Dreamgirls Musical Coming to Vancouver

Image courtesy of Arts Club

Image courtesy of Arts Club

The hit Motown musical Dreamgirls is making a stop in Vancouver.

The rags to riches drama about three wannabe divas from Chicago comes to the Arts Club’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre May 9-July 7.  Eight shows are already sold out for what is expected to be one of the hottest theatrical productions of the year.

The original musical, which opened on Broadway in 1981, ran for an impressive 1522 performances and earned both a Tony Award and a Grammy Award.  It was later adapted into the hit 2006 film, Dreamgirls, which featured Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy and garnered two Oscars.

The musical traces the evolution of a 1960s girl group dubbed the Dreamettes, loosely based on the Supremes.  Action opens in 1962 at the famous Amateur Night talent competition inside New York’s Apollo Theatre.  The ragtag trio of soul singers loses the competition but gains a manager.  Their career takes off when they abandon traditional R&B for more mainstream pop sounds, catered to a white audience.

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Dreamgirls Musical Coming to Vancouver

Hit Zombie Musical: Ride the Cyclone Comes to Vancouver, Jan 17-Feb 16 (Ticket Giveaway)

Photo courtesy of Arts Club

Ready for Glee with zombies?

Ride the Cyclone – a campy musical about a high school chamber choir killed in a roller coaster accident – premieres this Thursday, Jan. 17, as part of Vancouver’s PuSh international performing arts festival.  And you’ve got a chance to win a pair of tickets (for more on that, read on).

Developed by Victoria’s Atomic Vaudeville company, Ride the Cyclone has been hailed as “the most awe-inspiring, truly entertaining, heart tugging, toe-tapping musical” in years by the Toronto Star.  The set-up spells darkly comic masterpiece.  Six high school choir students from the small town of Uranium, Saskatchewan, perish in a freak roller coaster accident.  The Amazing Karnack, a mechanized fortune teller at the amusement park, feels responsible. Continue reading:
Hit Zombie Musical: Ride the Cyclone Comes to Vancouver, Jan 17-Feb 16 (Ticket Giveaway)

Award-winning musical Spitfire Grill at Pacific Theatre, through Oct 27

Photo credit: Francesca Albertazzi

When it comes to live theatre in Vancouver, much of the spotlight goes to heavy hitters like the Arts Club and Bard on the Beach (and, until recently, Vancouver Playhouse).  But drama buffs know that there’s an entire network of smaller, intimate theatres operating largerly under the radar – from the Cultch to the Firehall Arts Centre and tiny Pacific Theatre in the  Granville Rise neighbourhood.  While productions may be more modest at these theatres, production value is anything but.

I stopped by Pacific Theatre for the first time this week to take in their latest musical, the small-town drama Spitfire Grill (running through Oct. 27).  The theatre can be a little hard to find, tucked away next to a seniors centre on 12th Avenue.  Pacific Theatre bills itself as “community-minded professional theatre,” and the venue has a grassroots, community feel.  Everyone inside seemed to know each other – staff, performers and patrons.  Inside, a small lobby leads to a very unique 126-seat, alley-style theatre.  The north and south wings are completely separated by a ground-level stage in the middle.

The Spitfire Grill, adapted from the hit 1996 film, traces the life of an ex-prisoner who relocates to a small midwestern town in the hope of starting a new life.  She gets a job at the grill – the town’s only restaurant – and quickly discovers that everything is not as perfect as it seems. Continue reading:
Award-winning musical Spitfire Grill at Pacific Theatre, through Oct 27