Taste of Broadway coming to Whidbey

Lifelong Broadway musical fans are getting a chance to bring some of that magic to the South Whidbey stage.

Pianist Eileen Soskin joins vocalist couple Darren McCoy and Heather Good McCoy for two upcoming musical performances beginning at 7 p.m. on June 23 and 24 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island, which is located at 20103 Highway 525 in Freeland. Ken Merrell serves as director and narrator of the evenings, which are titled “Stages: A Musical Revue” and feature songs by George Gershwin, Michel LeGrand, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter, among others.

The husband and wife vocalists will lead the audience through the stages of life and love, as told through the music of the Golden Age of Broadway. The couple are Oak Harbor residents and active participants of the Whidbey Playhouse.

“They brought me to tears with one number on Saturday,” said Soskin, a Freeland resident who also serves as the music director for the two shows.

Merrell, also a Freeland resident, will introduce each stage and set the scene.

Soskin said the shows are several months in the making, and feature 20 songs. She has always had a love for the theater.

“I grew up in Manhattan,” she said. “My first musical was when I was 5 years old.”

Good McCoy found herself bitten by the theater bug after performing in her first community theater show, “Annie,” at the age of 11.

She studied some theater courses in college and later met her husband, McCoy, at the Whidbey Playhouse.

“We did a show together and romance blossomed, essentially,” she said.

Their first show together was a two-person musical called “The Last Five Years,” which explores the ups and downs of a romantic relationship between two New Yorkers.

In 2018, the couple met Soskin when she saw them perform in another two-person show together, “Daddy Long Legs.” The musical is about an orphan and a wealthy patron who fall in love.

At their shows next week, Good McCoy said each song they sing together is bound to touch each person a little differently.

“I think when you have a musical revue about love, you have the ups, the downs, the comic relief, the sad parts,” she said. “I think this revue supports a lot of that.”

A choir teacher at Oak Harbor High School, McCoy has been trained in classical music and didn’t come to discover musical theater and acting until later in life, at the Whidbey Playhouse.

“Switching to Broadway is very different,” he said. “It’s like going from Shakespeare to Maya Angelou. Both are great, but very different.”

He and his wife are performing songs next week from many shows he had never seen before, which required some research on his part.

“Eileen is a great vocal coach,” he said. “She’s playing, she’s got a background in music … she knows what she’s talking about.”

Soskin described the two vocalists as “very gifted musicians, very beautiful performers.”

“It’s a privilege to work with them,” she said.

For the shows next week at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island, there is a suggested donation of $25 at the door, or whatever the attendee can afford.