April and May are usually the busiest months for musicals in Calgary (and probably most cities) and this year is no exception, which a bunch of new shows opening this month. As a result, I’m keeping the descriptions short. For more information and tickets for any of the following shows, go to the links for each company. There are a couple of additional “musicalish” performances in April as well: Elvis, Elvis, Elvis: An American Trilogy at the Jubilee on Monday April 21, and a concert performance of Onalea Gilbertson’s Mata Hari in 8 Bullets, at the National Music Centre on Friday, April 25.
If you’re looking for people with whom to go to shows, check out the Calgary Musicals+ Meetup Group, that I also run. We go to most musicals as well as a number of other events that interest our members.
Opening in April
The Music of Kurt Weill, ”L’Orchestre D’Hommes-Orchestres (Quebec) Presented by Theatre Junction
Like most shows at Theatre Junction, this one definitely falls into the camp of “And now for something completely different…”
From the website: Having previously performed their enigmatic take on the music of Tom Waits to sold out crowds at Theatre Junction GRAND, L’Orchestre D’Hommes Orchestres are back to take on the music of another outsider genius – Kurt Weill, the great composer who collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on The Threepenny Opera, and fled Germany in 1933 to France then eventually New York. In a Franco-German-English mix, the eight musicians-singers-actors revive the horrors of war, the lights of Broadway and the cozy atmosphere of music halls.
Mamma Mia!, Broadway Across Canada, April 16-20.
A Musical for the ABBA fan in everyone. I have to admit that although I was a huge fan of ABBA in high school, I have avoided this show to date, as I’m generally not a fan of “jukebox” musicals that are just an excuse to string a bunch of songs together with a pretty weak plot. Finally going to take the plunge this year, though. For me the major saving grace of this show is that, unlike in the movie version, you can be pretty sure all the leads can actually sing :)
From the website: MAMMA MIA! is the ultimate feel-good show that has audiences coming back again and again to relive the thrill. Now it’s your turn to have the time of your life at this smash-hit musical that combines ABBA’s greatest hits, including “Dancing Queen,” “S.O.S.,” “Super Trouper,” “Take A Chance on Me” and “The Winner Takes It All,” with an enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship.
Fiddler on the Roof, Stage West (Dinner Theatre), April 17 to late June.
This show probably needs no introduction, but I only saw it on stage for the first time last year at Stratford in Ontario. A classic, with lots of familiar tunes (“If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker,” “Do You Love Me?” etc). Stage West doesn’t do a lot of conventional musicals, so this is a nice treat, and sure to be popular.
From the website: In the little village of Anatevka, Tevye, a poor dairyman, tries to instill in his five daughters the traditions of his tight-knit Jewish community in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. The universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness.
Young Frankenstein, Front Row Centre, April 18th – May 3rd, 2014
If you love Mel Brooks’ zany sense of humour, you’ll enjoy the stage version based on the popular movie.
From the website; IT’S ALIVE! With such memorable tunes as “The Transylvania Mania”, “He Vas My Boyfriend” and “Puttin’ on the Ritz”, Young Frankenstein is scientifically-proven, monstrously good entertainment…and the only place you’ll witness a singing and dancing laboratory experiment in the largest tuxedo ever made!
The Pirates of Penzance, Morpheus Theatre, April 18 to May 3, 2013
Every spring, Morpheus Theatre does a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Pirates of Penzance is one of their best known and loved shows. Aside from the fact that it includes my favourite G&S song (“A Modern Major General”) I have a soft spot for the show, because I got $50 for playing French Horn in the pit orchestra for community theatre production in Mississauga in the ‘80’s – my first professional gig as a musician :)
From the website: In The Pirates of Penzance, Frederic was as a child apprenticed to a band of ternderhearted, orphaned pirates by his nurse who, being hard of hearing, had mistaken her master’s instructions to apprentice the boy to a pilot. Frederic upon completing his 21st year, rejoices that he has fulfilled his indentures and is now free to return to respectable society. But it turns out that he was born on February 29th in leap year, and he remains apprenticed to the pirates until his 21st birthday.
Touch Me: Songs for a (dis)Connected Age, Forte Musical Theatre, April 15-26
Calgary’s only professional musical theatre company is usually a good bet for quality productions – this one being less of a musical and more of a concert. They’re also one of the few theatre companies that still have a pay-what-you-can Tuesday show.
Technology has the power to bring people together like never before. Is social media a force for good or are our online lives making us more isolated than ever? Touch Me is a one-act musical theatre revue featuring all-new songs composed by writers from across Canada (and a couple of honorary Canadians too!) Funny, tuneful and sometimes poignant, “Touch Me” is bound to get you thinking about the connections in your life.
Bingo Ladies, Lunchbox Theatre
If you’re looking for a bite-sized show during your lunch hour, or on Friday or Saturday evening, consider Canada’s longest running lunchtime theatre.
From the website: Bingo is serious business. Rituals, good luck charms, superstitions. Friday night at the bingo hall is sacred. But are our three intrepid bingo ladies addicts, or just enthusiastic? How far are they willing to go to win? Bingo Ladies explores their lives with rousing musical numbers and shows us the humanity of the bingo hall
Still Playing (See March Musicals for detailed listing – See February Musicals for Elvis, who’s STILL hanging in there:)
Same Same but Different – ATP (until April 6)
The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Storybook Theatre (until April 12)
Elvis and the Las Vegas Hangover, Jubilations Dinner Theatre