Circle Game: A New Joni Mitchell Musical in Vancouver

Andrew Cohen, Anna Kuman, David Z. Cohen, and Sara Vickruck (clockwise from top left); Photo Credit: Tyler Branston

“We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game” ~ Joni Mitchell “The Circle Game”

I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell, through both good and bad periods of my life. Especially at moments of heartbreak, questioning, and vulnerability, I would turn to her songs as moving solace. The iconic Canadian songstress has inspired generations of fans due to the continued relevance of her music and lyrics to the shifting times. This month, Firehall Arts Centre is launching a new Joni Mitchell musical that is sure to thrill those, like me, who have long loved the singer, as well as those new to her material.

From April 29 to May 20, 2017, you’ll be able to experience Circle Game; Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell at the Firehall Arts Centre. The work is the creation of dynamic duo Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman and will feature a talented roster of six performers (Rowen Kahn, Scott Perrie, Adriana Ravalli, Kimmy Choi, Sara Vickruck, and David Z. Cohen) playing eighteen instruments altogether.

Sourced from Firehall Facebook

The musical work will include many of Mitchell’s best loved songs, such as “A Case of You” (my favourite), “River,” “California,” and “Big Yellow Taxi.”

“They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot” (Joni Mitchell “Big Yellow Taxi”)

These songs had incredible resonance in the 1960s and 1970s and find renewed meaning in this Millennial treatment of the artist, her songs, and the social engagement and reflection located within them. Overall, 29 songs will be included and woven together into a roughly linear “storyline” that takes place in a recording studio. The shape of the final musical is very much a product of collaboration between the directors and their six singing and performing stars.

Expect a musical experience that very much defies your expectations. The show will blur the lines of theatre, concert, and creative performance, with many of the songs remixed and re-envisioned to touch upon issues and concerns of the 21st century, both political and environmental. Of course, universal and eternal themes of love, romance, and individual identity exploration will also be connecting threads.

I’m extremely excited about this show and will definitely be attending. Tickets are available on-line or by calling 604-689-0926. If you’re looking for a deal, attend the previews April 29 at 8pm, April 30 at 30, May 2 at 7pm, or May 3 at 1pm. There are also Pay What You Can performances May 3, 10, and 17 at 1pm.

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