Vancouver Opera Performs West Side Story

You’ve probably seen the billboards around town: Vancouver Opera (VO) is doing something very different for their 2011/2012 season opener. Rather than open with a traditional opera, they’re bringing the full-scale, Broadway-show version of the popular musical West Side Story to Vancouver for eight performances, starting this Saturday, October 22.

West Side Story brings the thwarted romance of Romeo and Juliet to the streets of 1957 New York. In this version, the lovers separated by their opposing families are Tony, an Irish Catholic affiliated with the street gang Jets, and Maria, a Puerto Rican whose family is involved with the street gang Sharks. Tony and Maria’s secret love sets up a show-down between the rival Jets and Sharks that involves some of the most acclaimed choreography in Broadway history, choreography that the VO brings to life in its entirety.

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Vancouver Opera Performs West Side Story

Arts Club Season Opener: Next to Normal

Eric Morin, Jennie Neumann, Caitriona Murphy, Colin Sheen, Warren Kimmel in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Next to Normal. Photo by David Cooper.

Who ever thought a musical about a family coping – and not coping – with bi-polar disorder would be possible? 20 years ago, there would not have been a “mainstream” professional production on subject matter like this. It would have been considered a fringe or experimental piece. Thankfully the times have changed!  The Arts Club is opening its 2011/2012 season on a high note, mounting an ambitious production of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal.

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Arts Club Season Opener: Next to Normal

Theatre Under the Stars 2011 – Stanley Park’s Outdoor Musical Theatre

Seth Little as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh & Andrew Cownden as Moonface Martin in TUTS 2011 production of Anything Goes.

Last night, when my partner and I went to the opening night of Stanley Park’s Theatre Under the Stars’ (TUTS) Anything Goes, it was raining. It wasn’t raining terribly hard—more of drizzle, really—but it was wet enough that the TUTS crew gave out complimentary rain ponchos. So there we are, my partner and I, holding hands under our plastic-bag ponchos, listening to star Irene Karas (playing Reno Sweeney) belt out Cole Porter hits like “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and thinking that it doesn’t get any more Pacific Northwest than this: watching outdoor theatre in July in the rain and loving it.

The smiles on our faces lasted long after the show ended. It’s experiences like that that make TUTS a Vancouver summer tradition, rain or shine.

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Theatre Under the Stars 2011 – Stanley Park’s Outdoor Musical Theatre

Theatrefest on Commercial Drive Through January 10

Part of Theatrefest, January 2 - 10

If you’re looking for a good reason to get to the theatre this weekend, how about this: It’s your last chance to catch the diverse—and kid-friendly—Theatrefest happening on Commercial Drive.

Theatrefest is a week-long festival that brings improv, comedy, drama, musical theatre, and children’s plays to Vancouver from across North America.

Productions include the interactive musical for children, Lori, Lori What’s the Story?, the spoken-word Pathos, Punchlines & Painkillers, and the comedy-drama Miss Cochrane and Mr. Merke Present: Aaron and Lauren.

Theatrefest runs from January 2 – 10, 2010. Tickets range from $8 – $10.

Two Chances at Evil Dead: The Musical

preview_evil_dead_musical_09

Evil Dead: The Musical

This Halloween season, it seems like all of Vancouver has been buzzing about Evil Dead: The Musical.

A musical version of the horror movie classic, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, this gory stage production has been a cult hit in Toronto and New York, and it’s doing just as well in Vancouver. So well, in fact, that the engagement at downtown’s Vogue Theatre has been extended two weeks to November 14.

You can see the Vogue Theatre production of Evil Dead: The Musical (which has the infamous “Splatter Zone” seats that can leave you covered in “blood”) or catch the show at the Norman Rothstein Theatre in south Vancouver.

Evil Dead: The Musical is at the Vogue Theatre until November 14, 2009. Get ticket and cast information here.

Evil Dead: The Musical is at the Norman Rothstein Theatre until November 7, 2009. Get ticket and cast information here.