Tag Archives: Ryan Mooney

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.

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Sweeney Todd; Fighting Chance (Upcoming show)

Just in time for Hallowe’en comes Sweeney Todd, presented by Fighting Chance Productions. Director Ryan Mooney promises a fresh and sexy take on the Sondheim masterpiece and has set it in the round to bring the audience closer to the action.

 

Alex McMorran and Cathy Wilmot in Fighting Chance's Sweeney Todd.

 

Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (Into the Woods) and book by Hugh Wheeler (A Little Night Music). Directed by Ryan Mooney (Hair, Fighting Chance), with musical direction by Vashti Fairbairn (Hair, Fighting Chance).

Starring Alex McMorran (The Wedding Singer, Fighting Chance), Cathy Wilmot (Forbidden Broadway, Fighting Chance), Arne Larsen (Rent, Fighting Chance), Sabrina Prada, Chris Harvey (Les Misérables, Arts Club), Krista Gibbard, David Nicks, Jeremy Hanlon-Fournier, Eric Alexander Steel (Hair, Fighting Chance), Laura Luongo, Lauren Gula, (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Gateway), Kate Leinweber, Reginald Pillay, Matt Hume (A New Brain, Pipedream), Nick Fontaine (Rent, Fighting Chance), Patrick Maloughney and Danielle Lemon.

Fighting Chance Productions presents Sweeney Todd from October 13 – 30, 2010 at the Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery, Vancouver. Tickets are available online or by calling 604-224-8007 ext. 3.

Hair; Fighting Chance (Upcoming show)

The prolific people at Fighting Chance Productions present Hair, their 15th show in three years.  Following last year’s successful run of Rent, they’ve chosen a classic rock musical to end their season.

Fighting Chance's production of Hair.

Book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot. Directed by Ryan Mooney, musical direction by Vashti Fairbairn. Starring Michael Brock, Sean Parsons (Footloose, Exit 22), Jenny Moase, Cesar Erba (Rent, Fighting Chance), Hal Rogers (Rent, Fighting Chance), Arielle Tuliao, Amy Jean McElwain, and Ranae Miller. Also featuring Daniel Chai, Michelle Bardach, Sarah Wolfman-Robichaud, Anna Hassard,  Matt Russell, Augustine Justin Go, Eric Alexander Steel, Nyla Carpentier, Nilsen Tiefenbach, Max Friesen, Robyn Leigh Johnson, and Veronika Sztopa.

Fighting Chance Productions presents Hair from July 21 – August 1, 2010 at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island.  Tickets are available online or by calling 604-684-2787.

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

The Wedding Singer; Fighting Chance (Upcoming show)

The company that wowed local audiences last year with Rent, has set its sights on 80s nostalgia.  Fighting Chances Productions presents the BC premiere of The Wedding Singer. Based on the Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer /features music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin and book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy.

Directed by Ryan Mooney (Rent, Fighting Chance), with music direction by Christopher King (Thoroughly Modern Millie, TUTS), and choreography by Anna Hassard. Starring Andrew Halliwell, Lexy Campbell, Cassandra Nantel, Tyson Coady (Joseph, RCMT), Alex McMorran, Sean Parsons (Footloose, Exit 22), Jessica Kelly, Sable Strub, and Linda Noble.

Fighting Chance Productions presents The Wedding Singer from April 27 – May 22, 2010 at the Jericho Arts Centre, 1675 Discovery, Vancouver.  Tickets are available online or by calling 604-224-8007 ext. 3

Forbidden Broadway; Fighting Chance (Upcoming show)

Forbidden Broadway, the popular musical-theatre parody, makes its BC premiere in January.  Fighting Chance Productions presents a best of version of Forbidden Broadway 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 Andrea Bailey, Natalee Fera, Aaron Lau, David Nicks and Cathy Wilmot.

Fighting Chance Productions presents Forbidden Broadway from January 6 – 16, 2010 at the PAL Theatre, 581 Cardero St.  Tickets are available online or by calling 604-684-2787.

Stephen Sondheim in Vancouver (Guest Post)

I was sick and missed seeing Stephen Sondheim when he stopped in Vancouver at the end of October.  Local theatre director and producer Ryan Mooney (Rent) offered to share his thoughts on the experience.

Stephen Sondheim is arguably the best there is when it comes to musical theatre, although anyone who would argue it might need to give their heads a shake.  His résumé is impressive; his first Broadway show was West Side Story and he followed that up with Gypsy.  Not a bad start to a career.  He’s had his fair share of flops; however I was surprised to find out after checking out Wikipedia that not a single Sondheim title appears in the one-hundred longest running Broadway shows.
Stephen Sondheim
On Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 Stephen Sondheim made his first trip ever to Vancouver to speak at the Vogue Theatre as part of his “Life in the Theatre” series.  It was sponsored through APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert which is presenting an entire season of Stephen Sondheim (Passion will be up next).  I, myself, have had the opportunity to check out Sondheim speaking before when I was in NYC for his 75th birthday, so I had some idea of what a kind and personable person he was.  What I wasn’t prepared for was just how attentive he would be when I met him in person. I had the opportunity to meet him briefly and talk to him at a gala event beforehand.  He spoke highly of our city – about how our main park (Stanley Park) is beautiful.  I was there with a few friends and he mentioned how happy he was to see “some young people” at the event, since apparently it’s usually a lot of the older set at these meet and greets.

Following that, we headed to a packed Vogue Theatre for a discussion moderated by Jerry Wasserman.  I’ve heard a few people mention that they think Jerry could’ve been more prepared.  Myself, I feel like it was a crazy task to assign anyone.  Where do you even scratch the surface when it comes to a man who has had such a distinguished career?  I’ve read the Stephen Sondheim biography by Meryle Secrest and I was the emcee for Fighting Chance’s production of Side by Side by Sondheim, so I certainly felt I had some Sondheim knowledge, but I was thrilled to hear anecdotes that I hadn’t heard before. There was one moment in particular where I became acutely aware of just how quiet the Vogue Theatre was.  An entire room full of our theatre community hanging on this man’s every word.  Nobody wanted to move for fear of missing something that he had to share.  I know that I speak for many people when I say that I could’ve listened to hours more of his stories.

He spoke about how he’s writing a two-volume set of annotated lyrics to all of his shows; the first due out this time next year.  Sondheim fans (myself included) will be thrilled to get their hands on such a gem of authorship.

Kudos must be paid to Scott Ashton Swan and APPLAUSE! Musicals in Concert for bringing Sondheim to Vancouver.  It was a rare treat.  I can only hope that this is the start of bringing first rate Broadway talent (in all forms) to our city, as there certainly seems to be the appetite for it.

Ryan Mooney is the artistic director and founder of Fighting Chance Productions.