Monthly Archives: May 2010

NINE; Pipedream (Upcoming show)

From the innovative company that brought A New Brain to Vancouver last year comes the Tony Award-winning musical NINENINE follows the story of Italian film director Guido Contini as he struggles to create his next movie while dealing with the women in his chaotic personal and professional lives.

Brian McBride in Pipedream's NINE. Photo by Kristian Guilfoyle.

Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston (Titanic, Grand Hotel), book by Arthur Kopit. Produced by April Green, directed by Mike Mackenzie (A New Brain, Pipedream), musical direction by Kevin Michael Cripps (Footloose, Exit 22), and choreography by Meagan Ekelund. Starring Brian McBride, Kathy Fitzpatrick (Footloose , Exit 22), Madeleine Suddaby (Footloose, Exit 22), Britt McLeod, Tristin Wayte, and Deborah Allman. Costarring Lizzie Barry, Erin Walker, Christina Wells, Ashley Marie Macdonald, Ashley Bishop, Stephanie Liatopolous, Jennifer Doan, Meagan Ekelund, Lauren Gula, Laura Koberstein, Calvin Campbell, Erika Babins, Javia Selina, Johanna Goosen, Lauren Morrow, Megan Phillips, Michaela Scott, Rebecca Friesen, Shantini Klaassen, and Vanessa Coley-Donohue.

Pipedream Theatre Project presents NINE from June 2 – 6, 2010 at Performance Works Theatre, Granville Island, Vancouver. Tickets are available online.

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Godspell; Pacific Theatre (Upcoming show)

Pacific Theatre ends its season with Godspell. Director Sarah Rodgers has chosen to set her production inside an episode of Laugh-In, in a novel take on the popular musical.

Pacific Theatre presents Godspell.

Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Pippin, Wicked), book by John-Michael Tebelak. Directed by Sarah Rodgers, musical direction by Nelson Boschman, movement coaching by Lauren Bowler, costume design by Carmen Alatorre, set design by Bryan Pollock, and lighting design by Itai Erdal.  Starring Kat Gauthier, Tim Bratton, Kaitlin Williams, Joel Stephanson, Benjamin Miller, and Shalyn McFaul.

Pacific Theatre and Theatre at TWU present Godspell from May 28 – July 3, 2010 at the Pacific Theatre, 12th and Hemlock, Vancouver.  Tickets are available online or by calling 604-731-5518.

The Wedding Singer; Fighting Chance (Review)

Fighting Chance Productions had been on somewhat of a lucky streak with its shows of late (Rent, Matt & Ben), but alas, all good things must come to an end.

Director Ryan Mooney hasn’t managed to replicate the success of some of his previous productions, but most of the blame here lies with the source material.  The songs (music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin), while not terrible, are largely forgettable and uninspired.

Fighting Chance Productions' The Wedding Singer.

The Wedding Singer book is stitched together haphazardly, and never quite comes together as a whole.   Where the movie was carried on the collective star power and charisma of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the stage version has chosen to rely on an endless barrage of 80s references, in the hopes that the audience won’t notice the paper-thin story.

Sandler’s trademark juvenile humour hasn’t translated well to the stage.  Many supporting characters have had their stage time expanded, but remain cringingly one-dimensional.  A grandmother who likes to talk about sex? Check. A wise-cracking gay band member? Check.  Jokes that are stretched on for far too long? Check.

Linda Noble’s portrayal of Robbie’s grandmother Rosie comes off as a badly-drawn caricature.  Noble isn’t old enough to make the naughty senior bit work for her and her delivery didn’t garner much of a reaction from the audience.

The actors made the most of what they were given to work with.  Andrew Halliwell, as wedding singer Robbie Hart, has a serviceable stage presence and rock voice which helped smooth over some of the show’s rougher edges.

On a technical note, the sound quality was spotty throughout the show and microphones cut in and out repeatedly.

Though The Wedding Singer is far from a hit, Fighting Chance deserves credit for taking chances on shows that have not yet been seen in Metro Vancouver.  Local theatre companies seem far too eager to mount the same old shows, year after year.  I’d much rather experience a flawed play, like this one, for the first time than sit through yet another showing of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, no matter how well-produced.

Fighting Chance Productions presents The Wedding Singer until May 22, 2010 at the Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery, Vancouver.  Tickets are available online or by calling 604-224-8007 ext. 3