Award-winning local production of Russian classic returns for seasonal run

Alessandro Juliani in the 2017 production of Onegin. David Cooper photo.

After premiering in Vancouver in 2016, Onegin won a ten Jessie Richardson Theatre awards. This makes it the first production to win all but one of the awards in the large theatre category.

So it makes sense that the Arts Club would bring back the wildly successful production, and just in time for the holidays. The company’s remount of Onegin is on now at the Granville Island Stage, where it runs until Dec. 31. If you missed out the first time, now is the chance to see the funny, entertaining and heartbreaking musical.

Onegin is based on the poem by Pushkin and the opera by Tchaikovsky. Local theatre director Amiel Gladstone and singer/songwriter Veda Hille have adapted the story with original book, music, and lyrics. Cast members Alessandro Juliani and Meg Roe have returned to their roles as Evgeni Onegin and Tatyana Larin, respectively.

Onegin is an aristocrat whose visit to the Larin family estate create havoc among the residents. His charms challenge the romantic ideals of his poet friend Vladimir Lensky (Josh Epstein) after Onegin flirts with Lensky’s fiancée, Olga Larin (Lauren Jackson). Even the sensible Tatyana falls for the handsome rogue.

Meg Roe and Alessandro Juliani in Onegin. David Cooper photo.

As the media release states, “The hit musical moves, shakes, and wakes audiences with its sweeping score, leaving the powerful question swirling in their minds: Look around, look around, look around, do you see someone worth dying for?”

This new Vancouver run follows a sold-out run at the Belfry Theatre in Victoria.

At the 2016 Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, the show won for Outstanding Production, Actor and Actress (Juliani and Roe), Supporting Actor (Epstein), Lighting Design (John Webber), Set Design (Drew Facey), Costumes (Jaqueline Firkins), Composition (Veda Hille and Amiel Gladstone), and Direction (Amiel Gladstone).

On the musical’s remarkable success, Gladstone and Hille say, “What a joy to bring our Onegin to Granville Island! After Craigslist Cantata—a play about disconnection—we wanted to immerse ourselves in something about connection, a story that could challenge our sometimes corseted Canadian sensibilities. We’ve been working on Onegin, making it better and wilder and more full of spirit(s). Here’s to love!”

Onegin runs until Dec. 31 at the Granville Island Stage (1585 Johnston St.).  Tickets from $29 at artsclub,com or the Arts Club Box Office at 604-687-1644.

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