Tag Archives: Waterfront Theatre

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.

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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.

What About LUV?; Down Stage Right (Upcoming show)

Down Stage Right Productions celebrates its twentieth anniversary with the Vancouver premiere of What About LUV?  What About LUV? is a hilarious twist on a love triangle gone horribly awry.

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

Based on the play LUV by Murray Schisgal, book by Jeffrey Sweet, music by Howard Marren and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam). Directed by Mark Carter (Evil Dead, DSR), musical direction by Sylvia Zaradic (Evil Dead, DSR), choreography by Ken Overbey (Evil Dead, DSR), lighting design by Darren Hales and set design by John Bessette.

Starring Meghan Gardiner (Evil Dead, DSR), Neil Minor (The Drowsy Chaperone, Playhouse) and Scott Walters (Evil Dead, DSR).

Down Stage Right Productions presents What About LUV? from November 3 – 13 at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St., Granville Island.  Tickets are available online or at the door.

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.

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.

Saying goodbye to summer

Over the last month, there’s been so much theatre to see and so little time.  And now it all seems to be ending.  The cheeky SHINE: A Burlesque Musical finished its two-week run at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island last weekend and we also bade adieu to the toe-tapping Thoroughly Modern Millie and Annie at Theatre Under the Stars.

At the Arts Club, the Altar Boyz are spritzing their hair with product for the last time and at Pacific Theatre, the good folks from Not Another Musical Co-op are singing the last notes of Songs For A New World this weekend.     Across the water, at the Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver, comes the final curtain call for the newest object of my affection, Fighting Chance’s Rent.

Fighting Chance Production's cast of Rent; Clockwise from top left, Craig Decarlo, Christine Quintana, Jacqueline Breakwell, Anton Lipovetsky, Nick Fontaine and Cesar Erba.

Fighting Chance Production's cast of Rent; Clockwise from top left, Craig Decarlo, Christine Quintana, Jacqueline Breakwell, Anton Lipovetsky, Nick Fontaine and Cesar Erba.

I have a rather shameful admission to make . . .  I’ve never been a giant Rent fan.  Nor a Rent fan of any other size, for that matter.  It stems from a certain stubbornness that I possess when it comes to being told what to do or what to like.  In fact, I have an aversion to jumping on to bandwagons of all kinds.  It’s that contrary quality that made me disregard the film version and pooh-pooh the various Rent soundtracks.

But now, I’ve drunk the Kool-aid and have been totally taken in by Rent.  I’ve seen it three times and would have seen it again, if it hadn’t kept selling out.

Which brings us back to the end of the summer season and the sudden onset of my musical-theatre withdrawal blues.  My current state of despair is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that the fall musical season will soon be upon us.  Though, truth be told, I’m not overly enthused by this.  I’ve seen all of these latest summer shows twice and sometimes more and they’ve become familiar, like friends.  And it’s so hard to say goodbye.

SHINE: A Burlesque Musical (Review)

SHINE: A Burlesque Musical is not so much a traditional musical as it is a bawdy version of TV’s old variety shows.  Think of a cross between burlesque and an adult-only Muppet show.  The show is a reworked version of an improvised one-act, originally known as By the Seat of Our Panties, presented at the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival in 2008.

The book by Sam Dulmage and The Wet Spots is thin, but works nevertheless.  Theatre owner Shine Mionne (Cass King) and her troupe of burlesque performers are approached by a producer who promises to revitalise the ailing show with buckets of money.  Various hijinks, gags, and word-play ensue.

shine-flare

Cass King as Shine Mionne in SHINE: A Burlesque Musical

The original music by first-time musical theatre writers the Wet Spots (John Woods and Cass King) has some bright spots and a tonne of potential, but isn’t given the full opportunity to shine as brightly as it should.

The female cast is full of incredibly strong personalities and they almost completely overwhelm the male contingent of the show. Michael Smith as wealthy producer Richard Suit is nowhere nearly up to the challenge of matching the stage presence or vocal abilities of his female co-stars.  Both of Smith’s songs, “When You Deal With A Suit” and “Matinee Crowd” fell unfortunate victim to his weak singing voice and weren’t given a fair airing.

The tempo of certain songs (“Everybody Wants to be A Star” and “Rocky Horror”) could also use some reworking to better steady the pace of the overall show.  There were too many slow numbers.  SHINE’s score would also be better served by the use of live music as opposed to the current pre-taped backing tracks.

None of these criticisms should take away from the overwhelming positives of SHINE.  I went in not knowing what to expect, but was completely won over.

Cass King is a natural performer and brings to life the “Perversions of Yesteryear.”  Her speaking delivery is peppered with shades of Katharine Hepburn and she periodically channels various other classic stars of the silver screen.

“Broadway Love Song” wryly spoofs a musical-theatre ballad and makes for a strong closer to the first act.

The chorus/ensemble comprised of Violet Femme, April O’Peel, Calamity Kate and Sister Madly, Keri Horton and Fairlith Harvey provide a rock-solid backing to SHINE; there’s not a single weak link in the bunch.  Choreography by April O’Peel and Melody Mangler is inspired and sinfully fun.

Gemma Isaac as an overeager grad student and Teddy Smooth as an aspiring young actor make wild and dirty magic in “The Nasty.”  Noelle Pilon as Lulu Von Doozy, the resident diva, is a force of nature and sells all of her numbers with relative ease.

SHINE is chockfull of clever moments and snappy dialogue; it will absolutely and thoroughly entertain you and leave you wanting more.

SHINE: A Burlesque Musical is presented by Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society and The Wet Spots and plays from August 12-22, 2009; Wed-Sat @ 8 PM, at the Waterfront Theatre, 1412 Cartwright St, Granville Island.  Tickets are available online or call 1-800-838-3006.  SHINE is an adult-oriented show which contains nudity and themes of healthy sexuality and is not suitable for those under the age of 18. Age restriction strictly enforced.