Showing posts from January, 2013

Les Contes D'Hoffman - Edmonton Opera takes us to the Circus and there is much to see and hear Under the Big Top!

It shouldn't be surprising that Circus and Opera go together so well - both are bigger than real life and dramatic.  With Edmonton Opera's Les Contes D'Hoffman ( The Hoffman Tales ) opening this week at The Jubilee Auditorium, the merging of the two is almost flawless.  Designed by Camellia Koo, it is visually stunning, with striped canvas in sepia tones and a colour palette and attention to detail that fuels the romantic nature of the story.  It is romantic in a nostalgic way - you almost expect to smell popcorn and cotton candy and the lighting suggests that it is filtered through imaginary dust kicked up from the floor. Although he was still tweaking them at the Preview I saw,  Lighting Designer Jason Hand created many gorgeous moments.  It's best when he plays with the shadows, like at the end of Act One when the crowd taunts Hoffman for his misplaced love and their leering shadows crawl menacingly up the sides of the striped tent. The story is fairly straigh

So This is Cool...

NATIONAL ELEVATOR PROJECT Feb 1st, 2nd, 3rd at the Canoe Festival What can happen in an elevator? Absolutely anything! Catch a sneak peak of Theatre Yes’s National Elevator Project featuring short plays written for, and performed in, working elevators. Don’t miss this teaser of the 3-very-short plays to be included in Theatre Yes’s one-of-a-kind performance project featuring a series of brand-new, site-specific works penned by writers from across the country. Each mini-play (under 5 minutes) asks audiences to enter and ride elevators with actors making each performance an unforgettable theatre adventure. All aboard! Theatre Yes is pleased to present workshop productions of three plays in the series commissioned by Workshop West Theatre: Come by each venue anytime between 7:00PM-8:30PM to that evenings play. Feb 1st 7:00-8:30 PM LOVE IN AN ELEVATOR by Melissa Thingelstad Harcourt House Gallery, 10215-112 Street Feb 2nd 7:00-8:30 PM CARGO / IMMIGRATION By Greg Ma

Look What We Got Here in YEG - Cole Porter at The Citadel Club and a meeting of YEG Theatre Minds to Talk Resources!

On Saturday night I was excited to take in John Alcorn : The Cole Porter Songbook at the new Citadel Club in the Rice Theatre space.  I've been curious to see what they had done to the space and was quite pleased with it.  The room is gorgeous and feels so upscale and classy and was a perfect environment for the concert.  Alcorn and his fellow jazz musicians were excellent as they interpreted Porter's music.  The approach was definitely more jazz than musical theatre, but they kept us all engaged for the evening.  I preferred the more upbeat numbers, with Let's Do It , Let's Fall In Love and You're The Top being my favorites, but I felt they offered a nice repertoire overall with variety that showcased their strengths and made for a delightful evening.  I'm hoping to go back and check out other events at the space.  Bridget Ryan and Rejean Cournoyer are both slated for cabarets later in the season and they are both sure to offer up a good evening of entertai

Paddling the Canoe Festival... Journey's Beginning...

Last night Workshop West's Canoe Festival opened with two shows at C103 (formerly Catalyst Theatre) .  I had to wait for Mark to get home so I managed to make it to Send in the Girl's Tudor Queens .  This was a hit show at the Edmonton Fringe in 2011 and I saw it and loved it then but was excited to see the re-boot in a better space with much better sight-lines and more room for their dances and, from what I had heard, all new costumes!  What was great two years ago was indeed EVEN BETTER to see last night.  The Dances were tighter and the choreography sharper ( I think having the wider deck allowed them to really do it justice ) and the design concept much more cohesive.  I loved the consistency of the costuming (I really wanted to see the crests on their robes close up!).  The script is still funny and biting and each of the six actors brings their own charms to their characters to make them unique. Two new cast members (Laura Metcalfe as Anne of Cleves and Caley Suliak as K

Modern Dance and Free-man Philosophy - #2 and #3

I had a great weekend of Arts - catching Tania Alvarado and Mile Zero Dance on Saturday night and Free-man on the Land on Sunday afternoon.  It was fabulous to see the modern dance on Saturday. Though the night was sharp and cold, it was a wonderfully full house out at the Timm's Centre to see the show presented by the Brian Webb Dance Company .  There were two pieces.  The first was choreographed by Tania Alvarado and the second was choreographed by Gerry Morita of Mile Zero Dance .  I really connected to the first piece.  Amazing to think that these artists are Alberta grown for the most part.  As a theatre person I always search for story and context and with dance this can be a little more abstracted, but for me the first piece was about community and connection and I was amazed by the athleticism mixed with artistry.  The story is not important.  I was less connected to the second piece, but felt it was taking a lot of risks and experimenting.  I think my bigger challenge

Oscar Countdown...

It's a lot harder to see 9 movies than it is to see 5.  Some years I have not even gotten to the 5, but now that the Oscars have up to 10 nominees for Best Picture, it has made my life more challenging.  I know, I know - poor me - having to try to get to movies... but I like it. Anyhow, at this point I have seen three of the Best Picture nominees, Les Miserables , Argo and as of today, Lincoln .  I think I will be able to get to 6-7 of them but Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild are challenging me as I cannot find them in Edmonton.  So far my pick would be Lincoln .  Although I really liked Argo , I was not moved in the same way as I was by Lincoln .  They are both pretty near perfect in execution - strong scripts and excellent acting and directing with all the details tight and authentic - so it is pretty much a subjective thing for me. Perhaps Lincoln just resonated more because of it's epicness and because of what is currently going on with Idle No More in Canada.

Diving into my 2013 Theatre Goal!

Now that I have got the show cast, and we are starting rehearsals, I can dive into my theatre/arts goal for the year.  January is always a slow month to start as there just isn't much on.  I did catch Songs for a New World on the 2nd, but now I really get going. This weekend I am going to catch Tania Alvarado and Mile Zero Dance at the Timm's Centre and Free-man on the Land at Theatre Network.  Those are nested between Basketball and rehearsal but it should prove to be a great arts filled weekend.  I am also currently trying to figure out what I will get to at the Canoe Festival .  I plan on catching the new version of The Tudor Queens and am looking forward to seeing the show in a venue with better sight lines.  I loved it at the 2011 Fringe and have heard a lot about their rehearsing for this new production so I am keen to see it again. I really want to see White Rabbit Red Rabbit , but it will mean finding someone to take either my Del Barber or Jeremy Fisher tickets

Introducing the Cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Cast List  (in no particular order) Chip Tolentino - Mark Sinongco Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere - Kristin Johnston Leaf Coneybear - John Evans William Barfee - Curtis Knecht Marcy Park - Meredith Honda Olive Ostrovsky - Nadine Veroba Rona Lisa Perretti - Amanda Neufeld Vice Principal Douglas Panch - Joe Garreck Mitch (Maggie? Michelle? Maxi?) Mahoney - Kate Wylie Ollive’s Mom Erin Foster-O’Riordan Olive’s Dad - Stuart McDougall Carl Grubenniere (Carl Dad) - Dean McQuay Dan Schwartz (Dan Dad) - Matt Graham Leaf’s Mom - Kat Evans Leaf’s Dad - Shawn Wells Marigold Coneybear - Monica LeBlond-Davison Brook Coneybear - Alyssa Lightfoot Pinecone Coneybear - Kelly Webber Raisin Coneybear - Cleo Halls Landscape Coneybear - Angela Tran Paul Coneybear - Rolando Bautisto, Jesus Christ - Dean McQuay I am excited to get started on this show with this amazing group of people and the fabulous production t

My Neck is All Kinked Up!

I am not sure what is causing it, but there are several possible contributing factors. First, I am in the middle of auditions for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and whenever I look at my callback list I get stressed.  I really shouldn't look at it.  The stress is in fact a good thing, but it is because I have more fabulous people than I can use that I am stressed,  It was hard enough to make the list because of I have already cut some wonderful performers but we had to.  It's what you have to do.  I'll be fine next week when it's all decided.  I am not going to think more about it until I actually see the callbacks because that will be the deciding place. Second, I have been watching the twitter and the news and reading everything I can find about the whole Idle No More  movement and the history leading up to it.  Encouraged by the rants of my good friend Amelia, I have read everything I can find, from far left ( ugh ) to far right ( ugh again ) and fin

So I Saw Les Miserables Today...

First of all, let me say, I cried four times so I definitely got my money's worth. I can also admit that Les Miserables is my ALL TIME FAVORITE Musical so I knew going in I would have high expectations. I was worried after the first 45 minutes, but then it started rolling and began to gel.  I do not think it was the perfect adaptation of the musical by any means and I think the Direction is the biggest culprit in that respect. However, there are moments, individual performances and sections that do nice service to it and rescue it from being a bad movie. I cannot fault the acting.  It's there for all of them.  The singing, well, there are disappointments, but again I think the direction is what undercut what could have been so much more.  Anne Hathaway's I Dreamed a Dream escapes damage because it is done as a one-shot, close up so that it reads like it should - as a monologue told through song.  Could she play Fantine on a big stage? Maybe not, but for this film she i

A Day of Prep.... FOR AUDITIONS!

It's not like I left it to the last minute. I don't do that. But I did spent a bit of time today making sure that I am ready for auditions tomorrow.  It's always a little hard for me to pick my sides.  Is this the one that will show me what I need to see?  What about this one?  And I only have 1/2 an hour per group of 4 and we have to hear them sing, so I want to make sure I get to see what I need to AND I want to make sure they get to show me want they need to.  I will tell you a not-so-secret secret... I agonize about auditions .  I think because I acted for a long time before I directed I really empathize with the people coming out.  I know that everyone out there wants me to see them, really see them , and find whatever I need in them. I know that everyone coming out  really wants  to get in the show. I want them all to be terrific, but then I stress about that because I know I can't cast them all .  I usually end up not casting a good dozen people I really, reall

A Musical Beginning to 2013!

Last night I caught Three Form Theatre's Songs for a New World at La Cite. Tonight is their last show - it start at 7:30 p.m.  It was an admirable undertaking for the young theatre company.  They handled the challenging music of Jason Robert Brown's song cycle well and I had an entertaining evening.  I think we shall see more of these four performers in years to come.  MacKenzie Reurink, in particular, has a good sense of comic timing combined with a strong singing voice that I think will serve her well in her career.  All four (the other three being Chris Scott, Steven Angove and Robin Kumish) have nice voices and a good sense of story-telling.  The balance is a little off, so I would recommend sitting on House Right at least four or five rows up.  Sometimes the band is just a little too hot for the vocals and it's best a bit further back and to the side. So after that delightful night of song, I took in my boy's piano recital this afternoon. Gibson started his

A New Year - Filling in the Calendar!

In the spirit of getting out of holiday mode I spent time yesterday and today filling in my calendar.  I am pretty booked up already for January with Spelling Bee and a workshop for one of the From Cradle to Stage new plays.  I booked tickets to   Free-man on the Land at Theatre Network and Evie's Waltz at Shadow Theatre.  I have tickets to a couple of music events at the Arden Theatre and to Tania Alvarado/Mile Zero Dance .  Throw in rehearsals and basketball and I am a busy girl. I am trying to hit Sunday matinees for shows because they are a little easier to manage in my schedule. The cool thing about the ticket prize that I won is that I am going to shows I might not have gone to, and although not all of them are my cup of tea, I feel more engaged and challenged as a theatre goer. Case in Point: I am pretty sure that I have no idea what is coming my way with Free-man on the Land .  I am prepared for an adventure! Evie's Waltz sounds like it will explore some of the same