The Art Club Ashlie Corcoran announces 2018-19 season

This week, The Arts Club Theatre Company announced the shows coming for the 2018-2019 season.  As we reach the midpoint of the current season, the final season for long-time Artistic Director Bill Millerd’s before he retires, the incoming Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran is making her mark on the future of the Arts Club.

“For this new season, I seek to build on the legacy of Bill Millerd, continuing his remarkable work through eclectic programming that celebrates local talent, offers opportunities for emerging artists, and strengthens diversity. With these goals in mind, I’ve curated eleven plays by Canadians, eleven by women, seven by BC artists, and four by artists of colour or Indigenous artists.” says Ms Corcoran.  The season also includes remounts of some Arts Club favourites, a number of partnerships with other Canadian theatre companies including the announcement of Hardline Theatre as the 2018-19 resident company.

The full Arts Club Theatre Company 2018-2019 Season includes:

STANLEY INDUSTRIAL ALLIANCE STAGE

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time: by Simon Stephens, adapted from the novel by Mark Haddon
Multiple Olivier and Tony Award winning mystery
September 6–October 7, 2018 

Sweat, by Lynn Nottage
A working-class drama and 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner
October 18–November 18, 2018
Canadian premiere; in partnership with Citadel Theatre 

Disney’s Beauty & The Beast, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, book by Linda Woolverton
A remount of last year’s hit presentation of Disney’s beloved fairy-tale musical
December 1, 2018–January 6, 2019 

The Matchmaker, by Thornton Wilder
A classic farce that provided the source material for the musical Hello Dolly!
January 24–February 24, 2019

The Orchard (After Chekhov), by Sarena Parmar
Set in the Okanagan Valley, a Canadian take on Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard
March 21–April 21, 2019 

Matilda The Musical, book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, from the novel by Roald Dahl
Multiple award-winning hit musical based on the Roald Dahl story
May 16–July 14, 2019
In partnership with Citadel Theatre and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre

GRANVILLE ISLAND STAGE

Mustard, by Kat Sandler
An unconventional comedy about growing up
September 20–October 20, 2018
In partnership with Belfry Theatre

Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley, by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon
The festive season Pride and Prejudice follow-up
November 15–December 30, 2018 

The Shoplifters, by Morris Panych
A hilariously biting story about society’s haves and have-nots
February 7–March 9, 2019 

Bed and Breakfast, by Mark Crawford
A charming comedy about the ‘inns’ and being out in a small town
April 4–May 4, 2019

Mom’s The Word: Nest ½ Empty, by the Mom’s the Word Collective
What happens when the kids fly the coop?
June 6–July 20, 2019
Third show in the Mom’s the Word series; remount of 2017 Arts Club premiere

GOLDCORP STAGE AT THE BMO THEATRE CENTRE

Blind Date, a spontaneous theatre creation by Rebecca Northan
One actor + One audience member = A Blind Date Like No Other
November 22–December 30, 2018 

True Crime, by Torquil Campbell (of the band, Stars) and Chris Abraham
A genre-mixing examination of a conman
January 31–February 24, 2019 

Redpatch, by Raes Calvert and Sean Harris Oliver
A historical drama about a young Métis soldier & his company
March 7–31, 2019
In partnership with Citadel Theatre and Hardline Productions, our 2018–2019 Resident Company 

The Great Leap, by Lauren Yee
American basketball historically goes to China
April 25–May 19, 2019
A Canadian premiere

Picks of the Week – January 31, 2018

Wrapping up the first month of 2018, as we look up tonight on a rare Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse tonight, it seems an appropriate start to the Lunar New Year season in these picks of the week.

Fest: The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival moves into its final weekend with plenty more picks to get out of the house on dreary winter nights for great entertainment around the city until it wraps up with the closing night performance of Eternal Tides from Taiwan.

Eat:  Dine Out Vancouver Festival sustains our stomachs and souls with hundreds of great restaurant set menus and food events until Sunday.

Pop: Canadian singer/songwriter Lights brings her style and sounds to the Vogue Theatre for the second of two nights, tonight.

Elle & Warner
photo: Anita Alberto Photography

Musical:  From February 2 – 17, Align Entertainment brings the award winning, bubbly Legally Blonde the Musical to the stage at Michael J Fox Theatre

Theatre: The Arts Club picks up their season for 2018 with Topdog/Underdog playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 11th and Jitters at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 25.

Cultures: The Cultch and Push Festival present Dublin Old School, a tale of brother’s bonds until February 3rd.  As well, The Cultch opens Jabberwocky, a dark puppet work inspired by Lewis Carroll, on February 6th

Band: Neither Portuguese nor just one man, the American band Portugal. The Man comes to the Vogue Theatre on Friday and Saturday

Ice: The Vancouver Canucks play a pair of games, hosting Chicago on Thursday then Tampa Bay on Saturday at Rogers Arena

Dragon: In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Fly Over Canada once again presents a double-bill of Flight of the Dragon, along with the regular Fly Over Canada experience, for a limited time, only until February 18th.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams Photo: Mariana Zappet and Emilano Leyva.

Puppets: Presentation House Theatre and Marionetas de la Esquina present Sleeping Beauty Dreams, a reimagining of the classic fairy tale in a contemporary take, performed by puppets from January 26 to February 4.

Exhibition: On Friday, the Vancouver Art Gallery celebrates the opening of Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg with a birthday bash, preview, dinner and party, the day before the opening of the Japanese artist’s first Canadian retrospective.

Folk: German alt-folk act Milky Chance play the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday night

Family: Saturday,  Winter Wander brings Vanier Park to life with mid-winter fun for the whole family, 5 venues, $5 for all the activities and events you can squeeze into a day.

Chocolate: Sip your way around the city with the warmth of the Hot Chocolate Festival on until February 14th

SHIT
photo: Emily Cooper

Foulmouth: The Firehall Arts Centre is presenting the Canadian premiere of Australian playwright Patricia Cornelius’ SHIT a graphic look at the lives of three incarcerated women.

 

 

 

Topdog/Underdog battle for supremacy at Arts Club

Last night, the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Topdog/Underdog opened at the Arts Club Theatre Company Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.  The two act, two-hander is an intense two hours of rapid fire dialogue and emotions, written by Suzan-Lori Parks, the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize, and directed for The Arts Club by Dean Paul Gibson.

The tale of two African-American brothers abandoned by their parents as youths, the older Lincoln (Michael Blake) and the younger Booth (Luc Roderique) appear initially as opposites.  Booth, a wannabe 3-card monte hustler, practicing in the confines of his dingy one room tenement, while Lincoln is the hard working brother, employed as an impersonator of his namesake, ‘Honest Abe’ Lincoln, albeit in white-face.  However, we soon learn appearances, just like the cards, can be deceiving as we find out Linc was once a star card sharp working the streets and taking the marks for big money.  Life on the streets became too ‘real’ for Linc so he gave up the cards and settled into a life of domesticity until his wife kicks him out. Now he’s staying with Booth, (or as he prefers to be called “Three Card”) and trying to keep the straight and narrow.

Meanwhile, Three Card hasn’t ever worked and survives on whatever his light-fingers can boost from shops and the back of trucks, always on the lookout for more. He longs to be the card hustler that his brother once was and forever on edge that he isn’t.   Linc has that underlying craving of an addict trying his best to stay away from his vice while Booth is anxious to prove that he’s the ‘big man’ and can do anything better than his brother.  While they hesitate to discuss it outright, the brothers have a sense of abandonment that they put up a brave “we’ve got each other” front they seem to be longing for the connections to each other, or for Booth to his off/on girlfriend, Grace, and to know why/where their parents went all those years ago.  Through moments of humour and warmth, a battle of egos, stubborn wills and pent up anger bubble up to a heated climax.

Ms Park’s script combines rapid-fire, rap-like dialogue and the lengthy monologues of thoughts and feelings offset by moments of silence between brothers.  There is a lot to communicate even in Topdog/Underdog even when nothing is said.  Blake and Roderique brilliantly balance the sensitive emotions, outright aggression, and colourful language that comes along with them,  with an ability to say so much with just a look or slight movement.  Roderique brings authentic vigor and bravado to the younger Three Card and Blake has a downtrodden physicality to his role in the first act then transforms to an almost reckless, “free at last” energy to the second.  Both actors keep the audience mesmerized and emotionally invested in the brothers, building up, then breaking, the tension with a well placed laugh, then building it up again.  Set designer Shizuka Kai detailed one room apartment set has an amazing amount of detail and visually sets a scene of urban realism, while the hip-hop soundtrack aurally furthers the sense of place, perfectly completing the world these two characters inhabit.

In spite of being just one room and two actors, Topdog/Underdog packs so much onto its stage that it’s worth seeing multiple times (if your emotions can take it) as there is so much to see and hear.

Topdog/Underdog is playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 11, 2018 so you’ll have plenty of time to see it more than once.  Visit artsclub.com for tickets

 

Picks of the Week – January 24, 2018

In these picks of the week, we find the last of the festive season’s celebrations wrap up and Vancouver’s winter festivals continuing.

Canyon: Take your first look of the season or return for your last visit amongst the treetops of the tallest illuminated trees and much more at Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park  before it closes for the season January 28th, 2018. 

Fest: The 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival moves into its second week with plenty more picks to get out of the house on dreary winter nights for great entertainment around the city until February 4th

Eat:  Dine Out Vancouver Festival sustains our stomachs and souls with hundreds of great restaurant set menus and food events until February 4th

Pride: Up the sea-to-sky, the 26th Annual Whistler Pride is bringing one of the largest winter pride celebrations filled with colour and excitement to the resort village until January 28th.

Comedy: Tonight at Orpheum Theatre, funnyman Adam Sandler brings comedy to the stage supported by friends David Spade and Rob Schneider.

Rock: Over at the Pacific Coliseum, tonight, Queens of the Stone Age rock out with Eagles of Death Metal in support

HipHop: Swedish rapper Yung Lean & The Sad Boys bring beats to the stage at Vogue Theatre, Wednesday night

Hot Brown Honey
photo: Dylan Evans

Honeys: Fighting the power never tasted so good!  Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat with a serving of sass and empowerment at The Cultch York Theatre until January 27th

Chocolate: Sip your way around the city with the warmth of the Hot Chocolate Festival on until February 14th

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks have returned from the road to host Buffalo Sabres at Rogers Arena on Thursday evening

Drama: Pi Theatre, in association with PuSh Festival, presents the Canadian debut of David Greig’s play The Events, about 2011 attacks in Norway, on stage until January 28 at Russian Hall.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams Photo: Mariana Zappet and Emilano Leyva

Puppets: Presentation House Theatre and Marionetas de la Esquina reimagines the classic Sleeping Beauty in a contemporary take, performed by puppets from January 26 to February 4.

Theatre: The Arts Club picks up their season for 2018 with Topdog/Underdog playing at the Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre until February 11th and Jitters at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage starts previews January 25

Pitch:  Rugby Canada takes to the pitch at BC Place to host Uruguay in Rugby World Cup qualification, Saturday afternoon

Fly: In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Fly Over Canada once again presents a double-bill of Flight of the Dragon, along with the regular Fly Over Canada experience, for a limited time, only until February 18th.

5 Winter Events to close the Festive Season

Happy New Year! While we are already into 2018, the lead up to the Holidays is sometime so busy we don’t have time to take in all the festive events. Here’s a few seasonal winter events that you can still catch for a few more weeks:

Beauty and the Beast at Stanley TheatreDisney’s Beauty and the Beast – The Arts Club Theatre Company presents a brilliant adaptation of Disney’s ‘tale as old as time’. Fun for the whole family as Belle and The Beast are supported by Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and others at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until January 13th – Tickets online at artsclub.com

Lights at Lafarge – Coquitlam’s Winter Light Festival is the largest free light display in the Lower Mainland, Town Centre Park is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of lights, with roving performers, hot chocolate & cookies all just steps from Lafarge Lake – Douglas Skytrain Station, making this one of the most easily accessible winter events. Continuing until January 21st, 2018 – Free Admission

Chinese Lantern FestivalVancouver Chinese Lantern Festival – the PNE features the largest festival of its kind in Canada. One of the most beautiful and culturally significant festivals lights up the night with dozens of spectacular gossamer lanterns, some reaching nearly 200 feet in length, transforming the 14 acres of Hastings Park, running until January 21, 2018. – Admission $19 online

Canyon Lights Winter Festival at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park continues until January 28th, 2018. Thousands of lights spread throughout the Park, the bridge, Treetops Adventures, with 8 of the tallest living Christmas Tree. – All-day Adult park admission is $42.95, includes the holiday activities, crafts and entertainment beginning at 4pm each day.

Robson Square Ice Rink – hit the ice for some old-fashioned outdoor winter fun, all-ages can lace up and enjoy the free skating experience at Robson Square. Until February 28, 2018, open from 9am to 9pm Sunday – Thursday and 9am to 11pm Friday – Saturday.  Skating is free, skate rentals are $4 (last rental, 30 minutes prior to closing)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast roars into Arts Club

Who doesn’t start humming the tune and lyrics … ‘tale as old as time’ when they think about Disney’s Beauty and the Beast?  The Arts Club Theatre brings the beloved tale back to the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage for the holiday season for the first time since 2008.  Bill Millerd direct his final holiday show in his final year as Artistic Director of The Arts Club. The Beast, Belle, Gaston, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs Potts and all the other characters you love from the animated Disney classic, bring the music and story, based on the French fairy tale, to the stage.

The smaller Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage creates a more intimate show than other productions of Beauty and The Beast, that I’ve seen.  The intimacy brings a new life to the production, making us all feel like we’re a one of the villagers observing this love story about tolerance and acceptance of your own and other’s differences.  The peculiar girl named Belle is brilliantly played by Shannon Chan-Kent, whose voice fills the room with its power and precision.  With a powerful Belle, The Beast has to be even stronger to be both menacing, sensitive and balance her vocals, Jonathan Winsby definitely fits the bill.  It’s easy to see and hear why he’s played The Beast so often in his career, even behind the heavy mask he brings, humour, charm and compassion to the Beast.   The Beast’s castle is also filled with other lively characters, slowing becoming inanimate, lead by Shawn Macdonald’s officious Cogsworth, Peter Jorgensen’s randy Lumiere and Susan Anderson’s motherly Mrs Potts.  In the village, Belle’s father is the local legend Bernard Cuffling but the real stand out in the production is Kamyar Pazandeh who has managed to create an over-the-top Gaston that is the spitting image of the animated version, physically and vocally Kamyer knocks it out of the theatre.

Being nearly a decade since the last production, Alison Green has created a brand new dynamic set that fills the stage and seamlessly moves action and cast from town to woods to castle.  Scott Augustine adapts the original choreography of Valerie Easton, to this new set and staging.  Easton’s late daughter Amy Wallis was the original Belle and this production is dedicated in the memory of Amy.

If this production wasn’t already top notch, watching the number of children mesmerized by seeing their favourite characters come to life, adds even more to the show for us adults.  Go see it with the whole family!

Disney’s Beauty and The Beast is now playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. The show is so popular, The Arts Club has already extended the run, now playing until January 13, 2018.  For information and tickets visit artsclub.com

Arts Club remounts hit play Onegin for 2017.

Last season, The Arts Club Theatre Company debuted Onegin, an ambitious new work based on the verse Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky.   This season, the cast remains the same but the home of Onegin changes to Granville Island for a run until December 31st.

Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille have written the book, music, and lyrics that covers all the emotions in the two hour show; light-hearted comedy, romance, drama, tragedy.  The musical is mostly sung-through with very little dialogue and most of that dialogue is directed at the audience, when the players break the fourth wall. The pop-rock infused songs are strong enough to stand alone, and with the band (Jennifer Moersch, Barry Mirochnick & Marguerite Witvoet) onstage throughout, suggest the whole show could be performed in concert without set or costumes and still be brilliant.  However, Drew Facey’s set filled with chandeliers, books and candles and Jacqueline Firkins’ Imperial Russian costumes do great work to place Onegin in 19th century St. Petersburg, Russia.

The whole theatre is the stage as players regularly step into the aisles to interact and bring the audience even closer to the production.  Sharing laughter, drinks, chit chat and passing notes, the casual atmosphere is like a visit with friends that you don’t want to end, the two hour show passes all too quickly.  In their second season in these roles the actors and characters mesh as one, allowing them to deliver the adlibs and scripted lines with equal comfort.  The cast is filled with veterans of Vancouver stage and screen and no one performer stands out because they are all equally brilliant in delivering one of the best new shows that has crossed our stages in recent years.

Onegin plays at The Arts Club Theatre’s Granville Island Stage until December 31, 2017.  Visit artsclub.com for tickets and more information.