What happens when you bring together some of Montreal’s most talented, intrepid women? "Magic," says Amanda Mabro, pop songstress and founder of the WAWA Show, an annual celebration of women’s talents and creativity (the name is an acronym for We Are Women Artists and a tribute to Gilda Radner’s SNL character Baba Wawa). This year’s event is the fifth instalment and promises to be bigger and bolder than ever.
"The show has a vaudeville spirit," says Mabro. "I’ve thought about the lineup and how to order the performers so that the audience is taken on a journey. Just like the old vaudeville shows, the effect is fun and inclusive, with a family vibe." Even if the program includes a burlesque dancer or two and a stripping contortionist!
The Feb. 13 show at Centre St-Ambroise (5080-A St-Ambroise), 8 p.m., is an evening of comedy with Deanne Smith, Eman, Jess Solomon, Queen: The Improv Troupe and Dirty Little Spoons, while the Feb. 14 show’s eclectic roster features breakdancer JoDee Allen, musician Elsiane, contortionist Andreanne "Mimi" Leclerc, Miss Sugarpuss and many more, at La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent Blvd.), Feb. 14, 8 p.m.
Entertainment isn’t the only purpose of the show: "I’ve invited these women with the intention to build community, create a support system and develop careers," says Mabro, whose musical career has paralleled the show’s evolution. "Previous WAWA Shows have had a positive impact on women artists’ careers, and many of the performers are repeat offenders. This year’s lineup features a mix of established and emerging artists, covering a wide range of styles; it really unites people from different fields with their own networks and followings and creates dialogue between artists."