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.

30th Annual Vancouver International Writer’s Festival

The Vancouver International Writer’s Festival (VIWF) opened this week for the 30th edition of the renowned festival of the written word.  In this age of quick and instant media the full house at Performance Works on opening night proved that readers and writers are still going strong.

While the Writer’s Festival holds events all year around, the marquis program runs from October 16th to 22nd, 2017, when more than 110 authors takepart in over 95 events. all over Granville Island.  The Festival has events for all walks of life and all ages.  Non-Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Children, Youth literature and more all take the leap from the page to the stage.

Past writers in attendance have included; Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley, John Irving, Robbie Robertson, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro, Ian Rankin, J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Frank McCourt.  Every year readers find new discoveries to add to their libraries and share with their book clubs, families and friends. Who will you find this year? Find out which events still have tickets online at writersfest.bc.ca

Beyond the festival special events continue through the fall, including Waiting For First Light, an Evening with Romeo Dallaire on November 16th, and A Newfoundlander in Canada, musician and writer Alan Doyle discusses his new book on November 20th.

 

 

Bring On Tomorrow Co brings us 13: The Musical

L to R: Julian Lokash (Archie), Julia Mclean (Patrice), Graham Verchere (Evan), Jason Sakaki (Brett), Kyra Leroux (Kendra), Michelle Creber (Lucy)
Photo Credit: Anita Alberto

Bring On Tomorrow Co. is thrilled to present Jason Robert Brown’s 13: The Musical, the hilarious and charming Broadway hit about growing up.  It’s a musical everyone can relate to, we’ve all been teenagers.

Uniquely, 13: The Musical features a cast comprised completely of teenagers, the original Broadway run featured a number of now familiar names making their professional debuts like Ariana Grande, Elizabeth Gillies, Eric Nelson and others who have gone on to establish careers in TV, Broadway and Music.  This local production features a fresh cast of teen actors who are already making names for themselves on stage and screen.

“When 13: The Musical made its 2008 debut – as the first-ever Broadway show to feature an all-teenage cast – audiences were taken with its young stars”, says director Chris Adams. “Having teens play teen characters was a winning decision for its creators: no one can better convey an authentic youth’s perspective than those on the front lines of adolescence. In the same spirit, our production showcases some of Vancouver’s most accomplished performers age 18 and under. We can’t wait to unveil their collective magic as they light up the stage.”

With a book written by acclaimed young adult novelist Dan Elish with TV producer & writer Robert Horn, 13: The Musical is set in the uncertain days of middle school, the clever coming of age story follows 12-year-old Evan Goldman who is abruptly yanked from his New York City life in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. Transplanted to small town Indiana, Goldman finds himself navigating the popularity pecking order, while planning what he hopes will be an epic Bar Mitzvah attended by all the ‘cool kids.’ Amidst love-triangle debacles and matchmaker fiascos, Evan eventually gives up the angst-filled chase for ‘it’ crowd status and marks his first step into adulthood among his real friends.
Take a look at the trailer for Bring On Tomorrow Co’s 13: The Musical

13: The Musical runs September 28 – October 1 and October 4 – 8 at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island.
Tickets are onsale now from Bring On Tomorrow Co.

Fringe Festival 2017 Brings Theatre to Everyone

The 2017 edition of Vancouver Fringe Festival gets underway September 7th inviting everyone to partake in 11 days of theatre.  Since 1985, Vancouver Fringe Festival has celebrated theatre of all kinds.

Uniquely, the Fringe Festival employs an everyone is welcome selection process, drawing the mainstage performance out of a hat. All artists from novice performers to veteran theatre companies,  have the chance to participate, and receive 100% of the box-office revenue during the festival.
Mainstage shows centre around Granville Island at the Revue Stage, Performance Works, and Waterfront Theatre. Other shows in the BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) category allow artists to stage their performances in unique and different venues.

With more than 100 performances over the 11 days it can be hard to select your personal program so on the evening prior to opening, join The Georgia Straight Fringe-For-All, September 6th at 8pm, a two hour performance featuring fast and furious two minute tasters to whet your appetite and help you choose your picks of the Fest.

More than just theatre, Music is part of Fringe at the Big Rock Brewery Fringe Bar located at Ocean Art Works (outside the Ocean Concrete on Granville Island) offering music performances every night, with no cover.

Vancouver Fringe Festival takes place September 7 – 17, 2017, in various venues around the city.  Explore the Vancouver Fringe Festival guide and book passes and tickets by visiting vancouverfringe.com

 

Eternal Theatre Collective presents 13 the Musical

Do you remember what it was like to be 13?  Fitting in, the braces, the relationship troubles, the bar mitzvahs?

All this comes to the stage as Eternal Theatre Collective (ETC) presents their first musical ever: 13, Jason Robert Brown’s acclaimed Broadway musical 13, which explores the life of an adolescent boy thrust from the bright lights of New York to the lamest place in the world: Appleton, Indiana. Evan Goldman’s life has just gone to hell. Due to his parents’ divorce, he is forced from the life he knows and loves and made to move cities – and only a few months before his 13th birthday! With his bar mitzvah coming up, Evan needs it to go well – after all, it’s the most important time of his life. All he wants is for the cool kids to come to his party, but small-town kids are a little bit different from the big city dwellers Evan knows, and that might be a little bit more difficult than expected.  These teenage angst are all set against an unforgettable pop-rock score from Tony-Award winning composer, Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years, Bridges of Madison County).

Exploring the transition from boyhood to manhood, 13 the Musical is perfect for families of all ages. 13 also explores issues surrounding disability and bullying in early adolescences, and features a prominent character afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Just as 13 is a musical about fitting in – and standing out, the Eternal Theatre Collective is a company composed entirely of outstanding young people.  Founded in 2015, ETC’s board members, designers, actors, and directors are all aged 13 – 25. Since incorporation, ETC has produced four productions including two cabarets and four short plays written by young people. ETC is committed to supporting young artists and giving them the experience they need to further their talent and get their names into the professional world.

13 the Musical from ETC plays at the Revue Stage on Granville Island August 9 – 12, 2017.
Tickets are on sale now
Youth tickets: $17
General tickets: $22

This Is Our Youth at Red Gate Revue Stage

photo: Ken Thorne

This Is Our Youth is the debut production by the fledgling Mid Twenties  Theatre Society as well as the directorial debut of its founder Beau Han Bridge.  Now playing at the Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island, This Is Our Youth is a play by American playwright and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan.  Since its stage debut in 1996, This Is Our Youth has been staged numerous times over the years, off and on Broadway, in the West End and around the world.

photo: Ken Thorne

While there is reference to the President, updated to President Trump, from its original Reagan era setting, the play doesn’t feel dated, in spite of it being written two decades ago.  Set wholly within Dennis Zeigler’s New York studio apartment, This Is Our Youth is a weekend in the lives of an early-twenties trio; Dennis, Warren Staub and Jessica Goldman.  The play mostly surround the awkward and dynamic friendship between Dennis and Warren, but Jessica Goldman, the object of Warren’s clumsy amourous advances, also stops in and out in each of the two acts.   At two hours, including short intermission, the oft-intense interaction between Dennis and Warren, Warren and Jessica plus the simple staging keeps the play move quickly.

photo: Ken Thorne

All three of the players were perfect in capturing the angst and intensity of the characters.  Zack Currie brilliantly portrays the frenetic energy and intensity of drug-dealer Dennis’ often verbal diarrhea of random thoughts on life and how he interacts with others.  Warren Staub is brought to life by Quinn Hinch in a turn that balances Warren’s sheltered innocence and desire to get out from under his parents and the burden of memory of his deceased sister. Mackenzie Cardwell provides Jessica, someone who always wants to have the last word, with the protective wall of her argumentative personality while maintaining the arrogance of youth.  This trio can more than hold their own against the impressive line up of respected actors who have previously played these roles like; Jake Gyllenhaal, Matt Damon, Michael Cera, Anna Pacquin to name a few.

Even though situations, styles and cultures may shift everyone should be able to relate to the themes in This Is Our Youth; finding your way from childhood to adulthood, balancing being your parent’s child and being your own person, and how to make your mark in the world.

If this debut is the way they’ll proceed, Mid Twenties Theatre Society has a bright future ahead of them.

This Is Our Youth continues at Red Gate Revue Stage on Granville Island; tonight July 17, 19, 21-23. Nightly at 7pm with 3pm matinees Saturday and Sunday. Visit mtstheatre.com for tickets.
*Audience Warning: the play includes graphic language and drug use including non-toxic smoke

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.