspiring songwriters and have fun with some of pop’s trendiest hits too.
And keeping with tradition, we’ll close the show paying tribute to a musical heavy weight. This year’s is my all-time favourite, I feel like a kid in a candy store dancing to his music. Here’s a hint: This superstar had so many hits in his 50 year career, it was hard to pick just a few. Any guesses?

SM: Tell me about the cast of HIT L!ST. How long have they been together and are there any new changes?

KS: We are so fortunate to have cast members who have been entertaining our crowds for up to three decades, as well as several brand new faces this year.
Audiences will be thrilled to see returning show stoppers Serge Charlebois, Leaynne Connolly and Monica Nowak on vocals, and our multi-talented band members Glenn Bladon and Will Main on vocals, guitar, and bass. We’re excited to welcome newcomer Daniel Neill on vocals and drums, dancer Aislinn Wishart and I’m thrilled to be back on the Deerhurst stage as a dancer to round out the cast. All the light and sound wizardry is orchestrated by our Technical Director John Nobile, who has been at the helm for over 30 years.

SM: What led to changing the show name from Decades to HIT L!ST? And why did you pick that name?

KS: The creative team felt it was time to stretch their wings from the decades format, so we could tap into songs that really resonate with us and our audiences rather than fitting into a chronological formula. So each cast member took aim at their absolute favourites to pack the new, tighter 75 minute format with only the crème de la crème hits they love.
Some songs were chosen because they inspired a cast member’s career – like Serge’s love of swing which has surprising influences on current hits like “All About that Bass.” Other songs were chosen because they are what inspire us now, or showcase a genre we love, or represent a life-long fan worship of a specific artist, as is the case with Leaynne’s Tina Turner, which always gets an incredible reaction from audiences.
So this show is not just a list of hits, but our Hit List of songs that we are especially thrilled to bring to the Deerhurst stage and just kill it, so to speak!

SM: Deerhurst is the only resort in Canada with its own onsite entertainment department which makes the resort unique. How does it feel to be a part of such history?

KS: It is an honour being a part of the entertainment legacy here. Former cast members come to see the current shows and you can feel the camaraderie, it’s like a special club we belong to. As well as a sense of responsibility, we understand there’s a reputation to uphold after over thirty years of fantastic shows and unforgettable performers.
Another remarkable aspect is the ability to update and cater our entertainment to our guests and cast talents. Being an in-house production team, we can field requests from group clients to create unique, customized experiences. We can be hired as a Top 40 band for dances, or as duos or trios for cocktail parties or weddings, acoustic beach side entertainment or dance classes. If you can dream it up, we will create it!
We also have the flexibility to alter and update our content to showcase specific talents, and that doesn’t happen with book shows that you would see in an urban theatre district.

SM: I’m sure it’s a thrill to be performing at the same place that Shania Twain got her first big break. Apart from that, what are some other exciting experiences that the cast has shared?

KS: We have had quite a few amazing Shania moments. A handful of cast members were actors in her bio-pic, Shania: A Life in Eight Albums, which was filmed in part right here at Deerhurst.
Last year Monica was singing one of Shania’s classics and Shania snuck in to watch the show. Shania has been a huge influence on Monica’s singing and career path and it was a real treat (and nerve wracking) to sing in front of one of her idols, and singing her own song at that!
On one of Shania’s recent visits, she jumped in on a song and sang back-up vocals to our other female lead vocalist, Leaynne Connolly. What an unforgettable night that was!
Honestly, every night has the potential for an exciting experience, I think that is the gift of live shows, you never know what is going to happen! That’s the adrenalin junkie part about our job!