Picks of the Week – January 9, 2019

The holidays have past but still a few remnants of the season live on to keep up feeling a bit festive into January

Lake: This week is the last to visit Harrison Hot Springs Village’s Lights on the Lake sasquatch-themed illuminations.

Lights: Hop the Millenium SkyTrain Line to Lafarge-Douglas Station and enjoy the last weeks of Metro Vancouver’s largest winter light display – Lights at Lafarge until January 20th.

Laughs:  with a new year, comes a new venue for Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe, as they move Queerprov Fruit Bowl  to The Junctioni for an evening of laughter tonight, Jan 9th

Bowie: The 4th Annual Bowie Ball – A Celebration of the Life & Music of David Bowie brings an evening of bands benefitting the Canadian Cancer Society to the Rickshaw Theatre on Saturday night

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks return to home ice, hosting Arizona Coyotes, on Thursday January 10th

Soul: British alternative R&B singer NAO takes the stage at The Vogue Theatre on Saturday with her funky vocals

The Full Light Of Day
photo: Don Lee

Electric: The Electric Company Theatre, in association with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, presents the world premiere of a provocative new work, The Full Light of Day, at the Vancouver Playhouse from January 7 – 12

Comedy: Just For Laughs Presents Bert Kreischer – Body Shots World Tour for two shows at The Vogue Theatre on Sunday, at 7pm and 9:30pm

Improv: Beat those post-Holiday blahs by beating it with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

Warriors: Saturday night at Rogers Arena, Vancouver Warriors Lacrosse host the Saskatchewan Rush.

Country: Before it takes off on a USA Tour, get a preview of the story behind country music’s biggest love story as Kitty Night Productions Johnny and June a toe tappin’ musical story of June and Johnny Cash on January 12th at Biltmore Cabaret

 

 

The Sun Will Come Out when Annie takes the stage

Cast of Align Entertainment’s Annie
photo: Emily Cooper

The Sun Will Come Out when Align Entertainment presents the positively perky adventures of everyone’s favourite little orphan. Annie takes the stage at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby, February 1–16, 2019.  Following the successful fall production of A Christmas Story: The Musical, Align Entertainment closes the 2018/2019 season with the story of that plucky, optimistic red-haired 11-year-old, Annie.

The Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, throwing into sharp relief the beauty of the spirited character’s hopefulness in dire times. Featuring a fresh cast of young local talent, the production is a heart-warming antidote to the long grey days of winter.

Annie is a touching and timeless musical with a strong core message that money can’t buy you happiness,” says director and co-producer Chad Matchette. “Oliver Warbucks is the richest man in the country and yet his life is unfulfilled until he meets Annie. This delightful little girl reminds us about the power of love and inspires people to hold onto their dreams against all odds.”

The original Broadway production from 1977 is based on Harold Gray’s widely read comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The 1924 comic was popular for its poignant political commentary, and subsequent adaptations maintained this feature. The story follows the adventures of Annie, who longs to find the parents who left her as a baby on the steps of a New York City orphanage. Tired of matron Miss Hannigan’s cruelty, Annie escapes into the city and befriends the abandoned but loveable mutt Sandy. Upon her return, she is selected to spend Christmas with local billionaire Oliver Warbucks. He is soon won over by her bright outlook and even introduces her to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Along the way, Annie helps inspire the New Deal, learns the truth about her parents, and finds a loving home to call her own.  

Annie played by Camryn Macdonald
photo: Emily Cooper

With a book by Thomas Meehan (The Producers, Hairspray) and lyrics by Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie), Annie earned seven Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards, and brought the world the iconic songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and others. Align Entertainment’s production brings the musical to life with a live 12-piece orchestra under the direction of Kevin Woo and a talented ensemble of a dozen young actors, who were selected from auditions by more than 100 children. 

Several cast members will be making their Align Entertainment debut, including the bright-eyed Camryn Macdonald (Veruca in Delta Youth Theatre’s Willy Wonka Jr.) in the role of Annie and Arne Larsen (Dom Claude Frollo in Secondary Characters’ The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as Oliver Warbucks. Erin Matchette (Mrs. Schwartz in Align’s A Christmas Story) will play Miss Hannigan, and Laura Cowan (Fairy Godmother in Theatre Under the Stars’ Cinderella) will be Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ assistant who first finds Annie. Next week, Align Entertainment begins the Search for Sandy, auditions for the real dog to fill the role of Sandy the dog. If you think your pooch can fill the role, check out alignentertainment.ca for audition information.

Align Entertainment’s Annie runs February 1 – 16, 2019 at Michael J Fox Theatre, 7373 MacPherson Ave. Burnaby

Femme Series hits The Cultch this winter

This Winter, The Cultch is celebrating the power of female identifying voices, from Jan 15 – Feb 16, 2019, with its third annual Femme Series

Amplifying female identifying voices has always been important to Cultch Executive Director, Heather Redfern.
 “This is our way to say, ‘Come on, guys: you’ve got to pay attention to this,” Redfern told The Georgia Straight about the Femme Series in early 2018 “you have to do it deliberately. You have to commit to doing 50 percent of work [in your season] where the main thrust is from a female creation.”

This year’s Femme Series is bigger and better, than ever before, packed with special events—music, karaoke, new play-readings, and opportunities to mix and mingle. It continues the work from last year, with particular emphasis on deconstructing patriarchal language, expanding the limitations of the way gender is represented, and celebrating the intersectionality of the feminist perspective.

Femme Series Events, including Main Stage Productions:

Jan 11WROL (Without Rule of Law) by Michaela Jeffery—A new play reading presented by Touchstone Theatre, 8PM, Historic Theatre—FREE

Jan 12:  Soft Cedar Presents: Only a Visitor album release, with special guest Wallgrin—Only A Visitor is a quintet that blurs genre boundaries by straddling the line between art music and pop. Their new album, Technicolour Education, focuses on the Chinese diasporic experience in Vancouver through generations of immigrant stories. 8PM, Historic Theatre—$20

Jan 14: Women in the Arts Mixer5-7PM, Historic Theatre—FREE

Jan 14: Pitch, Bitch, and Ditch with Pippa Mackie and Kim HarveyJoin theatre creators and producers Kim Senklip Harvey and Pippa Mackie for an unforgettable night that puts the power in the hands of the patrons. 8-9PM, Historic Theatre—$10

Dakh Daughters
photo: Tetiana Vasylenko

Jan 15 – 19Dakh Daughters (Ukraine), York Theatre—Main Stage Season Production: Six actresses take musical instruments into their hands in order to create a life-affirming performance about love, freedom, and beauty which—at the end of the day—will save the world


Jan 22 – 26
Power Ballad, Julia Croft/Nisha Madhan (New Zealand), 8PM, Historic Theatre—Main Stage Season Production:  an angry, feminist, live art investigation of language and its sometimes hidden ideologies. Part performance lecture, part karaoke party, Power Ballad deconstructs gendered linguistic histories and rips apart contemporary language to find a new articulation of pleasure, anger, and femaleness.

Jan 25: Feminist Karaoke with Julia Croft, after Power Ballad, 9PM, Historic Theatre—FREE

Jan 27: Soft Cedar Presents: Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole, presented as part of CapU Global Roots Series—Kaumakaiwa brings to the stage an immense talent as a singer, chanter, and dancer as well as a deep understanding of her Hawaiian culture and her place as a modern, transgender (mahu wahine) Hawaiian in this contemporary world. She engages Indigenous thought to address today’s issues through music, chant, and sharing of spirit. 8PM, York Theatre—$40

Much Ado About Nothing
photo: Emily Cooper

Feb 5 – 16Much Ado About Nothing, Classic Chic Productions (Vancouver), Historic Theatre—Main Stage Season Production: Featuring an all-female cast, and set in a mesmerizing theatrical world, this deadly serious and sublimely ridiculous story—of soldiers in love and women confined by tradition—is a bold and playful romp through the extremes of desire and ambition, loyalty and redemption.

Stretch Into 2019 with Gateway Theatre’s Yoga Play

Following the Holiday run of It’s A Wonderful Life, Gateway Theatre next presents Yoga Play, a contemporary comedy running February 7 – 16, 2019.

Written by Dipika Guha and directed by Gateway’s own Jovanni Sy, Yoga Play takes a satirical look at some strikingly familiar recent events, and what it takes to find authenticity in a world selling enlightenment.  The play tells of Joan, who has been hired to stabilize Jojomon, a yoga apparel giant, after its CEO is brought down by a fat-shaming scandal. But just as she finds her footing, more trouble surfaces and the sales freefall. Jojomon needs an image makeover—and fast. Risking everything on a wild plan, Joan and her colleagues are willing to try anything to save face.

In celebration of the upcoming production, Gateway Theatre is giving you the opportunity to find your own enlightenment, by opening up the theatre lobby to the community for free yoga classes.  Throughout January, take advantage of this opportunity to practice yoga in an unique setting,  possibly with some of the cast members.  Free Hatha Yoga Classes take place Wednesdays, January 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2019, from 8:45am – 9:45am.  Classes will be led by Perfect Hearts Yoga and are suitable for all levels.  Please pre-register for the class(es) you wish to attend and bring your own mat.

January’s free yoga classes, and Yoga Play, onstage February 7 – 16, 2019, at Gateway Theatre, 6500 Gilbert Road, Richmond, visit gatewaytheatre.com/yoga-play for more information, tickets and to register for classes.

5 Picks for PuSh Festival 2019

Every winter the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings together the world of Arts and Performance. This year’s 15th Annual PuSh Festival runs January 17th – February 3rd, 2019 and tickets are selling fast.  Don’t wait, check out the line-up and book your shows now.

The 15th Anniversary festival kicks off January 17th at The Beaumont Studios with a performance by D’BI, the free Opening Night Party, features djs, dancing and pop-up performances by Vancouver’s Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons.

“We launched in 2003 as a three-show series that drew 2,500 people to 21 performances at three Vancouver venues,” says Roxanne Duncan, PuSh Festival’s Interim Executive Director. “The inaugural festival opened a short two years later in 2005. Now as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, PuSh has welcomed more than 300,000 people to 366 productions from 30 countries.”

The opening performance Attractor by DanceNorth Australia,  January 18th & 19th at Vancouver Playhouse
The show begins with two musicians and eight dancers onstage. Indonesian duo Senyawa plays music spiced with ritual and folk idioms from their native country while choreographers Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek work with Dancenorth Australia and the band to create a wild experience: as the music builds in power, the dancers increase their abandon and pre-selected members of the audience join in.

Some other highlighted picks for PuSh Festival 2019 include:

Marginal Consort by Marginal Consort (Japan) : January 20 at Performance Works
Four musicians, play a multitude of instruments, create ambient, heavily manipulated music, far apart and fully independent of each other.

PALMYRA by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas (France/UK) : January 22–24 at Performance Works
Named after a Syrian city that has changed hands several times during the current fighting, this show slowly builds to the level of violence, creating and sustaining moral ambiguity along the way.

salt. by Selina Thompson photo: Bryony Jackson

salt. by Selina Thompson (UK) : January 24–26 at Roundhouse Community Centre
In this performance Selina Thompson recounts her journey along one stretch of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle route by cargo ship.

Bicycle Thieves by Joelysa Pankanea (Canada) : January 26 & 27 at Performance Works
A special commission for Push Festival, composer and musical director Joelysa Pankanea guides a group of six musicians and four actors as they provide live musical and voice accompaniment to director Vittorio De Sica’s landmark 1948 neorealist film Bicycle Thieves.

These are but a few of the international performances scheduled for the 2019 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Visit pushfestival.ca to find the full festival schedule and book your tickets and Push Passes now.

 

Picks of the Week – December 19, 2018

There’s less than one week until Christmas, if you’ve completed all your holiday tasks, there’s plenty of entertaining activities in the picks of the week to fill your time

Wiz: Take off to see the Wizard as The Cultch and Theatre Replacement present East Van Panto: The Wizard of Oz at the York Theatre until January 6th

Merry Kiss-mas
VTSL

Improv: Vancouver Theatresports presents Merry Kiss-mas – an improvised holiday comedy, parodying all the inane clichés and funny, awkward moments you’d expect to see in a holiday TV special or film at Improv Centre until Christmas Eve.

Life: Look in on the life of George Bailey as Gateway Theatre presents It’s a Wonderful Life, a new musical adaptation featuring tunes from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, running until December 31st

Pride: Catch the follow up to Pride & Prejudice with Miss Bennet : Christmas at Pemberley at The Arts Club Granville Stage until December 30

Vancouver Christmas Market Photo: Lindsay Elliott

Market:  The Vancouver Christmas Market celebrates its 9th year as it returns to Jack Poole Plaza, with dozens of food sellers and shopping vendors, until December 24, 2018

Date: Until December 30, spend your date night watching Blind Date at The Arts Club Goldcorp Stage, each night is a unique show as a new audience member is the date in each show.

Festival: Aurora Winter Festival, Canada’s Largest Winter Festival, brings a a skating rink, a tube park, light displays, Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, and many more activities to Concord Pacific Place November 23 – December 30

FaceOff: Vancouver Canucks play their last home game of 2018 on Saturday when they host Winnipeg at Rogers Arena

Lacrosse: The National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Warriors play host to Calgary Roughnecks at Rogers Arena on Friday night

The Daisy Theatre’s Esme Massengill as Esme Scrooge in Little Dickens

Puppet: You’re in for some madcap marionette merriment as Ronnie Burkett’s Daisy Theatre presents Little Dickens, a take on the beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, at The Cultch Historic Theatre until December 22nd.

Belle:  Join your favourite characters as a tale as old as time, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, returns to the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,  until January 6, 2019

Carols: Let the music of the season move you as the VSO presents their Traditional Christmas Concert at St Andrew’s-Wesley Church, December 20 – 22

Sing: Early Music Vancouver fills the Chan Centre for Performing Arts at UBC with the sounds of Festive Cantanas: Monteverdi Christmas Vespers on December 23rd.

Lights of Hope

Lights: Light up your nights by visiting some of the Festival light displays around the city like; Bright Nights, Van Dusen Festival Of Lights, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Canyon Lights, Glow Langley, Christmas at Canada Place and many more

 

Give A Gift Of The Arts This Christmas

As we get closer to Christmas, the hustle and bustle on the city’s sidewalks and shops gets even busier. If you’re amongst those who are still looking for the perfect present to slip under the tree why not consider the gift of an experience this year.  Tickets or gift certificates to a local Arts groups make a great gift, while supporting the Vancouver Arts scene. As an added bonus, it’s a green gift, creating memories, not garbage.

Here’s some of The Arts to check out:

The Arts Club Theatre Company: With Beauty & The Beast running into the New Year, and Redpatch, Bed & Breakfast, and Matilda The Musical still to come this season there’s plenty for the whole family.

Dorothy & friends are off to see the Wizard in
East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

The Cultch: comedy, hip hop, drama, Shakespeare, music and more, The Cultch covers a vast array of options, not including the always fabulous East Van Panto each Christmas.

Vancouver Theatresports: who wouldn’t welcome the gift of laughter, Vancouver Theatresports presents improv games and good time at the Improv Centre on Granville Island.

Gateway Theatre: Richmond’s local theatre company brings a variety of shows to the stage every season that includes something for everyone, with a great Christmas show every year, including this year’s It’s A Wonderful Life

Vancouver Symphony: from the classics to pop, the Vancouver Symphony welcomes guest Bernadette Peters, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in concert, and more to its season.

PuSh International Festival of Performing Arts: each Winter, PuSh Festival curates and amazing variety of theatre, film, music and talk from around the world.

Firehall Arts Centre: cutting edge, inclusive theatre, dance, and the visual arts come to the stage in the historic east side firehall throughout the year.

Vancouver Art Gallery: more than just a gallery, VAG brings unique exhibits and cultural events to the heart of downtown year round.

Bard on the Beach: the 2019 season brings Taming Of The Shrew, Shakespeare In Love, All’s Well That Ends Well, and Coriolanus to the summer Shakespeare festival this season

 JFL Northwest: the annual Just For Laughs festival brings the biggest names in comedy to Vancouver, this year’s comedians include; Howie Mandel, Aziz Ansari, Ken Jeong, Whitney Cummings, Michelle Wolf and many more