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 for tickets and more information.

Vancouver Christmas Concerts for 2017

Christmas has a long association with music;  carols, hymns and cantatas, bringing spirit to the Season’s concerts.  Calendars are filled with school and church concerts, and to help you get in the song-filled spirit, here’s a list of concerts around Vancouver to take in this Season for your listening pleasure:

Handel’s Messiah: Friday December 1 & Saturday December 2, 2017, Vancouver Playhouse
Early Music Vancouver presents Messiah for the first time, with Pacific Baroque Orchestra and Vancouver Cantata Singers.

Kenny G The Miracles Holiday & Hits Tour: December 3, 2017, Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Award winning instrumentalist Kenny G performs some of his biggest hits as well as holiday classics from his best-selling Miracles: The Holiday Album.

A Jann Arden Christmas with the VSO:  Wednesday, December 6, 2017, Orpheum Theatre
Join Canadian pop songstress as she joins the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for an evening of song and her quick wit.

A Traditional Christmas: Friday December 8, Saturday December 9, 2017, Sta Andrew’s Wesley Church, plus dates all around Metro Vancouver through December 17th.
Join the VSO and host Christopher Gaze (Bard on the Beach) for the 25th Anniversary of this Christmas favourite.

Making Spirits Bright with Vancouver Men’s Chorus

Vancouver Men’s Chorus are Making Spirits Bright:

Saturday December 9, Sunday December 10, Thursday December 14, Friday December 15, 2017, St Paul’s Anglican Church
Are you naughty or nice? Doesn’t matter the VMC will entertain you for their lighthearted Christmas concerts.

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir by Leigh Righton.

Good Tidings, a Good Noise Gospel Christmas:  Friday December 15 and Saturday December 16, 2017, Christ Church Cathedral
Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir with special guest vocalist Maureen Washington and the 90 voice choir bring joy of the season.

Christmas with Chor Leoni: Friday December 15 and Monday December 18, 2017, St Andrew’s Wesley Church (twice/night)
A Christmas tradition to gather friends and family together to enjoy old Christmas favourites and encounter new ones as sung by the men’s choir.

Festive Cantatas – Vivaldi – Gloria and Magnificat: Saturday December 23, 2017, Chan Shun Concert Hall at Chan Centre for Performing Arts
Early Music Vancouver presents Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat as they were originally performed, by an all-female ensemble.

Sink or Swim with Beverley Elliott at Gateway Theatre

Sink or Swim with Beverley Elliott

Now playing at Gateway Theatre in Richmond, Sink or Swim is Beverley Elliott’s latest autobiographical one-woman show.  Following on last year’s …didn’t see that coming, the singer/actor/writer is back with more stories from her youth.

In Sink or Swim, Ms Elliott takes us back to rural Ontario and her childhood years.  With the help of musical director/pianist Bill Costin, the actress paints the picture of her 5-6 year old world with such vivid detail that  any of us who grew up in small town Canada recovered memories of our early school days too.  Songs and music helps set the mood and provide the transitions between stories, from selling the family farm, to the first day of school, to summer trips to the lake.  All the tales come with equal doses of wit, charm and emotions, as bonds of family and friends shine throughout Sink or Swim.

Beverley Elliott’s multifaceted talent brings so much to the stage.  The writer, creates engaging, fun, but believable stories to tell.  The actress, brilliantly makes herself ageless and any age, whether the spirited, elderly Granny on Once Upon A Time, a teenager in …didn’t see that coming, or the 5 year old Bev in Sink or Swim.  The singer, brings a range of emotions to the songs throughout her shows, from lively, pop tunes to touching ballads or big, Broadway style numbers.

Beverley Elliott’s Sink or Swim runs until November 25, 2017 in Studio B at Gateway Theatre, for tickets and information visit 

Early Music Vancouver welcomes early opera Orfeo

Chan Centre for Performing Arts

This weekend, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) presented Monteverdi’s Orfeo, at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, at UBC.  Often described as a “game changer” in the history of music, the historic work marks the end of the Renaissance and the beginning of the Baroque. Orfeo was brought to life under the guidance of GRAMMY award-winner and Monteverdi specialist, Stephen Stubbs, leading the singers and musicians of Seattle’s Pacific MusicWorks. This production starred Vancouver’s Colin Balzer, an internationally celebrated tenor in the title role, and also included San Francisco’s Dark Horse Consort, North America’s most respected  17th century wind ensemble.   The surprisingly lively work is a relatively quick 2 hour performance.  Even though this was a performance sung in the original Italian, it was filled with bold performances lead by Balzer’s emotional turn as Orfeo.

Chan Centre for Performing Arts

Monteverdi’s Orpheo follows the Greek musician and demi-god, Orfeo (Orpheus in the original legend), who after losing his beloved Euridice to a snake bite, descends into Hades to use the power of music to convince the god of the underworld, Plutone, to return his beloved to life. Orfeo sings and plays so convincingly that Plutone agrees to grant his request, but on one condition – that he not look back when leading his love out of the darkness. Tragically, Orfeo, wracked by doubt and unable to control his own passion, glances back, condemning his beloved to an eternity in darkness, and Orfeo to a life without love. Returning to the light alone, Orfeo sings one of the most poignant and powerful laments in operatic history, ultimately reaching the ears of his father Apollo, the God of Music. Out of pity for his son, Apollo descends from the heavens to bring Orfeo comfort, thereby restoring balance to the world.

Early Music Vancouver produces a series of classical and choral works throughout the year. Visit for the full calendar and more information.

A Little Night Music lights the Gateway Theatre season

Cast Photo: Emily Cooper

Gateway Theatre’s 2017 / 2018 season got underway this week with a lavish performance of Stephen Sondheim’s classic A Little Night Music.

A co-presentation with Patrick Street Productions, and directed by Peter Jorgensen, the Tony award winning musical is set in Sweden at the turn of the last century.  A tale of romance and class structure,  as characters deal with forbidden lust, infidelity, long-lost loves,  jealousy and reminisce about past liaisons. Through the characters’ trials and tribulations of love Jorgensen lets the comedy of the situations shine through.  The director took inspiration from Ingmar Bergman, the director of the source film of the musical, Smiles of  Summer Night, finding comedy in tragedy.  Patrick Street Productions and Jogensen have added their modern touch to the show with hints of sexual fluidity in the maid Petra’s character.

Kimmel & Wright
photo: Emily Cooper

Led by the always dependable Warren Kimmel as Fredrick Egerman, and Katey Wright as Desiree Armfeldt, who both have the acting and musical talents to all eyes on them when they’re onstage.  The cast also included stand-out turns from Arinea Hermans and Caleb Di Pomponio as Fredrick’s virgin (2nd) bride and his angst-ridden son, Henrick. Nick Fontaine’s Count Carl-Magnus and Lindsay Warnock as his put-upon wife, Countess Charlotte provide scenery chewing comedy performances. Young Elizabeth Irving displays talent beyond her years as Desiree’s daughter, Fredricka.  The capable ensemble rounds out the cast, making the performance light and breezy, in spite of its 2.5 hour run time.  Coming towards the end of the show, the musical gets late energy boost from the famed Send In The Clowns.  Throughout the show, Sondheim’s music, and Hugh Wheeler’s book, share the storytelling duties effortlessly.  Alan Brodie’s simple set and lighting design help to highlight Jessica Bayntun’s lush, period costumes.

Set & Lighting Design by Alan Brodie, photo by Emily Cooper.jpg

Find your own reasons to love and laugh as A Little Night Music continues at Gateway Theatre until October 21st.

Picks of the Week – September 27, 2017

September comes to a close this weekend but not before we find some fun picks of the week

Food: Tonight, eat your way around Westbrook Village and other parts of the Campus on Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates – UBC

Joy: Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy comes to the Vogue Theatre on Wednesday.

Angels: The Arts Club Theatre Company’s 2017-18 season is now underway with Angels In America: Perestroika on stage at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until October 8th.

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks preseason continues at Rogers Arena on Thursday when Calgary Flames come to town.

Movies: The 36th Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) takes over screens around the city from Sept 28 – Oct 13th

Country: Rogers Arena gets a little bit country on Friday as Miranda Lambert takes the stage

Dreams: Friday night, Coldplay brings their A Head Full Of Dreams tour to BC Place.

House: Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sport Centre is the kick off point for DJ house/electronic music producer ZEDD’s Echo Tour 

Photo:  City on Edge: A Century of Vancouver Activism is a new photo-based exhibition display at MOV starting September 28, 2017 to February 18, 2018.

Piano: Ben Folds, brings his piano and voice to Vogue Theatre on Saturday night.

Brunch: Sunday join and dine at the 10th Annual Celebrity Dim Sum at Sheraton Wall Centre, get a great dim sum brunch and help benefit AIDS Vancouver

Arts: This weekend find events and culture in every corner during BC Culture Days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.




VIFF 2017 kicks off September 28

The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) returns to screens around the city from September 28 – October 3, 2017.

For over 35 years, VIFF has brought us hundreds of films from around the world and this year continues to build on that legacy.  Screening international films from over 70 countries, alongside Canadian and BC films VIFF is amongst the top five film festivals in North America.  Keeping up with the times, VIFF restructured last year to showcase new media and include interactive experiences, talks, sessions and other events.
VIFF LIVE is live music, showcasing established and emerging BC artists as well as live score presentations of selected films.
Creator Talks bring the audience face to face for a glimpse behind the scenes with those who create the magic on screen.
Virtual Reality Day transports viewers into the new world of VR and AR.
Buffer Festival collaborates with VIFF for a full day for those who are or want to be YouTube Creators.

Not to be forgotten the array of films presented by VIFF bring the globe to Vancouver.

The 2017 VIFF programming includes the following categories:

Panorama – The world’s boldest creators and their exceptional works. The year’s most anticipated international films and new discoveries curated specifically for VIFF audiences.

Sea to Sky – A showcase of the inspired works emerging from the creative nexus that is British Columbia.

True North – A celebration of the extraordinary creativity and craft being demonstrated by Canadian storytellers from coast to coast.

Impact – Uncompromising films and insightful discussions that spark action and change the way we see the world.

Next – Interactive screen-based experiences, talks and sessions with creative leaders designed to educate and inspire public and professional attendees alike.

Gateway – Journey into the compelling cinematic worlds envisioned by some of East Asia’s most adventurous artists.

M/A/D – Music, art and design receive their deserved big-screen treatment in this aesthetically alluring stream that’s enhanced by exhibitions and live performances.

ALT – Genre-bending features that defy traditional classification and creators who push short form storytelling to its limits

VIFF opens September 28 and continues until October 3, 2017.
Memberships, festival passes and single tickets are available now online at