Singing in the Rain
Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green; Songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
Director Shel Piercy; Music Director Wendy Bross-Stewart; Choreographer Shelley Stewart-Hunt
Theatre Under the Stars,
Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park
Alternating nights to August 20th, 2010
Vancouver, BC. As much as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will enchant children this summer, adult audiences will enjoy this production of Singing in the Rain. Although the words "singing in the rain" can't help but evoke the iconic image of Gene Kelly in the 1952 movie, the fun this TUTS cast has with the story managed to get the movie images out of my mind.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Directed by Shel Piercy;
Music Director Kevin Michael Cripps;
Choreographer Keri Minty
Theatre Under the Stars,
Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park
Alternating nights to August 20th, 2010
Vancouver, BC. TUTS could not have asked for a more perfect evening to open their 2010 season. The evening air was warm, and the strong winds that blew through Vancouver yesterday had moved on to bluster across another part of the province. This year TUTS have instituted reserved seating throughout, a move that seemed to be appreciated by all.
We arrived early, after enjoying a delicious meal at the Tapastree restaurant just off Denman Street, and sat down to enjoy the lively pre-show music.
White Christmas: The Musical Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin Book by David Ives and Paul Blake Based upon the Paramount Pictures film written for the screen by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank Director Bill Millerd. Musical Director Bruce Kellett. Choreographer Valerie Easton. Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage Nov 12 to Dec 27, 2009
Vancouver, BC: As those of you who have followed my recent theatre travels and cruise adventures dancing at sea to destinations from Bora Bora to Beijing to Los Angeles to New York, know by now, I am delirious about dance, so how could I not love a show with a song titled "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing"? Add some rapid-fire tap dancing, great ensemble work and music and lyrics that are embedded in my memory bank from years back, and White Christmas makes for a delightfully sentimental evening's entertainment.
Irving Berlin wrote the song “White Christmas” for the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. Sung by Bing Crosby, it won the Academy Award that year and was later used in the 1954 film version of White Christmas. In today's lingo it went viral and today there can't be a person over the age of 1 anywhere in the world who does not know this song. Following the more recent cross-genre trend of going from film to musical (like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) rather than the previously more usual musical to film, the musical version of White Christmas was first produced in San Francisco in 2004. But it still retains its 1950s feel.
The story opens on Christmas Eve 1944 somewhere in Europe where two US army soldiers, former Broadway entertainer, the reserved Captain Bob Wallace (Jeffrey Victor) and extrovert philanderer, Phil Davis (Todd Talbot) are putting on a show for the troops. Their respected General Henry Waverley (Rejean Cournoyer) is returning to the US for treatment of an injury.
Fast forward ten years. Wallace and Davis are now a successful entertainment act and they encounter the performing Haynes sisters, reserved Betty (Sara-Jeanne Hosie) and extrovert Judy (Monique Lund). Phil and Judy hit it off instantly, but Bob and Betty - well, there has to be a down arc to the story for it all to be resolved happily in the end.
Aided by various acts of "larceny'" they all land up at the inn in Vermont that just happens to be owned by the retired General Waverley, who is being visited by his young niece from California, Susan (Rachael Withers). Business at the inn is down, but the feisty manager, Martha Watson (Susan Anderson) is not letting the general know just how bad things are. Wallace and Davis decide to help out their general, but busybody Martha gets involved and things start to unravel. But it is Christmas so of course all ends well.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Book by Jeffrey Lane Music and Lyrics by David Yazbek Based on the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by Dale Launer, Stanley Shapiro and Paul Henning Orchestrations by Harold Wheeler; Vocal music arrangements by Ted Sperling/David Yazbek; Dance music arrangements by Zane Mark
Directed and co-choreographed by Max Reimer Co-choreographer Nathalie Marrable Music Director Steve Thomas
Vancouver, BC. If you have not already got your tickets to see this show pick up the phone or hit the keyboard soon because this is going to be another sellout holiday hit for the Vancouver Playhouse.
Although I usually watch cynically as Vancouver audiences give standing ovations I have to confess that this time I was on my feet with the rest of them.
As these photos by David Cooper show, the production was visually appealing. The songs were entertaining, the lyrics witty, the choreography terrific- and can you call any one performance a standout when all the performances including the ensemble dancing were standouts? Well, yes I guess you can.
Andrew Wheeler plays Lawrence Jameson, a suave, sophisticated, elegant con-man who leads a good life as a "prince" on the French Riviera, by charming rich women out of their money and possessions. Smooth as Michael Caine was in the 1988 film version, I remember thinking at the time that he would never have been able to con me. But I have to admit that if I encountered Wheeler's smooth "prince" persona - and if he could dance - I mean real ballroom not the stage variety - he could probably con me into supporting a war effort in his non-existent kingdom as easily as he did the other women- as long as he would waltz with me!
Lawrence's ally in his nefarious activies is Andre, the chief of police, played with gusto and a wonderfully bad French accent by David Marr, who really excels in this type of comic role.
Annie Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Directed by Glynis Leyshon
Music Director Wendy Bross Stuart
Choreographer Jason Franco
Vancouver,BC: One would have to have a heart of steel, or maybe no heart at all, not to adore feisty little orphan Annie and her unshaken belief that her parents will return to take her away from Miss Hannigan and the orphanage. The story of Annie and Daddy Warbucks, however implausible (it was based on a comic strip after all) taps into the dream of any lonely, lost or abused child; namely that someone big and strong and loving will come to rescue them. And then as well as its optimism and emotional appeal, the musical is jam-packed with well known songs that stay in your head, long after the curtain falls. Annie is great family entertainment.
Nicola Lipman and John Mann in Les Misérables. Photo by Emily CooperLes Misérables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg based on the novel by Victor Hugo
Music by Schönberg Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Directed by Bill Millerd Musical Direction Bruce Kellett Choreography Valerie Easton
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
Arts Club Theatre Company
May 14 to July 19 , 2009
Vancouver, BC: How can one not love Les Mis? The book has everything - Sympathetic downtrodden characters who either triumph over adversity or die tragically with their dreams unfulfilled; a good guy chasing a bad guy where the bad guy is really good at heart and the good guy 's obsession with his quest is bad; student protests with dramatic deaths on barricades, and of course, the wickedly funny innkeeper and his wife. Then there is the music - songs to make you cry, songs to make you laugh, catchy melodies that tumble over each other for a place in your head; and that you hum as you drive home after the show. I first saw a touring production of Les Misérables in Vancouver probably twenty years ago and still remember the intense post-show family discussion about the students sacrificing their lives in a futile cause.
Brandyn Eddy as Jon: Photos by Devin Karringtentick...tick...BOOM! by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Ryan Mooney
Musical Direction by Melissa Braun & Sarah Jaysmith
Fighting Chance Productions
Jericho Arts Centre
April 6 - 22, 2009
Monday through Wednesday, at 8 pm
Vancouver, BC: It is 1990 and Jon (Brandyn Eddy) is a promising young composer living in Manhattan. Jon is about to turn thirty and he is agonizing about his career in music and theatre, and fretting that he is over the hill. This premise for the show would ordinarily be a trifle irritating to me. I left 30 behind some years ago (alright, many years ago) yet I still feel that I am on the way up to the summit of a career hill. Albeit a different hill from the one I was climbing at 30. No existential angst is allowed in my mind. To safeguard myself against the upcoming angst, I booked for dinner at DB Bistro Moderne on Broadway: Our Broadway of course!