Tag Archives: Darren Burkett

Hairspray; Arts Club (Upcoming show)

The hit musical-comedy Hairspray dances its way on to the Arts Club stage this May. Based on the cult John Waters movie of the same name starring Ricki Lake, Sonny Bono and Divine, the Tony-winning musical ran for six years on Broadway.

Adam Charles and Jennie Neumann in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Hairspray. Photo by David Cooper.

Music by Marc Shaiman (Catch Me If You Can), lyrics by Scott Wittman (Catch Me If You Can) and Marc Shaiman, and book by Mark O’Donnell (Cry-Baby) and Thomas Meehan (Cry-Baby). Directed by Bill Millerd, musical direction by Ken Cormier, and choreographed by Valerie Easton. Set design by Ted Roberts, costumes by Alison Green, and lighting by Marsha Sibthorpe.

Starring Jay Brazeau (Drowsy Chaperone, Playhouse), Meghan Anderssen (Thoroughly Modern Millie, TUTS), J. Cameron Barnett, Jak Barradell (Altar Boyz, Arts Club), Darren Burkett (Seussical, Carousel), Adam Charles (White Christmas, Arts Club), Starr Domingue, Kayla Dunbar (The Park, Studio 58), Allison Fligg (Footloose, Exit 22), Ian Yuri Gardner, Kimberly Gelera, Alana Hibbert, Anna Kuman (White Christmas, Arts Club), Lelani Marrell, Laurie Murdoch, Jennie Neumann (Seussical, Carousel), Matt Palmer (Annie, Gateway), Milo Shandel, Colin Sheen (Fantasticks, Playhouse), Cailin Stadnyk (Singin’ in the Rain, TUTS), and Robyn Wallis.

Arts Club Theatre Company presents Hairspray from May 12, 2011 – July 10, 2011 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville St.  Tickets are available online or by phone at 604-687-1644.

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Seussical the Musical; Carousel Theatre (Review)

Seussical, the ambitious musical imagining of Dr. Seuss stories, opened on Broadway to great expectations almost exactly a decade ago and all signs pointed to a guaranteed hit.  Composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Ahrens were fresh off of the success of their 1998 Tony-Award-winning Ragtime and the Seussian connection promised to deliver a multitude of new young fans to musical theatre.  Sadly, the show received a spate of negative reviews and was dead within six months.

The cast of Carousel Theatre's Seussical the Musical. Photo by Tim Matheson.

The show has since been rewritten and reworked several times over for touring and community productions.  Plot lines and characters have been moved, changed or scrapped altogether in some cases. The original runtime of two and a half hours has been halved into a streamlined kid-friendly 75 minutes.

Compared to the original glitzy circus-style production, director Carole Higgins’ version of Seussical has been stripped down to the basics. Luckily, all for the better.

It’s a testament to the lasting magic of Dr. Seuss’s literary creations that the barebones approach works so well.  His oeuvre was always about igniting and inspiring young minds, so it seems only fitting that imagination be an integral part of Seussical.

Gone are the high-flying aerobatics and elaborate sets. Barbara Clayden’s costumes stick to a very minimalist approach. The audience is left to imagine everything else. An arm in a grey sleeve effortlessly becomes an elephant’s trunk and the frills of a long pink coat become a bird’s tail-feathers.

The Cat in the Hat (Darren Burkett) serves as a narrator/master of ceremonies who pulls Jojo (Taylor Lintott) out of the audience and plops him straight into the thick of the action on stage. A procession of favourite Seuss characters soon follows. Horton the elephant (Josue Laboucane) is a reluctant hero who discovers the existence of an entire miniature world on a speck of dust.
Mayzie la Bird (Rebecca Talbot) struggles with the idea of being a single parent and Gertrude McFuzz (Kaylee Harwood) has issues with her body image.

Lintott, Burkett, Laboucane, Talbot and Harwood all let loose on stage and their enthusiasm shines through in spades.

In a different show, the series of loosely connected stories wouldn’t pass muster as a plot. But sewn together with the Flaherty and Ahrens score, there’s something magical about Seussical the Musical.

The kid-dominated audience on opening night was suitably impressed and the parents seemed to have fun too. And just maybe a few new young theatre fans were born.

Seussical the Musical, presented by Carousel Theatre, runs until January 1, 2011 at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island. Tickets are available online.

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.

A Year With Frog and Toad; Carousel Theatre (Upcoming show)

Based on the children stories by Arnold Lobel, book and lyrics by Willie Reale and music by Robert Reale, A Year With Frog and Toad is the story of two woodland friends over the course of a year.

Arnold Lobel's classic children characters Frog and Toad.

Starring Todd Talbot (Annie, TUTS), Allan Zinyk (Seussical, Carousel), Darren Burkett (White Christmas, Arts Club), Janet Gigliotti (Les Misérables, Arts Club), and Kaylee Harwood (Les Misérables, Arts Club).  Directed by Carole Higgins, musical direction by Gordon Roberts, choreography by Melissa Young, set design and props by Heidi Wilkinson, costume design by Yulia Shtern, and lighting design by Ereca Hassell.

Carousel Theatre presents A Year With Frog and Toad from April 17 – May 8, 2010 at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright Street, Granville Island.  Tickets are available online or by calling 604-685-6217.

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

Christmas is coming early to Vancouver this year.  The Arts Club production of White Christmas begins previews tonight and opens officially November 18th, 2009.

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.

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Todd Talbot, Laura McNaught, Jeffrey Victor, Sara-Jeanne Hosie in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of White Christmas. Photo by David Cooper.

Starring Sara-Jeanne Hosie (Les Misérables, Arts Club), Monique Lund (Beauty and the Beast, Arts Club), Todd Talbot (Annie, TUTS), Jeffrey Victor (Les Misérables, Arts Club), Susan Anderson (Beauty and the Beast, Arts Club), Réjean Cournoyer (Les Misérables, Arts Club), with Robert Allan, Jak Barradell (Altar Boyz, Arts Club), Darren Burkett (A Chorus Line, RCMT), Adam Charles (A Chorus Line, RCMT), Anna Kuman (A Chorus Line, RCMT), Jeremy Lowe (Les Misérables, Arts Club), Kristie Marsden (Company, Arts Club), Marianne McCord, Laura McNaught (A Chorus Line, RCMT), Keri Minty (A Chorus Line, RCMT), Shane Snow (The Full Monty, Patrick Street), Fiona Vroom, Mark Weatherley, and Rachael Withers (Les Misérables, Arts Club).

Arts Club Theatre Company presents Irving Berlin’s White Christmas: The Musical from November 24– December 27, 2009 at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, 2750 Granville St.  Tickets are available online or by phone at 604-687-1644.