Mary Poppins flies into Theatre Under The Stars

The 2017 Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) season got under this week with the opening of Mary Poppins.  A summer tradition for over seventy years, TUTS brings another great family favourite musical to Malkin Bowl.

Mary & Bert with Jane & Michael Banks
photo: Tim Matheson

One of the most beloved Disney movies of all time comes to the stage as Mary Poppins the Musical.  Like the original film, Mary Poppins the Musical is loosely based on P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins books. However, this Cameron Mackintosh – Disney theatrical production returns some characters from the original books and drops others from the film.  A combination of songs from the Disney film and new pieces move the story along, in a new order and with new set pieces.

As often with TUTS productions, directed by Theatre Under The Stars veteran Shel Piercy, this version of Mary Poppins the Musical includes a large cast and company.  Lead by Ranae Miller as the magical nanny Mary Poppins, and Victor Hunter as jack-of-all-trades Bert, cast stand outs include the entire Banks family, Lalainia Lindbjerg-Strelau adds an emotional turn as Mrs Banks, the matriarch looking for her place and position in society and her family. In contrast, Russell Roberts as Mr George Banks adds the burden of being the master and breadwinner for the family.   Lola Marshall as Jane and Nolen Dubuc as Michael, the much in need of a nanny, Banks children are stand outs. Both young players have great tone and blend together perfectly in many of their harmonized songs as well they maintain their accents better than some of the adult actors.  This Mary Poppins story shifts the focus a bit more to the growth and development of the whole Banks family, making all of them more central than in the film.

Mary & Bert on a Jolly Holiday
photo: Tim Matheson

Since Mary Poppins must share the Malkin Bowl stage with The Drowsy Chaperone (on alternate nights) the stage has to be less permanent than in some other stagings. Set designer Brian Ball has created an imaginative set that takes us seamlessly through the songbook; from the Banks family residence; upstairs (Cherry Tree Lane), downstairs (A Spoonful of Sugar) and up to the rooftops (Chim Chim Cher-ee), then to the park (Let’s Go Fly A Kite), and George’s workplace at the bank (Precision and Order) or the steps of St Paul’s (Feed The Birds).  Along the way intricate choreography and prop work make full use of the 30+ cast to create some stunning showstopper numbers that are worth seeing the show for on their own; Jolly Holiday pays special homage to the Disney film’s animation with a pair of penguins joining the dance at Bert’s feet.  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, now taking place at Mrs Corry’s Shop, becomes a technicolour dance extravaganza, and Step In Time is a high-kicking romp across the rooftops of London.

Even if you’ve seen the film or another live musical production, this Theatre Under The Stars production of Mary Poppins the Musical is a Practically Perfect, (to borrow from Mary’s intro song), evening at the theatre.

Theatre Under The Stars presents Mary Poppins The Musical on alternating evenings at Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park until August 18, 2017. Tickets available online at

A showstopper Jolly Holiday
photo: Tim Matheson

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 from $30 – $49

TUTS – West Side Story


Theatre Under The Stars has returned to Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park for its 76th season, with West Side Story and Beauty And The Beast alternating nights until August 20th.


Tony & Maria
Tony & Maria

West Side Story, is filled with so many iconic songs by Leonard Berstein (score) and Stephen Sondheim (lyrics), that the story, based on Romeo and Juliet, can seem incidental.  Jets Song, Maria, Tonight, America, I Feel Pretty, Somewhere, Gee Officer Krumpke all elicit great cheer and humming along.  Director Sarah Rodgers weaves the story, songs and dance successfully to create this TUTS production.

Anita & Maria
Anita & Maria

Even if some of the book tends to be a bit dated, the story of racial tensions and public and police prejudices resonates with today’s headlines.   Riff played by Daniel James White leads The Jets against Alen Dominquez as Bernardo and The Sharks, both believably angry in their loathing of the other.  With White easily carrying the weight of the chip on his shoulder for the first act.

Matt Montgomery’s Tony, trying to get out of the gang life, has an engaging stage presence and nice vocals (although not pitch-perfect throughout), that shows he’s one to watch in future.  The same can be said for the wide-eyed innocence and powerful vocals of Jennifer Gillis as Maria.  With a range like Kristin Chenoweth, there are moments of perfect harmony and chemistry between the star-crossed lovers.   As Anita, the quality and experience of Alexandra Lainfiesta shines especially in her showpiece America and her emotional torment later in the second act.
With up to 35 cast members onstage and the conductor pit encroaching into the middle, there are times that the choreography feels crowded but the cast recreate Jerome Robbins’ stylistic original choreography, successfully mirrored by choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg.  Brian Ball’s simple but creative industrial set design multitasks as the various locations while allowing the actors to take centerstage.

Theatre Under The Star’s West Side Story, provides an emotional but uplifting evening of song and dance.  West Side Story plays alternate odd evenings at 8pm at Theatre Under The Stars in Malkin Bowl.

Theatre Under The Stars 2016 Season

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) invites audiences to and enchanted summer as they fall in love with the timeless classics Disney’s Beauty and the Beast & West Side Story, running July 6 – August 20, 2016 at StanleyPark’s Malkin Bowl.

On alternating evenings, audiences will be swept away by these tales as old as time – the beloved fairytale brimming with magic and mystery, and the Romeo & Juliet inspired story of forbidden love in the unforgiving streets of 1950’s New York.  Since 1940, TUTS has been bringing together the best of musical theatre with one of the most spectacular settings in Vancouver. Even after three quarters of a century, TUTS is still as popular as ever.

“The summer of 2015 was our most successful on record: We welcomed more audiences out to the Malkin Bowl than at any point in our long history,” says Naveen Kapahi, TUTS Board President. “We are therefore thrilled to announce the return of both of last season’s much celebrated directors! Shel Piercy will follow-up his beloved Oliver! with the Disney classic, Beauty and the Beast; and Sarah Rodgers, who created 2015’s infectiously fun Hairspray, will direct West Side Story.”

TUTS’ 2016 season features two of Broadway’s most universally acclaimed, smash-hit musicals:

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the first Disney film ever to make the leap to stage. Directed by Shel Piercy and choreographed by Shelley Stewart Hunt, with musical direction by Wendy Bross Stuart. This production features lavish sets, sumptuous costumes, and spectacular musical numbers, including all of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs from the Academy Award-winning film, as well as new songs, written for the stage, by Menken and Tim Rice.

West Side Story is a dynamic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet in the turbulent streets of 1950’s New York.  Directed by Sarah Rodgers, West Side Story features choreography by TUTS newcomer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg (2015 recipient of the Chrystal Dance Prize) with musical direction by Chris D. King.
The production carries on the timeless work created by the dream team of Leonard 
Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Stephen Sondheim, with Jerome Robbins’ famed choreography style and iconic Broadway songbook.

Theatre Under The Stars at Malkin Bowl presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast & West Side Story
Running alternate nights, July 6 to August 20, 2016. All shows at 8pm, except on Fireworks Nights, when shows begin at 7pm

Buy tickets online at or by phone 1-877-840-0457

Levitation Vancouver 2016 Line-Up Announced

Levitation16Next month, the second Levitation Vancouver Festival descends upon Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park and venues around downtown Vancouver.

Since 2008, the original Levitation Austin has grown from a small local event to become an internationally acclaimed multi-day festival. Last year, Levitation Austin creators, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and Timbre Concerts partnered to bring the first Festival to Vancouver.  Levitation Austin was unfortunately cancelled this past weekend due to adverse weather in the South but the 2016 Levitation Vancouver is ready to go on June 16 – 19,

Daytime shows happen at the Malkin Bowl stage in Stanley Park and nighttime shows hit the Rickshaw, Colbalt and Imperial. Bands hitting the stages include; Of Montreal, White Lung, Dead Ghost, Three Oh Sees, The Growlers, Holy F*ck, Nina Mendoza, Aquanaut and many more

2-Day Passes for Malkin Bowl are $165. Visit to check out the whole line-up and get tickets.

Give the Gift of Theatre this Valentine’s Day.

photo (4)In honour of Valentine’s coming up this week, Vancouver’s Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) has a special treat to offer your loved one. Dinner and a Show is always a great romantic evening, and seeing a show at Malkin Bowl is always a lovely summer night.
Until midnight February 14th, get a great discounted rate on the 2014 TUTS seasons pass  and an added bonus $10 gift card from White Spot with your tickets.
The TUTS Season pass includes 4 ticket vouchers that can be redeemed all for one show or split between both shows.  The Season Pass also includes Rain Insurance on each of the tickets, which allows a one-time change to your booked tickets without added fees.

The 2014 TUTS Season includes a return engagement of last summer’s hit show Legally Blonde, called one of the ten best shows of 2013 by The Georgia Straight, and new for 2014 is Shrek: The Musical, based on the DreamWorks Film and directed by Ovation Award winner Sarah Rodgers.

Picks Of The Week – July 10, 2013

Special Summer ConcertsSummer is heating up and so are the fun activities. Here’s a few for this week!

Stage:  Malkin Bowl is a perfect setting for a summer evening of theatre, Theatre Under The Stars gets underway for another season with Legally Blonde and How To Succeed In Business alternating nights from now until August 17th.

Ball: The boys of summer, Vancouver Canadians are in a 5 game home stand against Boise Hawks, including a fireworks extravaganza night on Saturday July 13th

Show: After a day on the rides stick around the PNE for an outdoor show by City & Colour at the Amphitheatre

Street: Taking over 10 blocks and featuring 50 bands Khatsahlano Music & Arts Festival brings West 4th Avenue in Kitsalano to life on Saturday July 13 from 11am –  9pm

Soul: Friday July 12, celebrate East Van Soul Club‘s fifth anniversary at The Biltmore Cabaret and get your soul filled with soul music!

Play: Spend Saturday July 13th with Vancouver Pride Society at GayDay at Playland, take in the rides all day and enjoy a special Pride Festival barbeque and performances at the PNE Lagoon.

Special: Saturday afternoon at 1pm until 9pm the second Special Summer Concert takes place, this time at New Brighton Park, a concert featuring local musicians and DJs organized by Vancouver Urban Spaces Initiative (VUSI)

Soccer: Sunday July 14th, Whitecaps FC hope to continue their unbeaten streak as they host Chicago Fire at BC Place Stadium at 4pm

On Sale: Tickets for some good gigs go on sale this Friday July 12 including a rare show from Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion (Aug 28, Malkin Bowl), back to back shows from The Weeknd (Sep 6-7, Orpheum Theatre), The Pretty Reckless (Oct 16, RIO on Broadway)