Monthly Archives: November 2010

Baby It’s Cold Outside; Awkward Stage Fundraiser

Fledgling youth theatre company Awkward Stage Productions is holding a two-night musical fundraiser this December.  Baby Its’s Cold Outside will feature local youth musical theatre talent as well as cast members from the Pick of the Fringe hit 13.

Awkward Stage presents Baby It’s Cold Outside December 8 – 9, 2010 at CBC Studio 700, 700 Hamilton St, Vancouver. Tickets are available by calling 604-809-9260.

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Seussical the Musical; Carousel Theatre (Upcoming show)

Carousel Theatre’s successful production of Seussical the Musical returns for a third run this holiday season.  This musical reimagining of different classic Dr. Seuss tales is great for musical lovers of all ages.

Music by Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime), lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime), book by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.  Co-conceived by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Eric Idle.  Based on the works of Dr. Seuss.

Directed by Carole Higgins, musical direction by Steven Greenfield, choreography by Melissa Young, set design by Alison Green, costume design by Barbara Clayden and lighting design by Itai Erdal.

Featuring Greg Armstrong-Morris, Joel Bernabum, Darren Burkett, Kaylee Hardwood, Josue Laboucane, Taylor Lintott, Jennifer Neumann, Melissa Oei, Christine Quintana, Rebecca Talbot and Lucas Testini.

Carousel Theatre presents Seussical the Musical from December 4, 2010 – January 1, 2011 at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island. Tickets are available online.

Forbidden Broadway; Fighting Chance (Upcoming show)

Forbidden Broadway, the popular musical-theatre parody, returns to Metro Vancouver this week.  For one week only, Fighting Chance Productions presents a best of version of Forbidden Broadway to Langley audiences, poking good-natured fun at shows like Wicked, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, and The Phantom of the Opera.


Forbidden Broadway is directed by Ryan Mooney, with musical direction by Sarah Jaysmith, and starring Natalee Fera, Aaron Lau, David Nicks, Georgia Valeria Swinton and Cathy Wilmot.

Fighting Chance Productions presents Forbidden Broadway from November 30 – December 5, 2010 at the Langley Playhouse, 4307 200 St, Langley.  Ticket are available by e-mailing fightingchanceproductions@gmail.com or by calling 604-807-9268.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical; Arts Club (Upcoming show)

It’s hard to believe but it’s that time of year again and the Arts Club is ready to get you in the seasonal spirit with its remounting of last year’s box office success   White Christmas.

Sara-Jeanne Hosie and Monique Lund in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical. Photo by David Cooper.

Based on the 1954 musical film starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen, the stage version debuted in 2004 with a book by David Ives and Paul Blake and music by Irving Berlin.

Directed by Bill Millerd, musical direction by Bruce Kellett and choreography by Valerie Easton. Starring Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Monique Lund, Todd Talbot, Jeffrey Victor, Susan Anderson, Allan Gray, and Mark Weatherley and featuring Robert Allan, Scott Augustine, Adam Charles, Brennan Cuff, Anna Kuman, Jeremy Lowe, Kristie Marsden, Marianne McCord, Laura McNaught, Keri Minty, Shane Snow, Fiona Vroom, Rachael Withers.

Arts Club Theatre Company presents Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical from December 4, 2010 – January 2, 2011 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville St.  Tickets are available online or by phone at 604-687-1644.

Good News; APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert (Upcoming show)

APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert kicks off its 2010-11 season with a concert staging of the 1927 musical Good NewsGood News was one of the biggest shows of the ‘20s and includes such songs as “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “The Varsity Drag,” “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries” and “You’re the Cream in My Coffee.”

APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert stages concert versions of rare, shelved or forgotten musicals that are are rarely mounted by most companies.  Also in the coming season are Mame, Unsinkable Molly Brown and Little Me.

Book by Lawrence Schwab and B.G. DeSylva, lyrics by B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown, and music by Ray Henderson. Directed by Cathy Wilmot, with music direction by Caitlin Hayes.

APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert presents Good News from November 25 – 27 at Studio 700, CBC, 700 Hamilton, Vancouver.  Tickets are available online or by phone at 1-800-838-3006.

The Sound of Music; Footlight Theatre (Review)

For a show about the rise of Nazism and the pre-World War II German annexation and occupation of Austria, the characters in The Sound of Music are oddly almost always in good spirits.  With such an eminently hummable score, it’s not hard to see why.

The cast of Footlight Theatre's The Sound of Music. Photo by Paul H. Wright.

While Footlight’s production of Joseph last year was exceedingly average, director and choreographer Lalainia Lindbjerg Strelau has surpassed expectations with The Sound of Music.  Lindbjerg Strelau has successfully marshaled an extremely large amateur cast into a strong cohesive production of this family classic.  Of course some of that credit must go to Rodgers and Hammerstein for crafting such a feel-good show.

Bree Greig’s voice is nearly flawless and she has the youthful and earnest young governess routine down pat.  Greig is a very likable Maria and will likely become an even more familiar face to local audiences in short order.

Steve Maddock is commanding and stern, as Captain von Trapp ought to be, though the role itself is somewhat of a bore and leaves him little room to maneuver.  On the few occasions where Maddock is allowed to sing, it left me wishing for more.

Chris Sinosich’s costuming was full of detail as usual and her job couldn’t have been easy given the large cast.

That’s not to say that the show was perfect. There were several issues that stood out. The show is fairly long (on the short side of three hours) and the many scene changes took far too long to complete and constantly interrupted the flow of the onstage action.

There also should have been more of a buildup to the Nazi threat.  The actors on stage never seem to be overly concerned with the looming Nazi occupation and so the dramatic unfurling of swastikas over the audience in the Salzburg festival scene is too much, too quickly.

The lighting problems were very noticeable and by no fault of the musicians themselves, the miking of the small orchestra gave it an overly canned feel.  Some of the music played during the monotonous scene changes ended up sounding like tinny Muzak.

But in the grand scheme of things, these seem like small quibbles;  Footlight’s The Sound of Music is a bona fide home-grown success.

The Sound of Music, presented by Footlight Theatre Company, runs until November 20, 2010, at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, 7373 MacPherson Ave, Burnaby. Tickets are available online or by phone at 604-684-2787.

What About LUV?; Down Stage Right (Review)

After a steady diet of familiar musical-theatre staples, it’s a welcome change of pace to see some lesser-known shows make their way on to the Vancouver stage.  What About LUV?, presented by Down Stage Right Productions, more than fits the bill.  The show reunites director Mark Carter , actors Scott Walters and Meghan Gardiner and much of the behind-the-scenes team from last year’s DSR production of Evil Dead: The Musical.

Neil Minor, Meghan Gardiner and Scott Walters in Down Stage Right's What About LUV?

Actors Neil Minor, Walters and Gardiner do a bang-up job in this musical adaptation of the successful Tony-winning 1964 Broadway play LUV.  The trio play neurotic and whiny New Yorkers who at various points informally vie to see which among them is the most miserable.

All of the action is set on a New York City bridge and begins when Milt (Minor) stops Harry (Walters) from killing himself after a serendipitous reunion.  The two former classmates end up tangled in a convoluted love triangle with Milt’s wife (Gardiner).  Gardiner really shines as the uptight Ellen.

What About LUV?, at times, is smart and bitingly funny.  The actors take turns being paired off in a series of musical duets and straight acting scenes, and each takes their fair share of the spotlight to showcase their respective talents.

Much of the comedy is silly in the vein of Jerry Lewis and Walters takes to it like a neurotic fish to water.  Walters’ facial contortions and his scenes with his brown paper bag alone are worth the price of admission.

The first act started a bit slow and it took a while to warm to the show’s concept.  The second act, which picks up one year after the first, is much stronger.

Choreographer Ken Overbey has filled the show with a series of inspired little moments that left the audience smiling.  John Bessette’s set is simple but effective.

Kudos to light designer Darren Hales for his artful use of lighting.  I’ve said before that I usually only notice lighting when it’s done wrong, but here I took notice several times because it was done so well.

The beauty of What About LUV? is in its simplicity. All of its elements come together into a neatly-wrapped quirky gem of a show.  This is definitely a must-see.

What About LUV?, presented by Down Stage Right Productions, runs until November 13 at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island.  Tickets are available online or at the door.