DONAVON LENABAT as Sam, The Piano Man
Hailing from the frozen wasteland of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Donavon spent his formative years in not-so-quiet study at the piano. Initially, it was classical music lessons through the Royal Conservatory, eventually discovering a love for ragtime and Stride-style piano as well and pop music and singing.
Donavon moved to Toronto IN THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND to pursue an education in music at Humber College. There, he met the people who would shape his appreciation of many different styles of music, inspiring him to learn anything from pop to jazz to funk to soul to r&b to progressive metal to Latin to blues…
After attaining a Bachelor Degree in Jazz music studies (what’s that good for, anyway?), Donavon up traveled the world working on various cruise lines. He started initially as a side man in a pit orchestra on several ships on Carnival and Princess cruise lines, and eventually became a guest entertainer and featured entertainment on Regent cruise lines.
2006 saw Donavon get married to his college sweetheart, and he decided it would be best to stick around town and enjoy the benefits of married life. (He was also no longer allowed to disappear for months at a time.) As a result, he hung around Toronto, crashing open mic nights and getting immersed in the local music scene.
Several years passed with Donavon finding work as a side man in various bands, with which he played literally hundreds of weddings and other celebrations. He also enjoyed a stint covering the Keys 2 chair for the Dancap production of Jersey Boys, playing the show nearly a hundred times over the course of two years. Since then, he’s played in the pits of Book of Mormon and Grease, as well as Music Directing a number of independent music theatre projects, some with Toronto Fringe and NextStage Theatre festivals.
Donavon is currently very active on the Toronto scene, accompanying singers at his Thursday Open Mic Night at Scallywags, directing his own Pop-Rock choir (Alt Vox) on Tuesdays, entertaining at various private parties as a soloist, member of a duo, or Dueling Pianos ensemble, being a side man in various professional bands throughout the city, music-directing community theatre projects, etc., etc…
In 2012, Donavon was offered a teaching gig at Randolph Academy (now Randolph College) where he worked with - and was inspired by - many aspiring young artists for 6 years. As a result, he developed a deeper appreciation for all things Musical Theatre, specifically Tap dance.
In December of 2015, Donavon’s thoughtful wife asked him what he wanted for Christmas. He responded: “tap dance lessons”. After her laughter subsided, she asked: “but seriously: what do you want?”
Since then, Donavon has been attending weekly tap classes but more importantly getting lessons in humility as he tries to reconcile his rhythmically gifted upper body with the flailing appendages below the belt. Who knew sitting at the piano for the better part of 30 years is not conducive to dancing?
It was in these classes he met up with Amy Lintunen, who approached him with the idea of performing tap to live music. This led to the addition of Donavon to The Laundry List, now in its second iteration, which he is incredibly proud to Music-Direct.