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).
NOTE: HIGH PERFORMANCE RODEO PRICING. PLAYPASSES NOT VALID FOR BLANCHE. ASK ABOUT SPECIAL PRICING FOR PLAYPASS HOLDERS.
January 14 — 26, 2013
THE BITTERSWEET LIFE OF A WILD PRAIRIE DAME
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
IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU
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
THE BOB SHIVERY SHOW
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.