The “official” Calgary theatre award season is over now that they’ve handed out The Critters, then The CATS and finally The Bettys. I feel that something is still missing, though, so I gathered together all the Calgary Musical Theatre Bloggers (that would be me, myself and I ) and we decided to launch our own awards: “The Lynnies” (a childhood nickname that only my mother and Mrs. Moffat across the street were allowed to use once I hit adulthood, despite my friend Geoff’s continued insistence on doing so, even in public).
“The Lynnies” cover a broad range of categories which relate to the complete customer experience, not just the quality of the performance. I will likely change categories from year to year – focussing on things which have particularly delighted or disappointed me, both as a blogger and as coordinator of the Calgary Musicals+ Meetup Group which goes to all these shows and more.
I only started this blog in January, so, alas, if your show ran last Fall it’s not included this time around. As far as I know, I saw all the musicals in Calgary this year except Morpheus Theatre’s HMS Pinafore and Masquerade Productions’ Jungle Book. Not a bad record, if I do say so myself.
So without further ado, we’re going to skip the nominations altogether and proceed with the first annual “Lynnies” (drumroll please).
Shows I Was Tempted to See Twice if I Weren’t So Busy - Or Cheap
[I've gotta say, although all of these musicals were popular, I wouldn't have expected any of them to be my thing except maybe Mary Poppins. I wouldn't even have gone if I hadn't committed to try to go to every musical in Calgary this year when I launched this blog. This just goes to show that I should practice what I preach and leave my prejudices at the door once in a while and try shows I wouldn't normally choose].
Pinkalicious by Storybook Theatre (This was one of the shows I was most dreading and I couldn’t have loved it more. I only saw the invitation-only preview and I actually did buy a ticket for a second show but wasn’t able to use it, so I gave it away).
Avenue Q by Storybook Theatre
Legally Blonde by Summerstock
Mary Poppins by Broadway Across Canada
Evil Dead The Musical by Hit and Myth Productions/Pumphouse (still playing)
Best Musical That Nobody Saw
Assassins by Front Row Centre – This dark Stephen Sondheim musical deserves more play than it gets and FRC did a great job with it. I don’t know if nobody saw it, but I know I couldn’t give tickets away and from what I can tell, neither could FRC.
Actor/Actress Who’s So Good I’d See Anything They’re In
Madeleine Suddaby (Guys and Dolls, Avenue Q and Oh Canada, Eh?). Madeleine just moved to Calgary from Vancouver this year and I look forward to seeing more of her this season.
Honorable mentions: Tory Doctor (Jeremy de Bergerac, Cats), James Noonan (Guys and Dolls, Frankenstein The Musical)
Best Website/Online Ticketing
A tie: Front Row Centre and Storybook Theatre - both websites are easy and intuitive to use, visually appealing, kept up to date, and have one-click ticketing from the home page
Masquerade Productions (formerly New Opera Company) – Slow and out of date.
Dishonorable mentions: Morpheus Theatre (built for participants, not customers, it seems to me), Forte Musical Theatre Guild (with only one show per season, it’s generally out of date, and its blog has so few posts it can hardly be called a blog)
Jubilations Dinner Theatre for its Two and Two Thirds Men ”One Free Beer for Men” Thursdays, as well as deeply discounted long weekend specials this summer
Stage West - great buffet with something for everyone (love the seafood bar!) – also the most expensive
Honourable Mention: Rosebud Dinner Theatre
Cornerstone Dinner Theatre (Oh Canada, Eh?) – passable, but just
Ticketmaster – for charging $33 for a $25 Museo ticket at the Jubilee, a 32% markup ($8 on a $100 ticket maybe, but $8 on a $25 ticket???)
Best Customer Service
Jubilations Dinner Theatre box office – helpful, flexible, and always courteous, even when the fault was mine or my group’s, and it usually was
Alberta Theatre Project’s Premiere Circle - worth the splurge (OK, technically I sat there for Mary’s Wedding instead of a musical, but I think it still counts since they do two musicals a year).
Central Memorial High School - no competition here – luckily I could cushion myself with my crinoline AND Beauty and The Beast was worth it.
Forte Musical Theatre Guild’s “Pay What You Can Tuesdays.” I think this is the only theatre company that still does this, at least of those that do musicals – great for students, seniors and starving artists. Hope they are able to keep it up. (Watch for a future article on “Musicals For Misers” where I map out the best deals for all the theatre companies that major in musicals).
That’s my … I mean, our … take on the last 2/3 of the 2011-2012 season.
Feel free to share your thoughts or additional “fun” categories (best or worst) based on your musical theatre experiences this past season.
(In case you’re wondering, I called this one #4 to take into account the Calgary Theatre Critics Awards (“The Critters”) that were handed out in early August, but didn’t get a number)