Circle Game : Reimagining the music of Joni Mitchell at Firehall Arts Centre

The songs of Canadian legend Joni Mitchell come to The Firehall Arts Centre in Circle Game : Reimagining the music of Joni Mitchell.

Circle Game photo: Emily Cooper

In celebration of her recent 75th birthday, the revival of Circle Game pays tribute with a couple dozen tunes rearranged and mixed from Joni Mitchell’s iconic songbook. Co-creators Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman forgo any storyline, presenting the music in a series of vignettes built around each song, some with a bit of drama, others feature Kuman’s choreography, while others are straight ahead performances. Like the collection of songs from a decades long career, Carolyn Rapanos’ set design it a beautifully curated display of musical paraphernalia.

Circle Game photo: Emily Cooper

The six multi-talented performers; Samantha Bourque, Kimmy Choi, David Z. Cohen, Benjamin Millman, Scott Perrie and Adriana Ravali, dance, sing and perform all the instrument throughout the 2 hour show. The show takes some time to find its rhythm, but once I stopped trying to find a storyline, I was able to let go and just enjoy each song individually. Andrew Cohen’s arrangements have moments reminiscent of Godspell showtunes, a garage-band’s all out jam sessions, other times acapella, and then parts that felt like a 70’s variety show, bringing something for everyone to the stage. Circle game changes the tempo and pace on many of the classic Mitchell tunes, but some of her most recognizable classics get respectful treatment in the second act, with beautiful renditions of River, Both Sides Now, and Big Yellow Taxi to close the show and leave the audience with the memories of their memories of Joni Mitchell’s legacy.

Circle Game photo: Emily Cooper

Circle Game : Reimagining the music of Joni Mitchell plays at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova St, until February 9, 2019. Visit firehallartscentre.ca for information, showtimes and tickets.

Dakh Daughters Debut at The Cultch

Part of The Cultch Femme Series, Dakh Daughters it making its Canadian debut at York Theater until January 19, 2019.

Dakh Daughters
Dakh Daughters photo: Tetiana Vasylenko

The cabaret-style performance sees six performers from Kyiv’s Dakh Theatre, taking the stage to create a unique evening of genre-bending music. The Dakh Daughters rotate through a wide variety of instruments; wind, percussion, keyboards and strings. Sung mostly in Ukrainian, and bits of English and French, with English surtitles, the traditional Ukrainian folk, pop, and original works songs are arranged to blend a diverse range of styles. Ballads bleed into rock, rap mixes with pop and reggae lends its beats, to create a weirdly satisfying cacophony of sounds. As with the music, the sextet’s costume changes take them from a start as hip babushkas with hints of DEVO, to burlesque-punk divas, stylish sirens, and political patriots.

Talking about the performance doesn’t do the rock-opera justice, there’s no way to describe the connection the music had with the audience. The opening night audience seemed to have a number of Ukrainian fans who connected to the music, singing along with the tunes, acknowledging the topics. An audience member near me went from laughing with the lyrics to being in tears during one of the heartfelt ballads.

Dakh Daughter
Dakh Daughters photo: Igor Gaidai

During the show’s encore the Dakh Daughters were very thankful to their first Canadian show and felt the audience was receptive enough to draw attention to the Crimean conflict and Oleg Sentsov, and other Ukrainian political prisoners being held in Russia.

Dakh Daughters; Natalia Charpe, Nina Garenetska, Nataliya Halanevych, Tetiana Havrylyuk, Solomiia Melnyk, Ganna Nikitina, take the stage at the York Theatre January 15 – 19, 2019. Visit thecultch.com for tickets and more information.

Picks of the Week – January 16, 2019

We’re already ticking into the middle of January, the post-Holidays hangover has lifted and city’s entertainment scene is back in full swing. Let’s see what’s happening with these picks of the week…

Lights: It’s your last chance to hop the Millenium SkyTrain to Lafarge-Douglas Station and take in Metro Vancouver’s largest winter light display – Lights at Lafarge ending Sunday.

Canyon Lights
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Canyon: Thousands of lights are spread throughout Capilano Bridge Park’s Canyon Lights, lighting up the bridge, Treetops Adventures, as well as 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree, until January 27th.

Laughs:  Join Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe, Queerprov, at The Junction for improv laughter tonight.

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks play a trio of games at Rogers Arena this week; tonight vs Edmonton, Friday vs Buffalo, and Sunday vs Detroit

Noodlemania

Noodles: Tonight, join in the 6th Vancouver Foodster Noodlemania, a tasting tour of noodle dishes from around the world at restaurants all across the city

Queens: Friday night at the Commodore TFD & Live Nation present It’s Just Drag featuring RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumni Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo & Farrah Moan plus a bevy of Vancouver’s talented drag queens hosted by Joan E.

Arts: The 15th Annual PuSh International Performing Arts Festival gets underway on Thursday bringing world-class performing arts to the city until February 3rd

Improv: The sun has come out so it’s true that the laughter beats the winter blahs as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

Stick: Catch Vancouver Warriors Lacrosse on Saturday at Rogers Arena when they host San Diego Seals

Dine Out – Street Food City photo: Carly Whetter

Dine: Canada’s largest food and restaurant festival, Dine Out Vancouver Festival gets underway this Friday, January 18 until February 3rd

Yoga: Don’t miss your chance to take part in a free yoga class at Gateway Theatre in support of their upcoming Yoga Play.

Dakh Daughters photo: Tetiana Vasylenko

Femme: At The Cultch, check out Dakh Daughters on stage at the York Theatre January 15 – 19, as well as the rest of the line-up in the 2019 Femme Series of shows

Picks of the Week – January 9, 2019

The holidays have past but still a few remnants of the season live on to keep up feeling a bit festive into January

Lake: This week is the last to visit Harrison Hot Springs Village’s Lights on the Lake sasquatch-themed illuminations.

Lights: Hop the Millenium SkyTrain Line to Lafarge-Douglas Station and enjoy the last weeks of Metro Vancouver’s largest winter light display – Lights at Lafarge until January 20th.

Laughs:  with a new year, comes a new venue for Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe, as they move Queerprov Fruit Bowl  to The Junctioni for an evening of laughter tonight, Jan 9th

Bowie: The 4th Annual Bowie Ball – A Celebration of the Life & Music of David Bowie brings an evening of bands benefitting the Canadian Cancer Society to the Rickshaw Theatre on Saturday night

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks return to home ice, hosting Arizona Coyotes, on Thursday January 10th

Soul: British alternative R&B singer NAO takes the stage at The Vogue Theatre on Saturday with her funky vocals

The Full Light Of Day
photo: Don Lee

Electric: The Electric Company Theatre, in association with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, presents the world premiere of a provocative new work, The Full Light of Day, at the Vancouver Playhouse from January 7 – 12

Comedy: Just For Laughs Presents Bert Kreischer – Body Shots World Tour for two shows at The Vogue Theatre on Sunday, at 7pm and 9:30pm

Improv: Beat those post-Holiday blahs by beating it with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

Warriors: Saturday night at Rogers Arena, Vancouver Warriors Lacrosse host the Saskatchewan Rush.

Country: Before it takes off on a USA Tour, get a preview of the story behind country music’s biggest love story as Kitty Night Productions Johnny and June a toe tappin’ musical story of June and Johnny Cash on January 12th at Biltmore Cabaret

 

 

The Sun Will Come Out when Annie takes the stage

Cast of Align Entertainment’s Annie
photo: Emily Cooper

The Sun Will Come Out when Align Entertainment presents the positively perky adventures of everyone’s favourite little orphan. Annie takes the stage at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby, February 1–16, 2019.  Following the successful fall production of A Christmas Story: The Musical, Align Entertainment closes the 2018/2019 season with the story of that plucky, optimistic red-haired 11-year-old, Annie.

The Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, throwing into sharp relief the beauty of the spirited character’s hopefulness in dire times. Featuring a fresh cast of young local talent, the production is a heart-warming antidote to the long grey days of winter.

Annie is a touching and timeless musical with a strong core message that money can’t buy you happiness,” says director and co-producer Chad Matchette. “Oliver Warbucks is the richest man in the country and yet his life is unfulfilled until he meets Annie. This delightful little girl reminds us about the power of love and inspires people to hold onto their dreams against all odds.”

The original Broadway production from 1977 is based on Harold Gray’s widely read comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The 1924 comic was popular for its poignant political commentary, and subsequent adaptations maintained this feature. The story follows the adventures of Annie, who longs to find the parents who left her as a baby on the steps of a New York City orphanage. Tired of matron Miss Hannigan’s cruelty, Annie escapes into the city and befriends the abandoned but loveable mutt Sandy. Upon her return, she is selected to spend Christmas with local billionaire Oliver Warbucks. He is soon won over by her bright outlook and even introduces her to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Along the way, Annie helps inspire the New Deal, learns the truth about her parents, and finds a loving home to call her own.  

Annie played by Camryn Macdonald
photo: Emily Cooper

With a book by Thomas Meehan (The Producers, Hairspray) and lyrics by Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie), Annie earned seven Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards, and brought the world the iconic songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and others. Align Entertainment’s production brings the musical to life with a live 12-piece orchestra under the direction of Kevin Woo and a talented ensemble of a dozen young actors, who were selected from auditions by more than 100 children. 

Several cast members will be making their Align Entertainment debut, including the bright-eyed Camryn Macdonald (Veruca in Delta Youth Theatre’s Willy Wonka Jr.) in the role of Annie and Arne Larsen (Dom Claude Frollo in Secondary Characters’ The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as Oliver Warbucks. Erin Matchette (Mrs. Schwartz in Align’s A Christmas Story) will play Miss Hannigan, and Laura Cowan (Fairy Godmother in Theatre Under the Stars’ Cinderella) will be Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ assistant who first finds Annie. Next week, Align Entertainment begins the Search for Sandy, auditions for the real dog to fill the role of Sandy the dog. If you think your pooch can fill the role, check out alignentertainment.ca for audition information.

Align Entertainment’s Annie runs February 1 – 16, 2019 at Michael J Fox Theatre, 7373 MacPherson Ave. Burnaby

Femme Series hits The Cultch this winter

This Winter, The Cultch is celebrating the power of female identifying voices, from Jan 15 – Feb 16, 2019, with its third annual Femme Series

Amplifying female identifying voices has always been important to Cultch Executive Director, Heather Redfern.
 “This is our way to say, ‘Come on, guys: you’ve got to pay attention to this,” Redfern told The Georgia Straight about the Femme Series in early 2018 “you have to do it deliberately. You have to commit to doing 50 percent of work [in your season] where the main thrust is from a female creation.”

This year’s Femme Series is bigger and better, than ever before, packed with special events—music, karaoke, new play-readings, and opportunities to mix and mingle. It continues the work from last year, with particular emphasis on deconstructing patriarchal language, expanding the limitations of the way gender is represented, and celebrating the intersectionality of the feminist perspective.

Femme Series Events, including Main Stage Productions:

Jan 11WROL (Without Rule of Law) by Michaela Jeffery—A new play reading presented by Touchstone Theatre, 8PM, Historic Theatre—FREE

Jan 12:  Soft Cedar Presents: Only a Visitor album release, with special guest Wallgrin—Only A Visitor is a quintet that blurs genre boundaries by straddling the line between art music and pop. Their new album, Technicolour Education, focuses on the Chinese diasporic experience in Vancouver through generations of immigrant stories. 8PM, Historic Theatre—$20

Jan 14: Women in the Arts Mixer5-7PM, Historic Theatre—FREE

Jan 14: Pitch, Bitch, and Ditch with Pippa Mackie and Kim HarveyJoin theatre creators and producers Kim Senklip Harvey and Pippa Mackie for an unforgettable night that puts the power in the hands of the patrons. 8-9PM, Historic Theatre—$10

Dakh Daughters
photo: Tetiana Vasylenko

Jan 15 – 19Dakh Daughters (Ukraine), York Theatre—Main Stage Season Production: Six actresses take musical instruments into their hands in order to create a life-affirming performance about love, freedom, and beauty which—at the end of the day—will save the world


Jan 22 – 26
Power Ballad, Julia Croft/Nisha Madhan (New Zealand), 8PM, Historic Theatre—Main Stage Season Production:  an angry, feminist, live art investigation of language and its sometimes hidden ideologies. Part performance lecture, part karaoke party, Power Ballad deconstructs gendered linguistic histories and rips apart contemporary language to find a new articulation of pleasure, anger, and femaleness.

Jan 25: Feminist Karaoke with Julia Croft, after Power Ballad, 9PM, Historic Theatre—FREE

Jan 27: Soft Cedar Presents: Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, presented as part of CapU Global Roots Series—Kaumakaiwa brings to the stage an immense talent as a singer, chanter, and dancer as well as a deep understanding of her Hawaiian culture and her place as a modern, transgender (mahu wahine) Hawaiian in this contemporary world. She engages Indigenous thought to address today’s issues through music, chant, and sharing of spirit. 8PM, York Theatre—$40

Much Ado About Nothing
photo: Emily Cooper

Feb 5 – 16Much Ado About Nothing, Classic Chic Productions (Vancouver), Historic Theatre—Main Stage Season Production: Featuring an all-female cast, and set in a mesmerizing theatrical world, this deadly serious and sublimely ridiculous story—of soldiers in love and women confined by tradition—is a bold and playful romp through the extremes of desire and ambition, loyalty and redemption.

Stretch Into 2019 with Gateway Theatre’s Yoga Play

Following the Holiday run of It’s A Wonderful Life, Gateway Theatre next presents Yoga Play, a contemporary comedy running February 7 – 16, 2019.

Written by Dipika Guha and directed by Gateway’s own Jovanni Sy, Yoga Play takes a satirical look at some strikingly familiar recent events, and what it takes to find authenticity in a world selling enlightenment.  The play tells of Joan, who has been hired to stabilize Jojomon, a yoga apparel giant, after its CEO is brought down by a fat-shaming scandal. But just as she finds her footing, more trouble surfaces and the sales freefall. Jojomon needs an image makeover—and fast. Risking everything on a wild plan, Joan and her colleagues are willing to try anything to save face.

In celebration of the upcoming production, Gateway Theatre is giving you the opportunity to find your own enlightenment, by opening up the theatre lobby to the community for free yoga classes.  Throughout January, take advantage of this opportunity to practice yoga in an unique setting,  possibly with some of the cast members.  Free Hatha Yoga Classes take place Wednesdays, January 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2019, from 8:45am – 9:45am.  Classes will be led by Perfect Hearts Yoga and are suitable for all levels.  Please pre-register for the class(es) you wish to attend and bring your own mat.

January’s free yoga classes, and Yoga Play, onstage February 7 – 16, 2019, at Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond, visit gatewaytheatre.com/yoga-play for more information, tickets and to register for classes.