Crooner serves up ‘something different’ in Barrie

Photo by Stan Howe

Colin Sherif Ghannam, from left, Jennifer vanGennip, Andrew Nikkanen and Nick Howell perform at the Mady March 25.

Barrie Advance

Andrew Nikkanen was just looking for a small part, but ended up with an entire show.

Nikkanen will perform March 25 at the Mady Centre as part of Talk is Free Theatre’s artsLocal program.

“I called Arkady (Spivak, TIFT’s artistic producer) just to see about auditioning for one of their shows,” the vocalist said. “But he turns around and offers me the artsLocal show. I couldn’t believe it.”

Nikkanen set to work by calling up three talented friends; Nick Howell, Jennifer vanGennip and Colin Sherif Ghannam.

“I met Colin and Nick at a Crohn’s disease fundraiser in the summer and knew Jennifer from before that,” Nikkanen said. “We’ve jelled really well together. There was an instant connection.”

The quartet came up with a show featuring legendary numbers of yester-year and contemporary hits of today.

“It’s a celebration of music styles. It’s not specifically musical theatre,” Nikkanen said.

“There’s some Top-10 music in there and there’s a Frank Sinatra medley and a Broadway medley.”

Spivak said TIFT’s artsLocal offers emerging artists showcasing and professional mentorship opportunities.

“The series is letting young artists take theatre in a different direction,” he said. “It’s interesting to see what younger actors and singers are doing.”

He said Nikkanen was the perfect person for the series.

“Andrew is a crooner, which isn’t what’s most popular right now,” Spivak said. “But, he’s a young up-and-comer and an amazing vocalist. He’s doing something different from what’s out there right now.”

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