The Moose That Roared

The Moose That Roaredwas a musical theatre revue of topical and satirical songs that premiered at The Red Barn Theatre in Ontario in the summer of 1985 as Barnraisers Of 1985. It then transferred to The Dell Theatre in Toronto in the Fall as The Moose That Roared. It was one of the last shows ever at The Dell, which was one of the leading Cabaret Rooms in Toronto at the time. It was also the last Revue I ever wrote, and one of the last Cabarets of that era in Toronto theatre. I actually had it in mind that if the show proved to be successful, that I would write a series of “Moose” shows over the next few years. Sadly – or luckily for Toronto, depending on one’s point of view – there was no clamour from the Toronto Theatre Audiences for more “Mooses”.

The Toronto Cabaret scene was very active throughout the 1970’s and the first half of the 1980’s, featuring small shows in small venues that sometimes ran up to a year or more. The arrival of the big Broadway musicals to Toronto (like Cats) seemed to drain the audiences away from home-grown Cabarets, and Canadian musicals in general.

I wrote all the songs for The Moose That Roared, Marlene Smith produced it (right around the time she was also producing Cats), Joel Greenberg (of today’s Theatre 180) directed it, Bob Ashley was the Musical Director, and it starred Victor A. Young, Paul Brown and Carolyn Scott. Some of the other songs in that show were “Carling And Wayne” – postulating how great it would be for Carling Basset (a famous Canadian tennis player at the time) were to hook up with the Wayne Gretzky (before Janet) – “Rambo” – a satire of the Sylvester Stallone films, with Victor Young in a full body muscle suit – and a particularly successful song (the name of which I can no longer remember) about 2 pandas that had just arrived, to great acclaim, at the Toronto zoo (“I’m Ching-Ching And I’m Chon-Chon And it’s time to get it on-on!”).

Reviews were mixed and it had respectable, if modest, run.

“Prenatal Course” is the one song that is still sung from that show, although that may be because it’s the only one publicly available. I wrote it from experience, as my first daughter had arrived in April of 1985.

“The Prenatal Course” (1985) [As published in Field Of Stars (Volume 1)
(music and lyrics by Jim Betts)
From The Moose That Roared (by Jim Betts)
Piano/Vocal Arrangement by Stephen Woodjetts
Piano Performance by Bob Ashley
Vocal Performance by Charlotte Moore
Click here to listen to an audio preview of “The Prenatal Course”.
Click here to purchase an individual pdf copy of “The Prenatal Course”.

Jim Betts