LCCVI student impressed by Henderson show
I’ve never been a huge fan of live theatre or musical productions, which is why I was skeptical when my writer’s craft class from LCCVI was offered free tickets by Victoria Playhouse Petrolia to see Florence Henderson's show: All the Lives of Me – A Musical Journey.
I wasn’t even sure who Florence Henderson was. Of course, when I asked, I was told “She was the mom on the Brady Bunch.” Even then, the only thing that came to my mind was the shrill catchphrase “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!”
My skepticism was proven foolish once the show started. Henderson started her performance with a video montage of her life as a performer. The video showcased her various roles on Broadway, TV programs (including the Brady Bunch) and commercials. The video rolled for several minutes, as Henderson’s large resume unfolded and she took us through a journey of her remarkable 79 years of life through the use of beautiful song and compelling speech.
The stage was simple yet elegant, with sheer drapery hung royally from the top of the stage. Henderson had a magnificent grand piano, and a two simple flower vases that made up the entire stage. Alongside her, the cast consisted of her musical director and pianist, Glen Roven, as well as two talented backup singers and two instrumental players.
With Henderson’s enchanting singing voice was her impeccable sense of humour. There were many uproars of laughter from the crowd through the afternoon as she made witty, and sometimes explicit comments that tickled everyone’s funny bone. Perhaps the most touching experience of the performance was when Henderson spoke to the crowd about growing up in poverty.
She said she would sing at the local grocery store at four years old to try and collect money and groceries for her family. As she explained this part of her life, she sang the song “You Are My Sunshine” and walked through the crowd with a hat and asked people to donate money, like she would as a child. People unknowingly filled the hat with money and at the conclusion of the song, Henderson explained the money would go to a Canadian charity and she would match whatever was donated. It was very humbling to think that at each of her performances, Henderson not only raises a significant amount of money for charity, but also donates a substantial amount herself.
If you have yet to see Henderson's show, which is being presented at Victoria Playhouse until Oct. 20, I suggest you make your way to the Playhouse before you miss seeing such an influential icon in your own backyard.