Vancouver theatre

ReviewFromTheHouse.com is  pleased to award two tickets each for opening night  of the Upintheair and Genus Theatre Production of  A Tomb With a View to the first 2 people who email gillian@reviewfromthehouse.com with the answer to this question: The title of  A Tomb with a View is a humorous allusion to the book title, A Room with A View. Who is the author of the book and who is the author of the play?

A TOMB WITH A VIEW  premieres at Studio 1398 on Granville Island this October 25th at 8:00. pm and runs October 25, 2012 – November 3, 2012:  8:00pm (Matinee 2pm Oct 28)

The Studio – 1398 Cartwright Street, Vancouver

Tickets: $18 / $14 (Students) http://tomb.brownpapertickets.com/

Just in time for Halloween - British playwright, Norman Robbins' play comes to Vancouver.

Matthew Coulson, Sarah Jane  Pelzer and Elliott Loran  relaxing between showsThe Vancouver run of Ride the Cyclone is coming to an end with a final performance at 8 PM tonight. Then it is off to Whitehorse  and then Toronto from November 10 to December 3 for this group of talented performers in this year's run-away hit. I heard that several of the Toronto performances have already sold out so I sent E-nudges to theatre buddies in Toronto to make sure they get their tickets early.

Bursting with curiosity to learn more than I read in the program and from the ridethecyclonemusical  website I met with three of the group in between shows to learn a bit more about them. Sarah Jane Pelzer who plays Jane Doe,  auditioned for the first workshop over three years ago and has been in the show ever since. Without white makeup and those dark scleral lenses, she is lovely, and totally alive! Elliott Loran who plays Ricky Potts, and the unforgettable Space Age Bachelor Man joined after the first workshop was held. He is as energetic and enthusiastic as Ricky is introverted, and delightful to interview.

Samantha Hill & Adrian Marchuk; Photo by David CooperLight in the Piazza
Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel
Book by Craig Lucas
Direction and musical staging by Peter Jorgenson
Musical Director Sean Bayntun
Patrick Street Productions
Annette and Norman Rothstein Theatre
Sept 15 to  Oct 9th, 2011

Vancouver, BC: In musing about my response to the show, I finally concluded that I really admired the production but was a little disappointed in the work itself. So what on earth do I mean by that? In brief, the production values from cast, musicians and the creative/technical teams were excellent but I just could not connect with the music.

Samantha Hill & Adrian marchuk. Photo by Ross den OtterI guess for me contemporary show music is a bit like drinking an ultra-dry Alsace style Gewürtztraminer or Riesling versus one from the Mosel or Rheingau. Both may be exceptional quality but I enjoy the latter far more. Having read previous critical raves about Guettel's music I was hoping, and I think, expecting, the melodic music of the old style musicals, from which tunes continue to play in my head long after I have left the theatre. Instead, as several of us agreed, we enjoyed the orchestral music and admired the ability of the cast to sing those intricate songs but the songs were not memorable, at least to our musically unsophisticated ears.

Bob Frazer as Richard III. Photo by David BlueRichard III by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kathryn Shaw
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival,
Douglas Campbell Studio Stage, Vanier Park.
July 13 to September 23, 2011

Vancouver, BC. At the end of Henry VI: The War of the Roses, I left the Studio Stage theatre looking forward to seeing Bob Frazer as the unrepentantly villainous Richard in the concluding play of Bard's Kings History Play Cycle, Richard III. 

The day of the show's opening was also the first 7 hour marathon day of the intermediate level wine course I am taking. While we learned about regions and varietals, we also tasted 18 wines, 9 during the morning and 9  in the afternoon session. I rushed home to change and made it to Vanier Park in time to pick up The Merchant's Antipasto picnic basket from Emelle's Catering, and wolf it down before the show began. I was worried that sheer exhaustion plus whatever alcohol could be left in my system might cause me to nod off but to the contrary, I was riveted throughout the show and could not take my eyes off the stage.

Mention Richard III to most people and whether or not they have seen  Shakespeare's play, they associate his name with the murder of the young Princes in the Tower of London. It's like Medea. Mention her name and the first association is infanticide  not the complex and multi-faceted nature of this woman. So leaving aside the little princes, what is this Richard all about?

Only two days left to enter the contest for two tickets to Death of A Salesman.

Read how at Contest.

So far all the entrants have found the correct answers. You can too. The answers are easy to find on line.

Good Luck

The cast of August: Osage County. Photo by David CooperAugust: Osage County by Tracy Letts
Directed by Janet Wright
An Arts Club Theatre Production,
Stanley Theatre Industrial Alliance Stage
Jan 27 to Feb 27, 2011

Vancouver, BC: The 2008 Tony Award and Pulitzer Drama Award-winning play, August: Osage County has created a buzz where ever it has been performed. I missed seeing it in London and New York - have to time my visits better - so I was quite excited to see why this play has had such an impact.

After partaking of the Dine Out Vancouver menus at Red Door Pan Asian Grill, we strolled north two blocks to the Stanley Theatre. I was really hoping that the show would live up to my expectations, and it did.

It has an unusual structure for a contemporary play. With a large cast as pictured,  it is long with a running time of around three hours and structured as a prologue, followed by three acts. Yet despite my often short attention span, in this case I was completely engrossed in the dramas of the Weston family from the opening lines to the final scene.

Giovanni Mocibob as Asher. Photo by Tim Matheson.My Name is Asher Lev
Adapted by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok.
A Pacific Theatre production
Pacific Theatre,
Jan 38 to Feb 26, 2011

Vancouver, BC: Pacific Theatre has done it again, giving us another little gem of a play.  Adapted by Aaron Posner from the eponymous novel by Chaim Potok, My Name is Asher Lev portrays a gifted young artist who is compelled to follow his creative passion even though it ultimately means exile from his family and the community in which he grew up.

The cast of three, directed with a nuanced sensitivity by Morris Ertman, features Giovanni Mocibob as Asher,  while Nathan Schmidt and Katharine Venour play several male and female characters. Schmidt plays Asher's father Aryeh Lev, Asher's artistic mentor and teacher Jacob Kahn, Asher's uncle Yaakov and The Rebbe, leader of the Hassidic Community.  Venour plays Asher's mother Rivkeh,  Anna the art gallery owner  who shows Jacob's and Asher's work, and a artist's model.

C.E. Gatchalian: happy with the reading

Earlier this month I went to a reading of a work-in-progress at the Playhouse Recital Hall. The Laurette Play by Vancouver playwright  C.E. Gatchalian, is about Laurette Taylor, a Broadway stage actor who was renowned for having originated the role of Amanda in Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie. Gatchalian was inspired to write this play by the fact that few people remember or have even heard of Laurette Taylor, and yet in her day she was legendary. Her work inspired  actors, such as Uta Hagen, who in turn became legendary performers and teachers of the next generation of theatre artists.

My first encounter with the work of  Gatchalian, was in 2004 when my daughter, Amanda Lockitch played Lucy, the mother of Kieran, played by Ryan Beil in Gatchalian's play Crossing. Written as his thesis project for his M.F.A. in creative writing at UBC,  Crossing is an unrelentingly dark piece about a sexually-troubled relationship between mother and son. 

Allan Morgan, Glynis Leyshon, Nicola Cavendish share smiles before the readingThis production, directed by Sean Cummings, became the founding production of Meta.for Theatre Company, with Cummings, Lockitch and Melissa Powell as Co-artistic directors.  Meta.for Theatre later produced Broken, an evening of other one-act plays by Gatchalian.

Crossing has just been published. The book launch, and a celebration of Tennessee Williams' 100th Birthday, will take place February 26th at Rhizome Cafe. More information later.

The Laurette Play reading was directed by Glynis Leyshon. As Gatchalian describes the script, it is the story of "how Laurette Taylor attempts to reignite the creativity of a frustrated, alcoholic, once-great playwright, unleashing memories and thoughts on the nature of theatre, art, creativity and immortality."

Nicola Cavendish and Allan Morgan read multiple parts, playing characters including  the playwright, his parents, and of course Laurette or her ghost.

The cast of Robin HoodRobin Hood by Sebastian Archibald
Directed by Chelsea Haberlin
Itsazoo Productions
Queen Elizabeth Park - at the Bloedel Conservatory
 August 4-7, 10-14 and 17-19, 2010 at 7:00 pm.
Run extended  - 25th to 28th August

Vancouver, BC: It is definitely becoming one of  Vancouver's  summer theatre traditions - a promenade play by Itsazoo Productions in Queen Elizabeth Park. With the natural scenery of the park as the stage, the audience follows members of the company along pathways and grassy areas as the story moves from scene to scene. Company playwright Sebastian Archibald adapts and creates the stories from varied sources.

The Singing in the rain ensemble: Photo by Tim MathesonSinging in the  Rain
Book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green; Songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed
Director Shel Piercy; Music Director Wendy Bross-Stewart; Choreographer Shelley Stewart-Hunt
Theatre Under the Stars,
Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park
Alternating nights to August 20th, 2010

Vancouver, BC. As much as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat  will enchant children this summer, adult audiences will enjoy this production of Singing in the Rain. Although the words "singing in the rain" can't help but  evoke the iconic image  of  Gene Kelly  in the 1952 movie, the fun this TUTS cast has with the story managed to get the movie images out of my mind.

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