Broadway Musicals in Stanley Park: Theatre Under the Stars is Back for 2015

97fc10ce4468953d2b2f48ce9f73-660x474It’s a campy musical with a deeper message that’s anything but corny: racial justice in the American South.

The Broadway hit Hairspray – about an awkward teen who dreams of TV fame and gets more than she bargained for – is making its way to Vancouver’s Stanley Park for the 2015 instalment of Theatre under the Stars, starting July 10. It’s joined by another classic, Oliver, The Musical – the stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ever-popular Oliver Twist.

Staged outdoors at dusk, Theatre under the Stars is a unique Vancouver tradition. Since 1940, nearly 70 seasons of plays, musicals and operettas have been performed, featuring everything from the old-time classic South Pacific to the contemporary hit Footloose. While the performers and technicians are amateurs in training, the results are anything but.  

hairspray_lndscpe1(1)This year, the spotlight is on the Broadway smash Hairspray, which earned eight Tony Awards during its wildly successful run. The musical, based on the cult classic 1988 John Waters film, is set in 1960s Baltimore, where plump teenager Tracy Turnblad dreams of nothing more than dancing on The Corny Collins Show, a popular TV dance program. Tracy ultimately wins a role on the show, becoming an overnight celebrity with an instantly recognizable hairdo. But when she discovers that the program is racially segregated, she turns her energies in an entirely new direction.

Photo sourced from rivenmaster.com

Photo sourced from rivenmaster.com

Also running this summer is Oliver, The Musical. Join along as everyone’s favourite orphan and a motley cast of characters adventure through the underbelly of Victorian London. The classic score includes toe-tapping melodies Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, I’d Do Anything and As Long As He Needs Me.

Aside from the action on stage, half the fun of Theatre under the Stars is the venue itself, grassy Malkin Bowl. Thousands of Vancouverites congregate in chairs on the lawn on performance nights. As the sun slips behind the trees, Stanley Park goes dark and the stage lights come up. Show tunes and snappy dialogue compete with cawing crows, hooting owls and noises from the sleeping forest. Theatregoers snuggle under blankets to ward off the evening’s chill.

Hairspray and Oliver are performed on alternating nights from July 10 through Aug. 22. Regular priced tickets start at $30 and can be purchased on the Theatre under the Stars website.

 

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