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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Musicals at the Fringe - a few for you to consider...

It is no secret that I am a fan of musicals, I've been in over 30 of them and have directed about 15 or so, in fact, I've even written a couple of them, so I'm partial.  Fringe is always interesting for musicals because the format is generally shorter so you get the opportunity to see some shows that might not be done in the regular season. You also will get song cycles, and more edgier pieces, and those are certainly up on the docket for this Fringe.

Here are a few that have caught my eye:

If you are looking for something that you might not see on the main stages you could check out Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Strathcona High - BYOV 27) produced by Scona Alumni Theatre Co. It's directed by Linette Smith and features Chris Scott and MacKenzie Ruerink as well as a gang of talented young triple threats. The Scona Alumni Fringe shows tend to sell out fast, so you might want to get to the box office quick on this one. Another outside the box choice would be Straight Edge/Patient Mango Theatre's Bat Boy: The Musical directed by Amanda Neufeld with music direction by Daniel Belland. So we're looking at the team that brought Reefer Madness, Bare and Ordinary Days to the Fringe in year's past. The cast also features some of my favorite local performers! Also known for selling out so line up now!

If you like a musical that is more about the songs than the scenes, you might want to check out a song cycle. You can see either Plain Jane's' Working at the Varscona Theatre or Foote in the Door's Edges at the Hi-Edmonton Hostel. Edges is by Pasek and Paul (Dogfight) and focuses on 4 young millennials in New York. Working is by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin) and has some incredible songs that you don't get to hear that often.

Looking for musicals with a local connection? Well, there's Teatro la Quindicina's What Gives? penned by Stewart Lemoine which features Jason Hardwick, Jocelyn Ahlf, Rachel Bowron and Andrew MacDonald-Smith. Or you can catch Song of the Martingale by Andrea House & friends. This is the same company that brought Valentine's Train and Forget Me Not to the Fringe in year's past. Or support a new Edmonton writing team and go to The Grave Digger by Erin Hutchinson & Kelly M. M. Henry.

If you are looking for something for a younger audience, you could check out EMT's Broadway Rocks or Opera NUOVA's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Both shows are in the PCL and should provide an excellent introduction to musical theatre for even the youngest audience members.

Make sure you check out the program as there are even more musical options for you, from Opera to Sondheim to Zombies! I'm sure if you like musicals there will be one that feels just for you!


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