Calgary Musicals

Just another site

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Morpheus Floats Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers in 2013

Here’s a 2012-2013 launch I missed earlier – Morpheus Theatre’s annual Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Their choice for next spring is The Gondoliers or The King of Barataria.  This was G&S’s last successful operetta.  According to wiki, “it premiered at the Savoy Theatre on 7 December 1889 and ran for a very successful 554 performances (at that time the fifth longest-running piece of musical theatre in history)”. Check out the wiki link for more on the show and the fascinating story of the conflict between the two creators that resulted in its creation which started when librettist  Gilbert told his partner he was fed up with having his brilliant lyrics subverted by Arthur Sullivan’s (boring) melodies – my words, not his.  As those of you who read my post on my little list of shows that will not be missed will know, “I’m with you there, W.S.” 

Kudos to Morpheus for trying something a little more out there. I’m curious enough to want to check it out. I just featured Yeomen of the Guard at my June Strictly Show Tunes Sing-Along at the Auburn, at the request of some of the G&S fans, and it was quite fun. Who knows, maybe you folks will make a convert of me yet.

Morpheus Theatre’s The Gondoliers runs March 19-23, 2013.

Review: The Marvelous Wonderettes is Neither Marvellous Nor Wonderful

I attended Roger Bean’s The Marvelous Wonderettes at Stage West with the Calgary Musicals+ Meetup Group on Friday night (I’ve just added the + because I want to start including some straight plays next season). This show is a nostalgic romp through the 50’s and 60’s with a girls group that performs at the 1958 Springfield High School prom (and then in Act II, at the 10-year reunion), and shows us a little bit about their lives and loves and interrelationships along the way.  It’s a 1999 show that played off-Broadway and has been widely performed and won a few prestigious awards around the continent since then. It’s even been successful enough to spawn a sequel, Winter Wonderettes, which features the girls singing popular Christmas songs.

As you know if you’ve been following my blog, I’m not a fan of this genre of musical, however I have been pleasantly surprised with some of the shows I’ve seen of this type this year, whether at Stage West, Jubilations or Lunchbox. This doesn’t happen to be one of them.  While the performances of the four women (Laura Caswell as the ditzy Suzy, Melanie McInenly as the tomboyish Betty Jean or BJ, Melanie Piatocha as the boyfriend-stealing Cindy-Lou and Nancy Silverman as the geeky Missy) are first-rate, they couldn’t do much to save a really, really thin story and overdone juvenile humour (how many butthead, bubblegum and pregnant-woman-trying-to-sing-and-dance jokes are really necessary – 10? 5? 0?). 

Act I was a complete bore for me, but fortunately things picked up a bit in Act II when there was a little  – and I mean a little – more plot and even a hint of drama. I enjoyed the opening numbers “Mr. Sandman” and “Lollipop”, and then it was Act II before they piqued my interest again, with great performances of songs like “Needle In a Haystack”, “The Wedding Bell Blues”, “You Don’t Own Me”, ” Heat Wave”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, “Respect” and “Rescue Me” (or maybe it was the rush of Stage West’s fabulous dessert bar kicking in :?)?

If you really like the music of these eras, you may enjoy The Marvelous Wonderettes anyway –  plus there is a kind-of-fun audience participation segment in which a poor schmuck is dragged on stage to play Missy’s teacher and love interest, Mr. Lee – but unless you’re a die-hard Stage West fan, you might want to give this one a miss and take in one of the many other shows happening in and around Calgary this summer (see 2012 Schedule).

I don’t normally read other reviews until I push the “publish” button, but I just found Toronto Star theatre critic Richard Ouzounian‘s review of Stage West’s Toronto production last summer  (same show and director (Tim French), different cast), and I thought he captured my sentiments even more eloquently than I have, so I am posting the link here for your entertainment and edification. In particular, I echo his comment at the end: “… the only thing I kept wondering is how many more crappy jukebox musicals I’m going to have to see before I die”.  Me too, me too.

The Marvelous Wonderettes is playing at Stage West until August 19. Ticket prices range from $69 to $99 ($59 for Seniors 65+ on Wednesdays only). For more information and tickets, go to Stage West.

Review: Movies to Musicals – CSI or What Do These Movie-Musical Stars Have in Common?

Look at all the pictures and answer the question before scrolling down – no cheating!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Monday afternoon, I snuck away from work for an extended lunch hour to take in Movies to Musicals – CSI with Bonnie Gratz and Mary-Jean Uszy, part of the “Lifelong Learning at the Jubilee” series. The event was advertised as follows:  “It’s criminal! Those changes that are made to musicals when they are adapted into movies. Enjoy a fun sing-a-long … as we uncover and expose some of the most famous musical to movie crimes – ever!”  I run a Strictly Show Tunes Sing-Along at the Auburn on the fourth Monday of every month (the next one is coming up on June 25!), so that was enough to entice me (and in case my employer is reading, I DID make up the time later, OK? :)).  

While the sing-along was fun enough in its own right, as it turned out, the only “crimes” uncovered in this event involved the many stars who were dubbed in movie-musicals. Natalie Wood (West Side Story) and Audrey Hepburn (My Fair Lady) were no surprise, but did you know that even Harry Belafonte didn’t get to sing his own songs? That was in Carmen Jones, not Porgy and Bess, as Gratz and Uszy asserted, the latter of which starred Sydney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, both of whom were dubbed. Neither did Debbie Reynolds, which is ironic, since the whole premise of Singing in the Rain is that she’s the voice behind the star, and like Harry Belafonte, she CAN sing. As for Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music, I’d always assumed that since his singing was so bad, that it must be the real deal.  Not so!  And in case you’ve always marvelled at Oliver (Mark Lester)’s high, crystal clear voice in “Who Will Buy” and “Where is Love?” – yup, you guessed it, not only is it not him, it’s the voice of a girl (Kathe Green)!

We also learned about the biggest uncredited singer of them all, Marni Nixon, who was the voice behind Audrey Hepburn and Natalie Wood, as well as Deborah Kerr (The King and I, An Affair to Remember) and several of the nuns in The Sound of Music (she appeared in that movie as Sister Sophia). Nixon also shared dubbing duties with Betty Wand for Rita Moreno (say it ain’t so!) in West Side Story, and sang “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” for Marilyn Munroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Come to think of it, the Marni Nixon story would make an interesting musical in its own right. I’ll have to get working on that.

It’s kind of mysterious to me why movie studios would hire actors who can’t sing (or worse, some that can), and then have someone else sing their songs, but that’s show biz (and the importance of star power for selling tickets). At least in the case of Jessica Lange (Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams) and Lou Diamond Phillips (Ritchie Valens in La Bamba) they used the voices of the original artists. Fortunately dubbing has gone out of fashion, so when we see a movie-musical today we can be pretty sure the person singing is really singing – although the music tracks are still usually recorded ahead of time. (The new Les Miserables movie coming out late this year is braving new territory by having the actors sing and act at the same time – it will be interesting to see if we can tell the difference).  On the other hand, after listening to Pierce Brosnan in the Mamma Mia!  clips on the Agony Booth website while I was writing my Father’s Day post,  I might argue that maybe we should go back to the good old days (or, what the heck, hire actors who can sing instead of being so gosh-darned good-looking!) 

Movies to Musicals – CSI was good enough that I’d consider going to another Lifelong Learning event at the Jubilee, although I wish it had been closer to that advertised. I’m sure there are other crimes, like changing the story or messing with the songs, that would have been interesting to explore.  I know my husband decries the way two of his favourite stage musicals, Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, were ruined when turned into movies, although I liked them well enough. And ever since I bought the vocal selections for Grease a few months ago, I’ve been wondering if John Travolta REALLY sang all those “dirty” Greased Lightning lyrics in the movie … (now, I have to look it up… yes, it really was him… phew!)  

The Jube holds several theatre-related lunchtime seminars through the year as part of this series, both in Calgary and at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton.  Recent events in Calgary include “Intro to Bollywood Dance” with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and “Exploring Stage Props” with the Calgary Opera.  For more information on Calgary offerings (which presumably will start up again in the Fall), go to: Lifelong Learning.

For a very long list of who’s dubbed whom in movie-musicals, go to: Movie Dubbers

Is It Time for Manly Men to Come Out of the Closet?

It’s Father’s Day, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about musicals and men. There’s a stereotype that if you’re a man and you like musicals, you’re probably gay (or Jewish, or intellectual) – if you haven’t seen Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number from the 2011 Tony awards, Broadway Is Not Just for Gays Anymore, you must. (If you have seen it, I’m betting you’ll probably click this link to see it again…).  I have fallen victim to this stereotype myself, I’m ashamed to say, when a friend of mine told me about a bunch of married men he knew who were in New York and chose to go to see Mamma Mia! while their wives were out shopping. I supported his wife’s assertion that they were probably gay (whether they knew it or not). Later, I reflected that most men would prefer going to a musical than go shopping (another stereotype, perhaps?), and of course, I know lots of straight men who willingly and sometimes even enthusiastically go to see and participate in musicals, including mine. Why should homosexuals have a monopoly on good taste, after all?

So, if you’re a man looking for a musical or a woman looking to take a man to a musical, what shows might you choose?  To answer this question, I mined the data from my Calgary Musicals MeetUp Group, which includes about 20% men, most of whom are straight, as far as I know. I ask everyone when they join for a short list of a few of their favourite musicals (see my earlier post on this topic for my list).  This is admittedly a biased sample, as it includes the minority of men who a) join groups and b) are self-declared (and unashamedly) musical theatre buffs, but it gives you a bit of an idea of what men say they like. 

Most of the big names were there, but the top three mentions were: Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd and Phantom of the Opera. Other popular suggestions were Wicked, Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Cats, The Sound of Music, Godspell and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Were these on the women’s lists? Absolutely. Were there many shows on the women’s lists that weren’t on the men’s lists? Not really. This would suggest that Applause Meter’s Jessica Goldman might not be on the right track when she divides up her theatre review recommendations by gender. I know the men I took to Pinkalicious  and Little Women (musicals that are as chick-friendly as they come) liked them as much as I did, which just goes to show that a good performance of a great story can appeal to just about anyone (or maybe they were just intellectuals ;)).

I think you might get a different answer if you were looking for shows that a man, especially a younger man, who’s not normally interested in musicals (or theatre at all for that matter) might like. In that case, you might get more votes for contemporary shows that are unabashedly funny, sexy, spoofy, familiar, and/or action-oriented, like The Rocky Horror Show, Evil Dead The Musical (coming to Calgary in August), Avenue Q, Spamalot, Little Shop of Horrors, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Spiderman, or Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  Musicals like Queen’s We Will Rock You, Green Day’s American Idiot, or Rock of Ages (the latter of which is coming to Calgary this Fall) might also be appealling, if they’re a fan of the music/group. My husband would add rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar (me too!), Hair, and Tommy to this list (but definitely NOT Mamma Mia!). Check out some of the links below for more suggestions by other “real” men, some serious and some not so much. 

Perhaps it’s not that heterosexual men don’t like musicals; it’s just that they’re afraid to admit it!  To quote my favourite manly musical man, Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, “It’s time to take some action boys. It’s time to follow me,” and come out of the closet.  All you dads out there, how about taking your son to a musical this year and showing him that real men really DO like musical theatre after all? Maybe you’ll both be pleasantly surprised.

 Happy Father’s Day

Fun links about men and musicals:

The 8 Manliest Musicals (by category):

And if that’s not enough, how about 31 Manly Musicals:

An online chat from men on the topic of musicals for the hairier sex: Empire On-line

A great U-Tube Video by a young bald man in a Hummer T-shirt: Top 5 Man Musicals

Video “reviews” of  TV shows and movies, including several movie-musicals, by a balding young man in a lumberjack shirt – is there a pattern here? – because he’s man enough to take it : Thoroughly Manly Musicals (The Agony Booth)

Take a Quiz: Identify the musical from these imagined marketing ploys targetted at men: Musicals for Real Men

And finally … why a man shouldn’t let his woman watch too many musicals if he values his love life: West End Geek

Review: Oil and Water – A Warm-Hearted Play about a Cold-Water Tragedy

I’m just home from Robert Chafe’s Oil and Water, the opening night performance of the 2012 Magnetic North Theatre Festival, “Canada’s National Festival of Contemporary Canadian Theatre in English.” The after-show reception is still going on at Vertigo Theatre as I write this, but I’ve got a 6AM wake-up call so couldn’t stay too long to enjoy the festivities, nor stay up too late to write a long review.

Oil and Water is produced by Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and is the heartwarming true story of Lanier Phillips, one of only 46 men, and the only black man, who survived when the USS Truxton ran aground near a Newfoundland outport in February 1942. This story is juxtaposed against an older Phillips trying to foster tolerance in his daughter Vonzia, during the Boston riots of 1974, when that city started busing black children to formerly white schools in order to integrate them. It is only when he explains the story of his rescue in Newfoundland by a family who’d never seen a black person before, that he is able to help her get past her hatred of white people and get back on the bus.

Although it took me a while to get into it (and it wasn’t really a musical in the conventional sense – having only periodic humming and a teeny bit of singing in the style of African-American gospel and Newfoundland folk music), this was ultimately a fine performance of a very moving show. It really came into its own in Act II when the ship went down. I loved the set by Shawn Kerwin, much of which was composed of buckets and boards, and yes, real water. The focal point was a large triangular structure which was cleverly used at various times to represent the rocking ship, the cliffs up which the sailors had to be carried by their Newfoundland rescuers, and the stairs to the upstairs bedroom in the house of Lanier’s hosts. The acting was top-notch. I particularly liked the portrayals of Lanier at 20 and at 50 by Anderson Ryan Allen and Jeremiah Sparks, respectively, and of his daughter Vonzia (Starr Domingue). The presentation was rounded out by a touching lobby display of photographs from the time of the accident and a 2008 reunion of Phillips and his rescuers in Newfoundland.

The Magnetic North Theatre Festival is usually held in Ottawa, but every other year it goes to another city in Canada. We are fortunate to host it here as part of our 2012 Cultural Capital celebrations. The festival runs until June 23 and includes a number of interesting-looking plays with high-caliber performers from across Canada, as well as opportunities to meet and interact with the artists, and a headline performance by comedian Rick Mercer on Friday June 22.  Oil and Water is the closest thing they have to a musical and it is only playing until Saturday June 16th. Shows are at 7PM (plus a Saturday matinée at 2PM) and tickets are $45.

For more information, go to: Magnetic North Festival

Forte Musical Theatre Guild Presents Maria in 2012-2013

Maria Rasputin (right) with her parents

The last of the launches to date (I think):

Back in April, I attended a reception at the home of Forte Musical Theatre Guild’s artistic director, Joe Slabe, where we got a sneak-a-peak of  Slabe’s 2012-2013 show, Maria Rasputin Presents. His musical tells the story of the assassinated Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, from the perspective of his daughter Maria (Matryona) Rasputin, who wrote a number of books in his defense. The evening included a few songs performed by Slabe and Forte favourites Daniel Mallett (recently seen in Vertigo Theatre’s Sweeney Todd),  Selina Wong (recently seen in Forte’s Jeremy de Bergerac), and Allison Lynch (recently seen in Sweeney Todd and ATP’s Ash Rizin). I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one or more of these great singer-actors in the cast.

Following on the heels of Slabe’s Jeremy de Bergerac and his previous Austentatious, this is another show which demonstrates Slabe’s love of classic literature/history.  As Slabe explained, however, if all we know about Rasputin is from the classic Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina, or worse, the 1970’s euro-disco hit single Rasputin by Boney M, then we’ll find this show enlightening. From what I saw and heard, it certainly promises to be entertaining.

As far as I know, Maria Rasputin Presents will premiere in Forte’s January slot at the Pumphouse Theatre.  There’s no information up on the Forte Musical Theatre Guild website yet, but presumably there will be more details come Fall. call for guest bloggers for summer is looking for people active in the Calgary musical theatre scene (whether as participants or spectators) to do a guest blog post here during the slow summer season. I’m looking for articles between approximately 750 and 1500 words in length. It could be an opinion piece, an interview, a funny story about some of your experiences in musical theatre (in Calgary or elsewhere) or anything else you think would interest readers. Just send me an email and a sample of your writing, tell me what you’d like to write about and we’ll take it from there.



Lynn Marie Calder:

I heard Jessica Goldman’s interview on “The Eye Opener” this week and can confirm they will be having a number of awards for musical theatre.  At least that means all Calgary’s theatre critics will have to attend more musicals now. And who knows? Maybe they’ll become converts – even Jessica! They’re having a contest to name the awards. Read the full blog article for details.

Originally posted on Applause! Meter:

I’ve said over and over again how pleased I was to learn upon moving to Calgary two years ago what a vibrant and varied theatre scene the city enjoys. And I’m both delighted and proud to be involved with it in my own little way.

And now I’m thrilled to announce that my own little way is getting a tad bigger. It’s been the worst kept secret in Calgary over the last few months (me and my big mouth!!) but now it’s official. Myself, along with Stephen Hunt and Bob Clark of the Calgary Herald and Louis B. Hobson of the Sun have banded together to establish the first annual Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards.

We have categories, we will have nominees and there will even be a free award ceremony. What we don’t have yet is an official name for the awards. That’s where you come in, lured we hope…

View original 451 more words

Q&A with … Randy Apostle (Jubilations Dinner Theatre)

Randy (haha) Apostle

This is one of a series of more-or-less-monthly interviews with some of the movers and shakers in the Calgary musical theatre scene, which is interesting, since he lives in Winnipeg. Randy Apostle is the Artistic Director of Jubilations Dinner Theatres in Calgary and Edmonton and Celebrations Dinner Theatre in Winnipeg (all under the umbrella of “Wow! Hospitality Concepts”). He also writes most of the scripts for their productions (70/110 of the shows he’s worked on, to be precise) . He responded to my questions in writing.

What’s your background and how did you get involved with Wow! Hospitality Concepts?

I was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and I attended the University of Regina Drama department, with the assistance of a scholarship and student loans…lol.  My mother encouraged me to also get training for a ‘real job’ so I studied and became a Registered Psychiatric Nurse. I practised for a few years in both Saskatchewan and Alberta and then I began acting in a few shows here and there. Before I knew it, I was taking a leave of absence and soon after that, was back into show biz full-time. I worked in quite a few different theatres as an actor and stage manager and learned more about stage craft all along the way. I first began writing scripts with comedy troupes and moved into tackling full plays from there. I started performing with this type of theatre in Regina where the model was brought from the many dinner theatres on the east coast. At one point I was asked to direct a show out in Winnipeg. During that production the existing artistic team parted ways with their producer and there I was putting up my first show… After that there were a few years of craziness with different owners and locations…the usual small theatre growing pains. Regina was on their own and Winnipeg and Edmonton had venues needing shows…At that time I was living down in Los Angeles and flying up to direct…not a very cost-effective idea…It was at this time I began writing scripts for the shows. Then around 1993, our present producers took the helm and with their background being in the restaurant business, it was a good marriage of skills. Since that time we have moved both the Winnipeg and Edmonton venues and opened a third in Calgary.

How does one of your shows get developed and produced?

The process is pretty straight ahead. As artistic director I assemble show ideas – either my own or pitches from other writers. We do many spoofs on pop culture, television, films and even musicals. I present them to the producers who narrow it down to ones they believe have the best marketing possibilities. Next I put together longer treatments of each idea. I meet with the producers again and get feedback from the three theatres on their opinions and put together a show list. From that I plan out the pre-production, bring in guest directors sometimes, put that together and off we go. First off, of course, is the script. Depending on who is writing  – me or someone else – we may work on drafts for a year. Next I look into casting… again, the earlier the better!  Another challenge with doing spoofs is trying to loosely match the “look” of the show you are sending up while also needing performers who are triple threats (singers, dancers, actors). Next, I meet with our department heads and they put together the set and costume design, the music producer and I consult on the music and he puts together musicians to record our music. We have a 2-1/2 week rehearsal period and open our shows in Winnipeg, after which they move to Edmonton and Calgary in succession. I have been known to change things right up until closing week in Calgary whether that be rewrites or even changing up songs. The show may also change when a different actor comes in and a new dynamic is introduced. One advantage to creating our own works is the freedom to alter and tweak each and every production.  

Do you use the same cast and creative team in all locations?

I have been blessed to have all of the production team intact for around 20 years! So our comfort and trust level is very high, yet open to challenges and growing all the time. A big challenge over the years was making the move from small rooms and small capacity to larger venues that made them a more attractive business opportunity for investors. The entire concept had to evolve. In the early days the cast took part in the service and would be on-stage belting out a tune one minute and serving you your cocktail the next. Of course this was all about making a small company fly and we learned a lot about interactive dinner theatre and engaging your audience while immersing them in the concept. To this day we have our cast out in the house during the breaks maintaining that one-on-one experience, but they don’t serve food. Our servers are always in character and we have character building and improvisation workshops to encourage everyone in the room to become part of the show! I still very much love this concept! Although I oversee productions for all three theatres, it is not a tour, as the theatres are three separate entities and each issues their own contracts.  Some of the actors move to other venues, but it is really up to them. The production crew has some folks who travel along with crew members hired in each city. The servers and crews all come from in town.

How do you decide on what shows to mock and what music to go with them? More importantly, how do you get away with it?

Spoofs and parodies have been around forever. The important thing is to never claim to be anything other than that. We are doing a send-up of a popular show, not claiming to be associated to it in any way, nor hoping to fool anyone into believing we are … just as Carol Burnett and so many other comedy shows do …Saturday Night Live is still doing it today… We are paying homage to shows we all share in our culture. Music is chosen in many different ways. The idea is pretty much the same as picking shows. We look for tunes that are familiar to a very wide spectrum of people. SOCAN rights are paid to use the songs.

Because of your 20-year run with Wow! your shows have probably been seen by more Canadians than those of any other the playwright, Norm Foster included, and yet you’re still relatively unknown. What do you say to that?

Ha. Ha. Well, to tell you the truth I have been so busy for so long I never really have given it much thought. I know I feel blessed to have had this gig and to work with so many talented people. I realize that ours is a rather odd entity in the theatre world today with one team supplying shows to three different theatres. I have not had to search out places to present my works. I am grateful to the many people who have attended so many of my shows and I do hear from quite a few, which is nice. I guess because of the nature of spoofs and parodies, many folks don’t look at the plays as original works. I can understand this, although many of our musicals over the years have not been based on particular shows or works but rather on genres. At the end of the day I have always believed that theatre is for the audience. I want to give them shows they enjoy and want to see. I do not have a burning desire to alter anyone’s views about life but I do like to make them laugh! Once in a while we create those touching moments and the power of music on emotions is of course huge, but the underlying goal is and always has been a fun night to share with family and friends and no matter what we are sending up we must never lose sight of that.

Do you write any plays other than those produced by Wow!?

Yes, over the years I have written shows for some other theatres and adapted shows from the 3 act dinner theatre format to 2 acts to present in non-dinner theatre settings. I have written for the Fringe, directed an improv soap opera and directed for other theatres. I also still pursue film and television acting, having just last week worked on a TV movie starring Rob Lowe.

Your next musical at Jubilations Dinner Theatre in Calgary is Two and Two Thirds Men. I’m sure fans of the TV show Two and a Half Men will flock to it, but what can you say that would convince someone like me who hates the original TV show to want to go (other than that neither Charlie Sheen nor Ashton Kutcher are in it, which is definitely a plus, for me, at least)?

Ha, ha. Well, as with all our spoofs it is important that we tell a story with our show that stands alone so people who have not seen the TV show (yes, there are some) can still understand and enjoy the show. Plus the music is a blast – ’70’s hits delivered by some really great singers! The interaction with all the cast and staff is aimed at you having a good time! No, I probably can’t make you a fan of a show you don’t fancy, but you may appreciate how we send up the characters and what we choose for them to sing!

Now, the one question I’ve been dying to ask after seeing two shows at Jubilations. Do ALL of your plays make reference to your hometown of Moose Jaw?

Yes, that is my little trademark…Most guest writers work it in as well, as our season ticket holders and regulars have come to expect and look forward to where it is going to show up. My Mom is still living there and I have to admit it was a good place to grow up.


Two and Two Thirds Men is playing from June 29 to September 2. For more information on this or previous shows, go to Jubilations Dinner Theatre.

Lunchbox Serves Up Two Canadian Musicals in 2012-2013

Ah, June! And with that, time to catch up on more season launches as the 2011-2012 season winds down. As usual, Lunchbox Theatre has a couple of musicals in their 2012-2013 programme of mostly Canadian plays (including several premieres). The first is Blanche: The Bittersweet Life of a Wild Prairie Dame by Onalea Gilbertson. I was intrigued by the story about her experience with this show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in Theatre Alberta’s spring On Stages magazine online, so I’m glad we’re going to get a chance to see it here in Calgary. The second is the world premiere of a new musical comedy by Joe Slabe, called If I Weren’t With You. I don’t know much about this one, but I have yet to see one of Joe’s shows that I didn’t like, so I’d think that’s a good bet too.

There’s a third show I’m even more excited about, although it’s not a musical, and that’s The Bob Shivery Show by award-winning Saskatchewan playwright David Sealy. David and I are currently writing a musical comedy, No Ordinary Tulip, about a struggling shopkeeper who gets swept up in Holland’s 1637 tulipmania crisis when people traded single tulip bulb futures for the price of a house. We met a few years ago at the Alberta Playwrights Network (APN)/Theatre Alberta Playworks Ink conference in Calgary. He had won the APN playwriting award for The Bob Shivery Show and as part of his prize, his show got a public reading at the conference.

At the time I was working on a musical about a woman who sets her ex-husband’s house on fire on Christmas Eve when she finds herself accidentally pet-sitting for him and his new wife (My Very Worst X-Mas). I was struggling with how I was going to portray the animals on stage, and The Bob Shivery Show has a cat in it, so I approached David after the show to ask him how he planned to do that. We got to talking, and he said he had always been interested in writing a musical, and I said I was really interested in finding a playwright to work with me on my tulip musical so I could focus on just the music and lyrics, instead of doing everything,  as I’d done for my previous show, Eve: The True Story (Calgary Fringe Festival, 2008). And thus a fruitful cross-province, mostly virtual, collaboration was born. We hope to see No Ordinary Tulip on stage in 2013, and are looking for a producer, if you happen to know (or be!) one. Anyway, I am delighted for David that The Bob Shivery Show was selected to start of Lunchbox’s  2012-2013 line-up, and I am really looking forward to seeing it up on stage (cat included).

All the information on these shows, straight off the Lunchbox website is below. For the entire programme, go to: Lunchbox TheatrePlayPasses and single tickets are now available.




January 14 — 26, 2013


A Theatrical Song Cycle by Onalea Gilbertson Music by Onalea Gilbertson with Morag Northey and Jonathan Lewis
Directed by Rachel Avery

Gilbertson, on piano, joined by violin, cello and guitar, gives a dynamic performance intermingling beautiful original songs with audio from her grandmother, Blanche, recollecting her life and loves. A collision of history, music and theatre. Ranked in the top 20 shows of 2011 by the Huffington Post after its New York run!

April 1 — 20, 2013


A World Premiere Musical by Joe Slabe
Directed by David Leyshon

If I Weren’t With You is a musical romp through one couple’s imaginings of the magnificent lives they would be leading if only that pesky matrimonial partner they currently have was not holding them back.

September 10 — 29, 2012


A World Premiere Comedy by David Sealy
Directed by Mike Kennard

When the girl of Bob Shivery’s dreams moves to Alberta to take up with an oil man, Bob decides to win her back, fair and square, and heads out on a dangerous and magical journey.

Post Navigation


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers