The Winter’s Tale Opens at Bard on the Beach

This week, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale joined the schedule at Bard On The Beach.  Director Dean Paul Gibson, a Bard veteran, has crafted a classic interpretation of the complex play.  Part tragedy, part romance, part comedy, the production is divided into two acts, two eras and two locations.

The Winter’s Tale

Opening in Sicilia, the simple staging finds five columns serving duty to form the multiple locations within the island. Designer Pam Johnson’s stripped down set allows the graceful Greco-Roman costuming, by Carmen Alatorre, to shine, bringing a regal air to the court of Leontes, King of Sicilia (Kevin MacDonald). Noble woman Paulina, charismatically played by the multiple Jessie Award-winning Lois Anderson, serves as narrator and a central player moving the play through its 16 year narrative.   The rest first act plays out like a typical tragedy; lust, jealousy, betrayal, judgement, death all rear their heads.

Act two move ahead 16 years and begins in Bohemia, focusing on the homeland of King Polixenes, also the mood of the play shifts greatly, from the tragic first act. In the rural, free-spirited setting of Bohemia, The Winter’s Tale becomes much lighter and comedic as we meet Autolycus, played by Ben Elliott in a slapstick turn reminiscent of Jim Carrey.  The Shepherd and Son also provide lighthearted diversion, from the more romantic act, as do their sheep and farm maids.  The Second act also brought music into the production, with Autolycus, Prince Florizel and his beloved Perdita all add songs, to varying effectiveness.  Shifting back to Sicily, the final scenes of The Winter’s Tale tie the stories together and bring the play back to the beginning and the end.

While Lois Anderson shines as the anchor of the play, the whole company of The Winter’s Tale fit nicely into their characters and believably carry the regal roles and costumes.  While nearly 3 hours, Dean Paul Gibson has kept The Winter’s Tale moving, entertaining and visually appealing that it doesn’t feel long.

The Winter’s Tale alternates with Much Ado About Nothing on the BMO Mainstage at Bard On The Beach until September 22, 2017.

Picks of the Week – June 21, 2017

Finally, Summer is upon us, with the long days that gives us more time for more picks of the week

Comedy: It’s Thursday Night Live when SNL comedian Michael Che takes the stage at The Vogue Theatre

Seeds: Australian act Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds bring down under to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday night

Tents:  Bard on the Beach is underway at Vanier Park, Much Ado About Nothing is playing now and The Winter’s Tale comes to the tents starting Thursday night.

Rhythm: West Coast Hip Hoppers Jurassic 5 bring their unique brand of hip hop to the Commodore Ballroom on Friday and Saturday nights.

Words: The Museum of Anthropology’s exhibition Traces of Words: Art and Caligraphy of Asia examines forms of the written word around Asia, on until October.

Roar: The BC Lions 2017 regular season home schedule kicks off with Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place on Saturday night.

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company has a pair of shows on now; Million Dollar Quartet at The Stanley Stage, extended until July 16th, Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, until June 25th and Bittergirl The Musical running until July 29th at Granville Island Stage

Ring: The WWE Live Summerslam Heatwave Tour comes to Rogers Arena on Saturday night

Artifacts: The Museum of Vancouver has a quirky, exhibition running throughout the summer, Unbelievable demonstrating the stories behind some unique artifacts

TUTS 2017 season brings laughter to Malkin Bowl

Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) returns July 7th for another summer of entertaining Vancouverites with world-class theatre at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. This season, Mary Poppins & The Drowsy Chaperone, join the ranks of performances performed at the iconic outdoor bandshell since the 1940s.  Surrounded by nature the tranquil setting will be contrast by the stage’s alternating productions; one, an iconic family musical starring an ever so enchanting nanny; the other, a riotous Broadway sensation and tribute to the Roaring Twenties. 

“Last year was our most successful summer on record – more than 45,000 guests passed through our gates!” says Naveen Kapahi, TUTS Board President. “In 2017, we will build on this momentum by putting our patrons in the talented hands of two of the Lower Mainland’s most celebrated directors. Shel Piercy will follow-up last summer’s epic Beauty and the Beast with Mary Poppins; and we are thrilled to welcome Capilano University’s theatre luminary Gillian Barber as director of The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Mary Poppins photo: Tim Matheson

Mary Poppins, one of the most popular Disney movies of all time, filled with it’s family-friendly story and memorable songs finds the practically perfect nanny open up her carpet bag of tricks as she teach the Banks family a lesson or two about love & imagination.  Favourites like ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’, ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’, and ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’ are brought to life with with brand-new dance numbers and staging.

Making her TUTS debut as Mary Poppins is Ranae Miller who is joined by Victor Hunter (Bert), returning following his hilarious portrayal as Lumière in 2016’s Beauty and the Beast. Mr. & Mrs. Banks are played by Russell Roberts and Lalainia Lindbjerg-Strelau. Nine-year-old TUTS newcomer Nolen Dubuc performs as Michael Banks alongside 11-year-old Lola Marshall (Jane Banks) taking part in her third TUTS production.

If director Shel Piercy, along with choreographer Nicol Spinola, and musical director Wendy Bross Stuart, can replicate the spectacle of last summer’s Beauty and the Beast, TUTS may have another record-breaking season.

The Drowsy Chaperone photo: Tim Matheson

On alternating nights, The Drowsy Chaperone, bursts forth with show-stopping song and dance and the energy of its Roaring Twenties setting. The Canadian musical parody & five-time Tony Award-winner takes audiences away on a Jazz Age journey of love, laughter, and libation.

Alone in his modest, one-bedroom apartment, a musical theatre fan puts on his treasured cast recording. As the record spins, the colourful & chaotic characters of a fictitious 1928 musical spring to life – filling his living room with all manner of movie stars, gangsters, divas, and more.

Starring as Man in Chair is five-time Jessie Award-winner Shawn Macdonald who takes the stage with TUTS newcomer and lauded actor Caitriona Murphy (The Drowsy Chaperone) as well as Shannon Hanbury, who makes her ninth TUTS appearance as Janet van de Graaff.  Joining them are Stuart Barkley (Robert Martin), Blake Sartin (George), and Dimitrios Stephanoy as the Latin lothario Aldolpho.

Directed by Gillian Barber, The Drowsy Chaperone features choreography by Shelley Stewart Hunt, with musical direction by Kevin Michael Cripps.

Theatre Under The Stars: Mary Poppins & The Drowsy Chaperone take the stage at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park, 610 Pipeline Road, on alternating evenings starting July 7 running to August 19, 2017
Showtime at 8pm, except on Fireworks Nights, July 29, August 2, August 5, when shows begin at 7pm

Tickets are available online at tuts.ca from $30 – $49

Picks of the Week – June 14, 2017

As we countdown to Summer, let’s see what kind of entertainment is in our Picks of the Week.

Eats: Tonight, Tasting Plates Riley Park brings food fans out to see what the the Main Street area has to offer.

Rock: Hard rockers Tool take to the stage at Rogers Arena on Thursday night

Electro: Vegas EDM duo The Crystal Method brings their big beats to VENUE on Thursday night

Tents: Head to Vanier Park as another season of Bard on the Beach gets underway, Much Ado About Nothing opening on Thursday night.

Roar: The BC Lions 2017 home season gets underway at BC Place on Friday when Saskatchewan Roughriders come to town for pre-season play

Concerts: The 2017 Red Truck Beer Truck Stop Concert Series gets underway on Saturday with Cut Copy playing under the Water Tower at Red Truck Brewing on East 1st Ave in Vancouver

Afterparty:  Late night at Celebs Underground join Cut Copy for a special after party DJ Set

Artifacts: The Museum of Vancouver has a quirky, new exhibition Unbelievable demonstrating the stories behind some unique artifacts

Kicks: Saturday at BC Place Whitecaps FC play host to FC Dallas

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Company has a pair of shows on now; Million Dollar Quartet at The Stanley Stage, until July 9th, Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, until June 25th and Bittergirl The Musical opening Thursday running until July 29th at Granville Island Stage

Celebrate with your “SuperDad” at VTSL

This Father’s Day, Vancouver TheatreSports League (VTSL) welcomes guests to a special 2pm matinee performance in celebration of Dads…The SuperDad Show.

The SuperDad Show pokes fun at the foibles and complexities of what it means to be a father these days. Based on audience suggestions, VTSL’s quick-witted improvisers could explore such relevant topics as ‘the sensitive Dad,’ ‘Dads and their love affair with the barbecue,’ ‘hockey Dads,’ ‘Dad, can I have the keys to the car?’ or ‘Dads and Daughters’ to name a few of the endless possibilities.

The family-friendly SuperDad Show takes place at 2 pm, after brunch or leaving plenty of time after the show to take Dad to dinner or to fire up the barbecue.   The Neil Macrae Bar & Lounge at VTSL’s Improv Centre will be open at 1:30 pm for pre-show drinks and, weather-pending, the patio deck over-looking the picturesque Marina will be open for an sunny sip or take your drink into the theatre to enjoy during the show.

Give your ‘super’ Dad some belly laughs instead of headaches and bring him down to The Improv Centre for an afternoon of improv hilarity. Besides, he needs something to take his mind off the fact that the Canucks didn’t make the playoffs. Warning: SuperDad may contain ‘dad jokes.’

Tickets are only $20, including the show PLUS either a glass of House Wine or Beer on Tap or non-alcoholic beverage. Tickets are on sale now at vtsl.com.

Bard on the Beach raises the curtain on season 2017

Bard on the Beach is back under the white tents at Vanier Park, continuing it’s legacy as Western Canada’s Largest Shakespeare Festival for another year.

Summer evenings at Bard on the Beach

Over the years Bard on the Beach has sought to bring the works of Shakespeare, and related material, to its stages while keeping the adaptations fresh and innovative.  The BMO Mainstage has been home to some of The Bard’s best known works, in recent years including; Romeo & Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, Macbeth, Taming of the  Shrew, Hamlet and more. While the intimate Howard Family Stage and Douglas Campbell Theatre Tent has brought to life some of Shakespeare’s lesser known works; Pericles, Cymbeline, Measure for Measure to name a few.  As well, the Howard Family Stage also provides a proving ground for new and creative works that exist within the Shakespearean universe. This year, Shylock by Mark Leiren-Young takes a look into a production of The Merchant of Venice, following the title character behind and in front of the stage.

The 2017 is in previews now with a BMO Mainstage opening night of Much Ado About Nothing on June 15th followed by The Winter’s Tale opening night, June 22nd.  For the Howard Family Stage, The Merchant of Venice opens on July 6th and The Two Gentlemen of Verona opening on July 12th. Later in the season, Shylock has its limited run, starting September 7th. The whole season wraps September 23, 2017.

Throughout the season, a host of special events add even more entertainment to the Bard Village tents.  Bard-B-Q & Fireworks – a night of food, a performance and the Celebration of Light fireworks festival, Chor Leoni Manely/Fun – the men’s choir bring two nights of music, Opera & Arias : The Barber of Seville performed by the UBC Opera Ensemble with Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Talkback Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays and more.

For more information about the 2017 Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, visit bardonthebeach.org

Picks of the Week – June 7, 2017

The longer days of June allow us more time to get out and enjoy the picks of the week;

Words: The Museum of Anthropology’s exhibition Traces of Words: Art and Caligraphy of Asia examines forms of the written word around Asia, on until October.

Shop: Get out and enjoy a special evening of,  performances, food and of course shopping specials during the 2017 Gastown Shop Hop ,Thursday from 5 – 9pm

Shakespeare: The 2017 Bard on the Beach season gets underway as previews of Winter’s Tale and Much Ado About Nothing are underway.

Hip Hop: American Rapper, Future, brings his tour to Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Friday

Stage: The Arts Club Theatre Companyhas a pair of shows on now; Million Dollar Quartet at The Stanley Stage, until July 9th and Hand To God at The Goldcorp Stage, until June 25th.

Quartet: Ottawa indie rockers, Hollerado play the local circuit this week, playing Nanaimo and Victoria before hitting Commodore Ballroom on Saturday

Amore! Celebrate all things Italian on Sunday as Commercial Drive comes alive for Italian Day on the Drive