Month: February 2015

#throwbackthursday March 23rd, 1991, The Toronto Star

“Esprit arouses the senses on its first CD” by William Littler


(Photo by Andrew Stawicki/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Alex Pauk featured in a sound booth during the editing of Esprit’s first CD (on the CBC Records label).

Click article below to enlarge


The Great Lipsyncher

The night after the worldʼs turning, Espritʼs third concert of our 2014/2015 season, Alex and I went to see Rick Miller in BOOM at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. We were dazzled by Rickʼs unbelievable talent. BOOM is a one man show written, directed and performed by Rick. It is a multi-media race through events that defined the baby boomer generation from the end of WWII to Apollo 11 and many significant milestones in between.

We were completely engaged by the historical film footage and still photos as Rick simultaneously took on the voices and personae of the people in the video clips. Rick is so skilled at mimicking the voices of Betty Davis, John F. Kennedy, Edward R. Murrow, Lyndon B. Johnston (“100 voices in 100 minutes”) in such quick succession, it could make your head spin!

He was also totally brilliant as a musical performer. Whether it was stomping out the blues on a harmonica, strumming convincingly on electric guitar, mimicking the voices of Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Joni Mitchell or Little Richard he stunned us with the breakneck speed of his lightning fast changes. Convincingly hilarious!

I came to know Rick several years ago when my collaborators director Larry Weinstein, writer Dan Redican and I were working on our made-for-TV film project Brian Mulroney: The Opera. It was based on the successful template of our Burnt Toast television operas. All the roles were sung by some of our most expressive character opera singers but for the most part, the onscreen roles were lipsynched by comedian/ actors Stephanie Mills (Mila Mulroney), Colin Mocherie (Jean Chretien), Sean Cullen (Robert Coates). Hereʼs a link (this is one of several Burnt Toast operas).

When it came to casting the most crucial role, Brian Mulroney, we were stumped. As we were mixing the singers and the orchestral music (performed by Alex Pauk and Esprit Orchestra) Larry brought in a video sent to us by Rick Miller who, in a hotel room while on tour, had fashioned (on spec) a lipsynched performance of some of the rough mixes of the music. All three of us were stunned. Rick was amazing. We had found our Brian!

If you missed Mulroney: The Opera in its limited release in theatres nationwide, I am enclosing some very humourous trailers for the film starring Rick. First up, an additional trailer from the film. Second, you’ll see Rick being transformed into Brian in a very funny one minute time-lapsed transformation which actually took about three hours (every morning!).

— Alexina Louie, O.C.