Winnipeg’s premier daytime and concert lecture series, Music N’ Mavens, might be better titled “Musicals” N’ Mavens ahead of their next performance.  



Winnipeg-based performer, director and choreographer Jillian Willems turns the spotlight on remarkable women in musical theatre. From the Golden Age of Rodgers and Hammerstein right through to the present day, Willems – alongside pianist Paul De Gurse – will perform a variety of selections while also informing and educating the audience about the history of the genre.  

First approached by producer Karla Berbrayer in the summer, this concert is an extension of a program that Willems developed for the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre.  

“As a woman in musical theatre myself, I felt it was a great jumping off point to start looking at the performers that we associate these roles with,” explains Willems. “I started looking up any woman on Broadway who had made their mark – and the list is growing.”  

Names like Barbra Streisand, Patti Lupone, Julie Andrews, Idina Menzel, and Kelli O'Hara. 

Willems notes that making the mark that they already have is an achievement in and of itself, given the dearth of opportunity. 

In spite of their typically being fewer men in the performing arts, there are actually more roles for them, explains Willems.  

“A lot of times, (women) get that one shot to be the star and then you have to hope and pray for ensembles,” says Willems. “So there really aren’t a lot of opportunities to sing this music.” 

Jillian Willems performs with pianist Paul De Gurse Thursday, February 9 at the Rady JCC (123 Doncaster Ave.) The concert begins at 2 p.m. 

Visit: or call 204-477-7534 to purchase tickets.