Tag Archives: Sean Parsons

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 (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

Footloose; Exit 22 (Review)

It was 30 years ago this past January that the junior and senior classes of an Oklahoman high school asked for permission to hold a prom.  The year was 1980 and in most places in America this wouldn’t have been an issue, but this was Elmore, a town that had outlawed public dancing since its founding almost a century earlier.

At the time, a local Pentecostal preacher was quoted in People magazine as saying that “no good has ever come from a dance.”  Another resident forecast a surge in teenage pregnancies, “because when boys and girls breathe in each other’s ears, that’s the next step.”

With those dire warnings about the slippery slope of dance freshly planted in my head, I sat in the audience at the Performance Arts Theatre at Capilano University, awaiting the opening bars of Exit 22’s production of Footloose.

The show begins with Chicago teen Ren McCormack (Nolan Wilson) and his mother Ethel (Emily Fraser) moving to the rural Texas town of Bomont, after Ren’s father leaves his family ‘to find himself.’  Ren has difficulty adapting to small-town life and the town has similar trouble adapting to him.  He soon discovers that Bomont, under the direction of Rev. Shaw Moore (Sean Parsons), has banned all dancing within city limits.  It’s left to Ren and his friends to try and help a town move on from a tragic past.

Footloose was adapted in 1998 as a stage musical from the 1984 film of the same name, which in turn was loosely based on the real-life events in Elmore, OK.  The musical was only a moderate success, but has taken on a healthy second life through high school and college productions.  Most recently, there were plans to make a film version of the musical starring Zac Efron, but that project appears to be dead in the water.

That film’s producers have apparently had second thoughts, and I soon found out why: the stage musical itself is a complete wash.  Maybe those naysaying dance prohibitionists were onto something afterall.  It is not an exaggeration to say that it seems unlikely that there is anyone who could spin gold from the dross that is Footloose.

The dialogue is trite and patronising, and the majority of the adult characters are shallow and unlikeable.  Despite the inherent limitations of the material, the all-student cast does an admirable job of salvaging what they can.  The onstage talent is evident, even if it is repeatedly eclipsed by the abysmal script.

Jak Barradell (Altar Boyz, White Christmas) as Ren’s best friend Willard is a tumbling and dancing machine.  Brittany Scott as Willard’s love interest Rusty, belts a spirited rendition of “Let’s Hear it For The Boy.”  Other notable cast members to look out for in the future include Kathy Fitzpatrick, Allison Fligg, and Morgan Dunne.

Promising actor Sean Parsons’ (Rent) portrayal of Rev. Moore doesn’t quite ring true.  The good reverend is frustrated with his daughter Ariel’s (Megan Bayliss) rebellious ways throughout the show but for the most part does little more than shake his head disappointedly at her antics.  When he finally hits her in a moment of anger, it comes without warning and with little explanation.

Not too long after that, Ariel sports a black eye courtesy of her dropout ex-boyfriend Chuck Cranston played to a sleazy tee by Victor Hunter. Neither of these incidents receives a satisfactory resolution nor are they addressed further.

When Ariel reveals what is supposed to be a big secret to Ren, I doubt there was a single person in the audience who hadn’t already figured it out.

That is the heart of the problem with this musical: there is no dramatic tension, no surprises.  There are lots of little scenes and lots of movement, but we are given few chances and even less reason to care about the characters.  The show is also hampered by director Gillian Barber’s unfocused staging, which is quite literally all over the place.

The energetic dancing and vocals showcase a wealth of potential and the youthful cast gives it their all, but there isn’t enough talent in the world to overcome this lame duck of a show.

Exit 22 presents Footloose until Apr 3, 2010 in the Performing Arts Theatre at Capilano University, 2055 Purcell Way, North Vancouver, in the Birch Building. For more information, or to buy tickets, phone 604-990-7810 or email boxoffice@capilanou.ca.