Heritage theatre brings back acclaimed Leonard Cohen tribute

Steve Charles and Lauren Bowler in Chelsea Hotel. David Cooper photo.

One of East Vancouver’s most treasured heritage theatres is celebrating its 35th anniversary season this year by bringing back one of its most popular productions.

From March 17-April 21, the Firehall Arts Centre (280 E. Cordova St.) presents the return of Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen. In the award-winning tribute, a group of actors/musicians presents a dramatic scenario that offers live performances of many of the late singer’s best-known, most-loved songs: “Everybody Knows,” “I’m Your Man,” “Hallelujah” and many more.

In what the media release calls “this eclectic cabaret of loves won and lost,” a writer is haunted by memories of past loves. He checks into New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel seeking inspiration for his next song. In doing so, he comes face to face with a love he wishes he could not only forget, but erase from memory.

Chelsea Hotel features six musicians/performers, including Benjamin Elliott, Marlene Ginader, Steve Charles, Adrian Glynn, Krystle Dos Santos, and Kayla Nickle. Elliott has been with the production since its 2012 premiere, while Charles arranged the music. Dos Santos and Nickle are recent additions to the cast. The production has toured across Canada to sold-out audiences and earned the nickname “the makeout show.” No doubt famous ladies’ man Cohen would have been pleased with this description.

Benjamin Elliott and Adrian Glynn McMorran. David Cooper photo.

Tracey Power conceived and directed the show. It has received Ovation Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Production and Outstanding Director and numerous nominations (Jessie Richardson Theatre Award, Calgary Theatre Critics’ Award, and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award).

“When Mr. Cohen passed in November 2016, our cast and company were deeply affected, as were his many fans,” Firehall Arts Centre Artistic Producer Donna Spencer said in a recent media release. “It was then that I decided the Firehall should celebrate his work once more through offering our last production of Chelsea Hotel as part of the Firehall’s 35th anniversary season. The Firehall is deeply proud of developing and producing Chelsea Hotel, and we are looking forward to hearing Mr. Cohen’s music ringing through the theatre once more before Closing Time.”

Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
March 17 – April 21/Firehall Arts Centre/280 E. Cordova
Performance times: Tues, 7 p.m./Wed-Fri 8/Sat 3 & 8/Sun 3
Wed, 1 p.m. pay-what-you-can (March 21 & 28; April 4, 11, 18)
Tickets: From $25 at firehallartscentre.ca or call 604.689.0926
Post Show Talkbacks: March 22 & 29; April 5, 12, & 19

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