Disney’s Newsies Seize The Day & Hearts at TUTS 2019

After soaking rain all day, the skies cleared just in time for Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) opening night of Disney’s Newsies, of the 2019 season.

The cast of Disney’s Newsies photo: Lindsay Elliott

The stars, moon and birds came out to help Disney’s Newsies reach for the sky. Starting from their ‘penthouse in the sky’ the production is packed with thrilling dance numbers, soaring tunes and a timeless (and timely) message for the whole family. Based on the 1992 movie musical, Disney’s Newsies is inspired by the real-life New York Newsboys Strike of 1899. In New York City an army of ragged orphans and runaways called ‘newsies’ delivered the ‘papes’ but when newspaper owners raise distribution prices at the newsies’ expense, the newsies unites and rally other child labourers to strike against the unfair and unsafe conditions. Battling the owners and their manipulation of the news, the newsies contend with corruption, prejudices and fake news.

Julia Ullrich as “Katherine Plumber” and Adam Charles as “Jack Kelly.” photo: Lindsay Elliott

The Disney’s Newsies cast is lead by a brilliant Adam Charles, playing Jack Kelly the charismatic leader of the newsies. Cole Smuland plays Crutchie, Jack’s crutch-wielding best friend and fellow newsie. Joined by Daniel Curalli and Jordyn Bennett as Davey and Les Jacobs, sibling newsies also befriended by Jack, with Davey helping unionise their fellow newsies.  Jovanni Sy makes his TUTS debut as publishing magnate Joseph Pulitzer and Julia Ullrich returns for her third season as young journalist, Katherine Plumber who reports on the newsies’ strike and strikes Jack’s fancy.

Front Row L-R: Daniel Curalli as “Davey Jacobs,” Adam Charles as “Jack Kelly,” Caitlin McMaster as Ensemble Member, plus the cast of Disney’s Newsies photo: Lindsay Elliott

Anthemic and inspiring songs like; Seize The Day, King of New York, Santa Fe, Carrying the Banner, and The World Will Know, help the newsies win over the audience to their cause. Just as the film was choreographer Kenny Ortega’s directorial debut, award-winning choreographer/dancer Julie Tomaino makes her TUTS directorial debut as well as choreographing the productions stunning dance segments. In addition, Fight Directors Mike Kovac and Ryan Mcneill Bolton, have created intricate dance-like brawls that make you root for the newsies even more. Just as Jack and the other newsies find their confidence, the productions moves from strength to strength leaving the audience ready to get up and seize the day!

Disney’s Newsies plays on alternating nights with Mamma Mia! at Theatre Under The Stars in Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park until August 17th, find showtimes and tickets online at tuts.ca

TUTS 2019 Opens with Mamma Mia!

With rain clouds hanging overhead, guests at Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) had a hard time seeing the stars on opening night of Mamma Mia!. However, a little rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the ABBA-inspired musical, directed by TUTS veteran, Shel Piercy.

Donna & The Dynamos
Front Row L-R: Lori Ashton Zondag as “Tanya,” Caitriona Murphy as “Donna Sheridan,” Sheryl Anne Wheaton as “Rosie.”
photo: Lindsay Elliott

Set on a Greek Isle, at the Summer Nights Taverna at Villa Donna, run by former rock chick, Donna Sheridan (Caitriona Murphy). Mamma Mia! centres on Donna’s daughter Sophie (Keira Jang) wedding to Sky (Joshua Lalisan) and her quest to discover herself by finding her father. Instead, she find a possible three fathers, Harry Bright played by Stefan Winfield , Matt Ramer as Bill Austin, and Peter Monaghan as Sam Carmichael. Along the way, a frazzled, emotional Donna is supported by her besties and former bandmates from “Donna and the Dynamos” Rosie (Sheryl Anne Wheaton) and Tanya (Lori Ashton Zondag).

“Wait 20 years for a dad, then 3 come along at once” Front Row L-R: Stefan Winfield as “Harry Bright,” Peter Monaghan as “Sam Carmichael,” Chris M. Ward as “Pepper,” Matt Ramer as “Bill Austin.” photo: Lindsay Elliott

Always a crowd favourite, the sing-along friendly, fun-filled musical comes with few surprises for most, but those who have only experienced the movie will find a different order and more music packed into the 2.5 hour production. ‘Dancing Queen,’ ‘Take a Chance on Me,’ ‘Super Trouper,’ ‘SOS’, ‘Waterloo’ and more fan faves keep the audience entranced! The only small question-mark was a decision by the production to have a number of the characters speaking, and singing, in different accents seemed unnecessary and distracting, as some actors appeared to stumble over their drifting accent.

The cast of Mamma Mia! photo: Lindsay Elliott

In typical Vancouverite fashion the rain didn’t seem to bother the audience, TUTS handed out rain-ponchos for those without rain gear. Francesca Albertazzi’s beautiful set really felt like Greek taverna with a sunny piazza had come to life on stage, and made us forget the rain. The weather did appear to cause an adjustment to the stage blocking, with the ensemble trying to stay under the covered area of the stage the set seemed a bit crowded during the large production numbers.

As the saying goes, come rain, come shine, the show must go on, and the company of Mamma Mia! certainly did put on a show to entertain the audience and bring a bit of Mediterranean sun to a dreary Wet Coast evening.

Mamma Mia! plays on alternating nights with Disney’s Newsies at Theatre Under The Stars in Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park until August 17th, find showtimes and tickets online at tuts.ca

Che Malambo steps into Vogue Theatre

CheDrummermiddleVancouver is preparing for a thunderous performance by powerhouse all-male Argentinian dance company, Che Malambo. 

Malambo, which began in the 17th century, as a competitive outlet between South American gauchos (cowboy), is a dynamic step dance blending precision footwork and rhythmic stomping (Zapeteo), drumming of traditional Bombos, whirling Boleadoras and song that is at the heart of the Gaucho tradition.

The 14-gaucho Che Malambo is exciting audiences across North America with their first tour, a spectacle of drumming, foot stomping dance and music, created by world-renowned choreographer and former dancer, Gilles Brinas.  Brinas was inspired by the rich tradition of the dance and created Che Malambo in 2007 to bring the traditional dance to audiences world-wide. After a successful 2015 run in New York City, Che Malambos is on its first North American tour.

Vancouver’s Caravan World Rhythms brings Che Malambo! Direct from Argentina to the Vogue Theatre stage for one night only May 20th.  Tickets are available now at Highlife Records and Banyan Books or online at caravanbc.com 

Broken Sex Doll at The Cultch

1 - 322 - Greg Armstrong-Morris and Neezar in Broken Sex Doll - Photography By Scott MunnThe Virtual Stage’s Broken Sex Doll returns to The Cultch, York Theatre, this November, bringing sci-fi musical comedy fun to break up the dreary, dark days.

After a sold out run last year, the 2014 tour of Broken Sex Doll is now bigger and better, filled with singing, sex and robots.   Director Andy Thompson says, “Putting this new production together has afforded me the opportunity to refine the show in a number of areas. The goal has been to create a world-class touring version of the musical of the highest possible caliber that we can pack up and take anywhere. The touring cast is an exciting mix of top-notch professionals, and some of the hottest emerging musical theatre talent on the West Coast.”

The multiple award winning show runs November 12 – 22, 2014 at The York Theatre, 639 Commercial Drive. After its run, the show tours the North and returns to the Lower Mainland for a December run in Coquitlam.

Tickets for Broken Sex Doll at just $19 from The Cultch box office.  Note: the show features Mature themes and due to liquor licensing minors are not permitted to evening performances

Vancouver Christmas Market crowns first X-Mas Factor Winner

The X-Mas FactorThe Vancouver Christmas Market added a new feature for its 3rd year, X-Mas Factor, a talent competition showcasing Vancouver’s undiscovered talent. Frankie Cena has been crowned the first X-Mas Factor winner during Saturday’s Finale,  with his rendition of “Grown Up Christmas List”. Runner-up prizes were awarded to Monica Song, who sang “This Christmas”, and Stephen Scaccia, singing “Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)”.

Every Friday since the Vancouver Christmas Market opened November 24th, contestants have competed in the X-Mas Factor to reach the Finale. The Grand Prize, valued over $5000, included artist development, social media startup, graphic design, a photo shoot, styling by a Vancouver fashion designer, and a fully mixed and mastered recording of a song of the winner’s choice. The prizing from Studio Cloud 30 Entertainment and its affiliated sponsors (Jamie Kuse of Creativ Studios, Widejko Photography, Fashion Designer Carlie Wong, BigChip Media, and Invasion Media) is focused on advancing the finalist’s musical career. The two runners up receive a pared down artist development package courtesy of Studio Cloud 30.

There are just two days left to enjoy the 2012 Vancouver Christmas Market on the Plaza at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Vancouver Christmas Market asks. Do you have Xmas-Factor?

The Holidays and music go hand-in-hand, Christmas music and singing carols are part of the fun. This year the Vancouver Christmas Market invites you to take your vocal musings away from the office party and out to the Market Stage.

The X-Mas Factor is a new singing competition asking Vancouverites to showcase their vocal talent by interpreting a classic holiday songs. The contest will have you jingling all the way to Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza for this delightful holiday season attraction. The X-Mas Factor is being brought to the Vancouver Christmas Market by Studio Cloud 30 Entertainment, a for-artists, by-artists music and talent development hub founded by R&B recording artist Warren Dean Flandez.

The first performers will take to the stage on the opening evening of the Vancouver Christmas Market on November 24th at 6pm to kick off the X-Mas Factor competition. From then on, every Friday during the Market contestants will showcase their interpretation of Christmas classics at 6pm and vie for the Grand Prize: a studio recording and talent development package valued at over $5000, courtesy of Studio Cloud 30 Entertainment and their affiliated sponsors.  While the competition is based on reinventing a holiday classic, the video submission can be of any song that showcases the singer’s talent and does not have to be Christmas-themed The deadline for submissions is November 23rd.

To sign up, visit vancouverchristmasmarket.com/xmas-factor.php.