The production of It Had to Be You has been a fantastic learning experience for Michael Vanhevel.
The crooner from Grand Bend has been honing his craft in bars and one-man shows and spent the last two summers working in theaters in Ontario with Victoria Playhouse Petrolia’s David Hogan and David Rogers.
So when D2 Entertainment approached him with the idea of a show at VPP, Vanhevel jumped at the chance.
Vanhevel has been the headliner before. He sold out the Imperial Theater in Sarnia with a show he produced.
And while it went well, Vanhevel admits working with “the Davids” has helped him grow as a performer.
“I didn’t have a whole lot of an artistic vision at that point,” says Vanhevel of the Imperial Show.
“They’re brilliant,” says Vanhevel of Hogan and Rogers. “They’re so smart business wise and also artistically they are very smart. It is great to be able to bounce ideas off them.”
“I gave them a set list of about 300 songs,” he laughs “from there we narrowed it down and then we sat down together to make it a show.”
“I knew how to put on a performance but not at the level these guys do it,” says Vanhevel. “I’ve been a sponge during the process to learn from them.”
Vanhevel says likes the way the show has come together.
“There is a lot of swing, jazz and blues, anything that fits that crooner definition. A lot of Frank (Sinatra), Dean Martin, Bobby Darin…Anybody who enjoys the Rat Pack and that era of music from the 40s to 60s will enjoy the show or people who enjoy the Michael Buble’s and Matt Dusks of today.”
And Vanhevel says he had another unique opportunity to learn about the singers he loves. He was part of the technical crew which produced Florence Henderson’s show at the VPP. Henderson worked with many of the crooning greats in her career and Vanhevel says it was amazing to be able to hear first-hand stories about them. “I just love Florence,” he says.
It Had to be You with special guest Mark Cassius, Brian Bellath and Callandra Dendias-Peterark, is on stage Saturday afternoon at the VPP.