Stage West Turns Back The Clock With Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll

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Gaelan Beatty (centre) plays Neil Diamond in Stage West’s Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Left to right, background: Tiera Watts and Chelsey Duplak. The Band: Konrad Pluta (Musical Director/Keyboards), Jeff Fafard (Drums/Percussion), Brad Steckel (Guitar), and Rob Vause (Bass). Photo Credit: John Watson.

Playing now at Stage West until September 4th, Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll is a fun reunion of the biggest names in rock ‘n’ roll history. Created by director/choreographer Liz Gilroy and musical director Konrad Pluta, the show brings rock legends Buddy Holly (Al Braatz), Neil Diamond (Gaelan Beatty), Tom Jones (Luke Marty), and Elvis Presley (Matthew Lawrence) together under one roof for a dazzling reminder of why these artists and their music have endured for decades.

Before each rock legend enters onstage, the show presents a brief highlight reel of their personal life and professional career. It is a nice touch and chance to learn something new about these household names.

The funny thing about rock legend Buddy Holly is that he was a little bit of a geek, although his thick-rimmed glasses remain popular today with young men. Braatz delivers Buddy’s sweet, sorta dorky southern charm very well in songs like “That’ll Be The Day” and “Peggy Sue.” And yes, there’s a whole lot of Buddy’s signature hopping from Braatz who came ready with his proverbial dancing shoes.

Neil Diamond takes the stage next with “America,” an anthem for immigrants landing in the land of opportunity. Beatty’s big voice really delivers the rousing feeling that the song’s lyrics aim for. The performer truly makes the stage his own with his cool persona and winning smile. The audience jumps at their opportunity to join Beatty in singing “Sweet Caroline.”

Sharing the stage with the rock legends are backup singers and dancers Chelsey Duplak and Tiera Watts. Beatty performs “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore” with Duplak in what is an absolutely stunning duet. The song, which Neil famously sung with Barbra Streisand, soars thanks to Duplak’s gorgeous, powerful voice that brings a lot of weight to this tale of estranged lovers.

Opening the second act is Luke Marty as Tom Jones. Marty plays Tom with real gusto and vibrance, ideal for numbers like “What’s New Pussycat” and “Love Me Tonight.” The performer’s big stage presence and dance moves really light up the stage, along with his very funny banter with the audience. Marty’s delightful performance of “It’s Not Unusual” has the audience ready to bust-a-move in their seats.

Elvis is the final legend of the night, and the only artist to have a costume change during his act. Dressed in a leather jacket, Lawrence brings out Elvis’ bad boy charm for songs like “Hound Dog / All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock.” In between these two animated songs, he shows the King’s softer side with “Love Me Tender.”

Duplak and Watts perform “Amazing Grace” as a duet while Lawrence changes costume backstage, and no doubt catches his breath after an energetic first half. It is a beautiful duet that makes us want more from Duplak and Watts, both of whom are simply fantastic in their roles.

The second half starts strong as Lawrence not only comes out dressed in Elvis’ signature white jumpsuit, but also performs “Viva Las Vegas” with the kind of high roller enthusiasm such a fun number deserves.

Introduced back to the stage one at a time by Duplak and Watts, who start the final number off, all four legends come out for an ensemble performance of “Johnny B. Goode” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” to finish the night. It is an electric conclusion to this journey through rock ‘n’ roll history.

There’s something special that happens when an old, familiar tune comes on the radio. Memories of people and places, sights and sounds burst with life again as the drive home from work suddenly becomes a trip down memory lane. Stage West’s latest production captures this nostalgia with its stellar musical direction and talented performers.

Costume Designer Rebecca Toon has an eye for costumes that truly pop and reflect the character of each rock artist. Set Designer Sean D. Ellis has created a set that frames the action very well, giving the performers a chance to truly stride across and take the stage as needed.

Gilroy’s lively direction injects a lot of energy and humour into this showcase of rock ‘n’ roll legends, making for an enjoyable night out at the theatre.


Stage West’s Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll runs July 1 to September 4.

For more information about the show, including how to purchase tickets, visit: http://stagewestcalgary.com/legends-of-rock-n-roll/

Only a handful of songs from the performance were mentioned here. The full song list is available on Stage West’s website via the playbill for Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

 

Theatre Junction’s 2016/17 Season Marks Two Major Anniversaries

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Volker Gerling (pictured) shares his flip book portraits with the audience in Portraits in Motion, one of seven shows announced for Theatre Junction’s 2016/17 season. Photo Credit: Franz Ritschel.

This May, Theatre Junction announced its 2016/17 season. The company’s upcoming season marks two major anniversaries: Theatre Junction’s 25th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of Theatre Junction at the Grand Theatre.

Theatre Junction has undergone several changes in the years since Artistic Director Mark Lawes founded the company in 1991. After a successful campaign to save the historic building from demolition, Theatre Junction relocated to the Grand in 2006 from the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, where the company was based for 14 years. While the company could have continued with “a program that was really more along the lines of interpreting text,” Lawes felt that it was important for Theatre Junction to change its mandate when they took over the Grand.

“There was a lot of risk involved in that change,” said Lawes. “I saw the regional theatre model as coming of age and potentially declining. The audience was getting older. It wasn’t engaging for young people to go and see work. And that was really important for me to engage millennials in arts and culture.” 

Today, Theatre Junction presents local, national, and international creation-based artists from multiple disciplines. Theatre Junction GRAND has transformed into a “different kind of cultural space” that continues the Grand’s legacy of culturalizing Calgary, while also being contemporary.

“It’s a real junction,” said Lawes about the space, which is also home to the restaurant Workshop Kitchen + Culture. “A meeting place where people come together and not only see amazing works of art, but can meet new people and talk about arts and ideas.”

One of seven shows to be presented in Theatre Junction’s upcoming season is Volker Gerling’s Portraits in Motion. Gerling’s Portraits in Motion will be presented by Theatre Junction and One Yellow Rabbit as part of the 31st Annual High Performance Rodeo. After walking 3500 km throughout Germany, Gerling created flip book portraits of the people he met on his journey. Audiences will get to see these portraits and hear the stories behind them when Gerling comes to Theatre Junction in January 2017.

“He just decided to walk and meet people,” said Lawes. “For me, it’s a beautiful, simple act of humanity. It’s going back to something very basic about meeting someone. That’s something that we all crave and need.”

Lawes says that Gerling will walk around Calgary, meeting people when he arrives in the new year. This material will not be included in the production at Theatre Junction, he adds, since “the show is set” already.

In March, Theatre Junction will present Porte Parole and Crow’s Theatre’s The Watershed. Written by Montreal playwright Annabel Soutar, who travelled cross-country across Canada with her family, The Watershed is an investigation into the future of our natural resources that raises questions concerning the politics of water.

“[Soutar] has been making documentary theatre on subjects that are important to her and her family,” said Lawes about the theatre artist. “We presented Seeds two years ago, that was [about] the Monsanto versus Schmeiser trial…It really questioned who owns a seed, who owns life.”

Lawes says that Soutar was particularly concerned about the state of water in Canada under the Harper government. “She was really concerned with policy surrounding research: what was being researched, what wasn’t being published from scientists. Funds that were being cut for research.”

When asked what goes into programming a season, especially one that includes international work, Lawes confesses that “there’s really no secrets, but it is a very long, complicated process.”

“I go out to festivals every year and see a lot of work,” Lawes said. “I have a bunch of different partners across the country and in the United States that we also talk to see what’s touring and share ideas of work. So, some works come very quickly, you know I see something I really like and it happens to be touring.

He adds that it is also about “keeping [a] dialogue open with artists who have presented before,” like Japanese dancer and choreographer Hiroaki Umeda whose new work was seen by Lawes in Montreal.

“He happened to be touring in Mexico just before he’ll be presenting here, so he was on the continent, more or less, and on the same side of the continent. So, it made some sense for him to come up here. That’s one example of how that works.”

Umeda will return to Theatre Junction in October 2016 with two new solo performances, Intensional Particle/split flow.


For more information about Theatre Junction’s 2016/17 season, including how to purchase tickets, visit their website: www.theatrejunction.com

Project 404’s PrimorAgator Diaries Looks At A Life in Transition

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Top to Bottom: Barbara England and Jill Henis in Project 404’s PrimorAgator Diaries. Imaged provided by Jill Henis.

Project 404’s PrimorAgator Diaries is an original contemporary dance work informed by the writings of Jeanette LeBlanc, with the concept, choreography and sound design by Jill Henis. This site-specific piece is staged inside Henis’ downtown studio space, located inside a building where the top two floors accommodate working artists. Performed by Henis and collaborator Barbara England, PrimorAgator Diaries is a deeply intimate look at a life in transition.

Once the audience settles into their seats, Henis, lying nude on the floor, awakens. She is caged by three walls and a curtain of light fabric (that separates her from the audience). England, dressed with black heels, enters the space as Henis retreats away against the back wall, keeping herself hidden behind fabric. Roaring white noise is projected onto the walls (projection & visuals by Greg Debicki). England is ferocious with her movement, stomping loudly with her heels as she moves across the space.

Afterwards, Hennis, now dressed, takes a large roll of aluminum foil and rolls it out like a carpet. Carefully, she tries walking to the other end without wrinkling the foil or creating a disturbance of any kind. Anyone who has used foil before knows how tricky the material can be when handling. Henis’ effort doesn’t fare well.

The imagery created by the large studio mirror stage left is very striking. There’s this great triangular symmetry when Henis walks downstage (diagonal) on the foil. She comes down from the peak to the base, to the audience; she comes out of isolation.

England joins Henis in a ‘four-legged race’ to stage left, to the mirror. The dancers shuffle forward, becoming more and more competitive as the race goes on. So competitive, in fact, that England and Henis are soon grappling each other. What’s really funny are these moments where the two break and smile at the audience, like they were friends and this is only friendly competition, despite their contrary actions. We wonder, though, why these “friends” are tearing each other down rather than helping each other achieve their mutual goal? Is this a race towards self-improvement, where envy rules the roost?

The dancers enter a club where they enjoy loud, pumping music. There’s a big splash of colorful lights that hits the room as England and Henis lose themselves in the music. The scene is so very different than the ones before. Where the others were filled with anxiety and self-consciousness, this club scene is loose and without inhibitions.

Naturally, however, the party ends. (The party always ends). There’s an air of “what now?” between England and Henis.

Ultimately what happens to Henis is that England wraps her, from head to toe, in bubble wrap. A recorded interview with an old man plays, with this line jumping out “Have you thought how you want to spend the rest of your life?” Sure, Henis is safe in her bubble wrap cocoon, but she’s also trapped. She can’t move, her body at the mercy of England who starts to dance with the cocoon.

Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) begins to play. England drags Henis, still in the cocoon, across the floor as Henis softly repeats the lines of the song.

In these chapters of PrimorAgator Diaries, there’s an underlying fear and vulnerability that rises to the surface. Henis’ choreography observes someone trying to come out of their shell and connect with others while capturing some notion of self. In pursuit of trying to please other people, however, the self becomes lost, perhaps overtaken by this intense desire for belonging. And there seems to be no happy medium, or at least a capacity to reach some sort of in-between. Henis’ character is impeded by self-doubt, whereas England’s whole persona breathes confidence; the road map to this latter destination is non-existent.

Debicki’s projection work in this tight (unventilated) space really throws the audience into the frenetic headspace of the work, not to mention the audience’s close proximity to the dancers. The mirror that reflects the inner duality, conflict of Henis’ choreography is a strong visual element. It opens the space creatively, and Henis’ keen eye conjures great visual dynamics.

Henis and England are a dynamite team. They display great versatility (and some fun character work) in this piece that really feels like flipping through a diary, with all the juicy pieces coming alive. And what commitment in such a hot space, especially Henis whose breathing is restricted within the cocoon. Kudos to them for their visceral energy in this bold piece by Project 404.


Project 404’s PrimorAgator Diaries ran June 13 – 18.

Theatre of Consequence Makes Its Debut with Wagner’s The Monument

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Theatre of Consequence presents Colleen Wagner’s The Monument at the Motel Theatre, June 15 – 18. Pictured: Jonathan Molinski (Stetko) and Karen Johnson-Diamond (Mejra). Imaged provided by Theatre of Consequence.

Winner of the 1996 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, Colleen Wagner’s The Monument is a dramatic play about the nature of war, conflict, and justice. Although set in an unnamed country during an unspecified time, the distinctly Eastern European flavour of Wagner’s drama bears many similarities to the Bosnian Conflict (1992-95). What makes Wagner’s dramatic work so powerful, however, is its relevance today in Canada.

Presented by Theatre of Consequence at the Motel Theatre, The Monument tells the story of a soldier named Stetko (Jonathan Molinski), a young man set to be executed for his heinous crimes. Stetko is guilty of raping and murdering 23 women, all of whom he buried in a forest. While awaiting his execution, Stetko is offered reprieve by a local woman named Mejra (Karen Johnson-Diamond) who demands he obey her unconditionally for the rest of his life, otherwise he can die in prison. Stetko accepts Mejra’s offer, despite not knowing what her intentions are, and goes to live her.

Director Conrad Belau has added a third character, played by Caitlyn O’Connor, to Wagner’s two-person drama. The Girl is neither seen or directly addressed by the characters. She is an unseen, but unshakeable presence in the show. In one scene, O’Connor plays a large rock that Mejra wants dug up from the garden; in another, she is the pet rabbit that Steko comes to care for above himself. She comes and goes like a painful memory from the past.

For Wagner, war is not so black and white like a game of Chess. There are opposing sides, yes, but the pawns thrown into battle are everyday people. Stetko tells us that if he had disobeyed orders to join the army, he would have been labelled a sympathizer, and likely killed as a result. Stetko’s obedience to authority is what has kept him alive, but has also pushed him to commit unspeakable crimes, condemning him for life as a war criminal. And while he recognizes that he is a criminal, Steko also believes himself to be a victim of war. Before the war, he lived a normal life with his family and girlfriend, both of whom he loved, but then all that changed when he was drafted. 

Mejra has no sympathy for Stetko. In fact, she has no respect for him as a human being, going so far as to cutting off his ear and viciously beating him (fight choreography by John Knight). Knowing full well that the world will forget what happened in her country, Mejra seeks out justice for herself and her daughter, one of Stetko’s victims.

What is justice, though? There is justice as defined by the legal system, and then there’s justice as defined by the court of public opinion. The Jian Gohemshi trial showed us that these definitions of justice can arise simultaneously, but that they cannot co-exist without issue. Mejra sees justice for the murdered women as Stetko not only confessing to his crimes, but also helping her make sure that none of the murdered women are forgotten. She makes him dig up all the bodies that he buried in the forest and help build a monument in memory of the 23 murdered women.

Here, the monument is a patchwork of dresses that rises above the dirt where they were buried. The image immediately brings to mind The REDress Project, created by Jamie Black. The monument is Mejra’s answer to the indifference of global politics and systemic oppression that marginalizes violence against women. It is all that Mejra feels she can do as an average citizen.

For Mejra, this is only symbolic justice. She nearly murders Stetko before realizing that violence is not the answer. Stetko proposes forgiveness, that maybe he and Mejra can live together since neither one of them has anyone else. Wagner leaves the future uncertain.

Belau displays a strong understanding of Wagner’s play and its universality, regardless of its parallels to the Bosnian Conflict. It is clear that Belau knew exactly what he wanted this production to achieve and say about violence against women, and that sort of confidence is key to such an impactful and challenging text. The end result is, a thoughtful, well-staged production grounded in today’s headlines.

Molinski and O’Connor are two actors that really ought to be on everyone’s radar. The actors share this very disturbing scene where Molinski recalls in painstaking detail the final moments of his most memorable victim, played by O’Connor (with her hands tied by rope, suspended in the air). Molinski unleashes something very dark in the character as he tells Mejra, with sinister glee, everything about that night. O’Connor’s heartbreaking terror and helplessness makes us want to retreat away from this emotionally charged scene. It is a truly fearless and mature performance from both Molinski and O’Connor.

Johnson-Diamond ventures into vast emotional territory as a sorrow-stricken mother whose moral compass is confused after meeting Stetko. Her vengeance is motivated by immense hurt, and not so much a thirst for blood, which is important given the character’s arc. It is a steady performance punctuated by moments of sheer brutality that Johnson-Diamond plays very well.

Theatre of Consequence’s debut production is a must-see.


Theatre of Consequence’s production of Colleen Wagner’s The Monument runs June 15-18  at the Motel Theatre (Arts Commons).

For more information about Theatre of Consequence, including how to purchase tickets, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theatreofconsequence/?fref=ts

 

 

Mudfoot Theatre Peers Over The Horizon in River: A Puppet Myth

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Genevieve Pare in Mudfoot Theatre’s River: A Puppet Myth, June 7-11 at the Joyce Dolittle Theatre. Photo Credit: Chantal Wall.

One day, perhaps sooner than later, the taps will shut off. Water will become a scarce commodity, if it isn’t already. In the future, sources of water like the Bow River will be relegated to the realm of myth.

Enjoying its world premiere at the Joyce Dolittle Theatre, River: A Puppet Myth is the latest from Mudfoot Theatre. The play, written by Co-Artistic Directors Ian McFarlane and Geneviève Paré, stages three explorers on a journey to find the Bow River. Stories of the Bow River, passed down through the generations, help guide the explorers on their journey, with an ancient scroll (coloured with pictographs) acting as a map of sorts.

With no signs of the river anywhere, Dha (Ali DeRegt) has doubts that the river still exists. Une (McFarlane) has faith that the river still flows, thinking that maybe the group hasn’t grasped the full meaning of the stories. Meanwhile, Ba (Paré) finds herself communicating with a grizzly bear named Griz (Erinn Watson), who gifts her different objects, at night. Her relationship with Griz is a kind of reconciliation with nature.

What created this post-apocalyptic world was the Hunger, a destructive force that devastated the planet. In one story, the audiences learns that Bison were once plentiful until the Hunger caused them to be overhunted. Man’s relationship with the bison, who he relied on for many things like warmth, was healthy until greed took over. Presumably, the Hunger caused humanity to exhaust the planet’s resources without taking into account long-term consequences, leading to irreversible climate change, hence the search for the Bow River.

Appropriately, given the show’s environmentalist concerns, Mudfoot Theatre has constructed all its puppets from discarded materials. The large bison is made from a burlap sack, and the magpie has a bicycle seat for a head and large boot for a body. Other materials like a tin can (bent to create a ‘head’, dressed with hair and big eyes) are used for simpler puppets.

What’s really funky is this whole communication contraption that has McFarlane cranking a bike pedal by hand for power, Paré spinning a roof turbine adjusted to her helmet to receive incoming messages, and DeRegt tapping a makeshift morse code machine. It’s quite a sight when the group activates this wacky apparatus in the wasteland.

This act of staging ‘junk’ is a potent display of human carelessness and indifference to environmental issues. What a thing to have people confront (again) discarded objects, some of which may survive long after humans are gone. The productive use of discarded materials not only drives home not only how much people waste, but what can be achieved through recycling. One could interpret this act of staging ‘junk’ as a political statement under the guise of quirky, ‘harmless puppetry.

So, it’s too bad that the story fails to deliver the same impact.

Mudfoot Theatre’s ingenuity and effort in finding the local in a global issue are worthy of much praise, but the script is often incoherent. Somewhere here, there’s a message that our current habits are endangering the Earth, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many ‘junk’ on stage. The argument is that humanity needs to re-discover and re-establish its relationship with nature, or else face disaster. Unfortunately, the verbose, metaphor-laden language does little to support this argument as it produces more head scratching than nodding heads. Likewise, the in-world references are never fully explained, so the audience is alienated from knowledge useful to access this imagined future. Thankfully, the script doesn’t bang us on the head like other environmentalist fiction (see: Jetsons: The Movie), but some direction would be helpful to grasp its full intentions.

Ba cryptically processing memories from people and animals of the past who enjoyed (and experienced the destruction) of the Bow River would be interesting to see explored further. There is something both unsettling and intriguing about a future where the pain of the past still has roots in the ground.

Director Lindsey Zess-Funk really knows how to create some astounding visual moments. Something so simple as Griz walking through the explorers’ camp (set design by Lane Shordee) is given emotional weight through good pacing and movement with purpose. Zess-Funk displays a good understanding that these puppets are not just puppets, but creatures connected to a larger story and who play an important part in that bigger picture. The same can be said for these puppeteers, including Emily Schoen who maneuvers Bertha’s large eye in the mountainside. There is a physical language flowing in this show that captures the play’s essence.

Although highly creative and unique, Mudfoot Theatre’s River: A Puppet Myth is a lengthy, jumbled exploration of what lies on the horizon.


Mudfoot Theatre’s River: A Puppet Myth runs June 7 – 11 at the Joyce Dolittle Theatre (The Pumphouse Theatre).

For information about the show, including how to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.mudfoottheatre.com/projects.html

2016 Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards: A Celebration of Community

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The 2016 Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards were hosted by Dave Kelly at Commonwealth Bar & Stage on June 6th. Nominees were chosen from any production performed in Calgary from June 2015 to May 2016, with the exception of Broadway Across Canada performances.

The 2016 Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards was an evening full of anticipation and gratitude. The fifth annual event, hosted by Dave Kelly, was held at Commonwealth Bar & Stage where local theatre critics Stephen Hunt, Louis B. Hobson, Rodrigo Flores, and Jenna Shummoogum presented awards in 19 categories. Accepting the awards were both new and familiar faces from Calgary’s theatre community who took time to thank family, friends, and colleagues for their support.

Guests stayed afterwards to mingle and congratulate each other on another strong year of theatre in Calgary. 
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Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Louise Pitre – The Little Prince: The Musical – Theatre Calgary

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Tenaj Williams – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical – StoryBook Theatre and Forte
Musical Theatre Guild

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

Amy Burks – Romeo and Juliet – The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Karl Sine – The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook – Ground Zero Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions

Best Touring Show

Flora & Fawna’s Field Trip! – Lunchbox Theatre, Darrin Hagen and Trevor Schmidt

Best Set Design

Cameron Porteous – The Crucible – Theatre Calgary

Best Technical Design

Jamie Nesbitt – Calamity Town – Vertigo Theatre

Best Creative Concept

The Fight or Flight Response – Verb Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical

Susan Gilmour – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary

Best Actor in a Musical

Ahad Mir – Naughty but Nice! – Forte Musical Theatre Guild

Best Solo Performance

Jamie Konchak – The Floating Mouse – Green Fools Theatre

Best New Script

Calamity Town – Joseph Goodrich – Vertigo Theatre

Best Actor in a Play

Tyrell Crews – Benefit – Downstage

Best Actress in a Play

Heather Pattengale – Outside Mullingar – Rosebud Theatre

Best Director of a Musical

Michael Shamata – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary

Best Production of a Musical

The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary

Best Director of a Play

Craig Hall – Sherlock Holmes and The Case of the Jersey Lily – Vertigo Theatre

Best Ensemble

Book Club – Lunchbox Theatre

Best Production of a Play

The Crucible – Theatre Calgary

The Evans Award

StoryBook Theatre

  • The Evans Award recognizes outstanding contribution to the vibrancy of the theatre community in Calgary.

Nominees were chosen from any production performed in Calgary from June 2015 to May 2016, with the exception of Broadway Across Canada performances.

2016 Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards: Nominees Announced

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The 2016 Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards will be held on June 6th at Commonwealth Bar & Stage (731 10th Ave SW). The public awards ceremony starts at 8:00PM.

Calgary Theatre Critics, Stephen Hunt formerly of the Calgary Herald, Louis B. Hobson of Postmedia, Rodrigo Flores of Joyful Magpies and Jenna Shummoogum of Downtown Calgary Association are pleased to announce the nominees for the fifth annual Calgary Theatre Critics’ Awards.

Nominees were chosen from any production performed in Calgary between June 2015 and May 2016, with the exception of Broadway Across Canada performances. The winners will be announced at a free public awards ceremony. The ceremony starts at 8pm on June 6th at Commonwealth Bar & Stage, 731 10th Avenue SW.

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Jayne Lewis – Young Frankenstein – Stage West
Laura Gillespie – The Wizard of Oz – Rosebud Theatre
Louise Pitre – The Little Prince: The Musical – Theatre Calgary
Tracy Michailidis – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary
Dana Jean Phoenix – The Wedding Singer – Stage West

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Tenaj Williams – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical – StoryBook Theatre and Forte Musical Theatre Guild
Andrew McGillivray – The Wedding Singer – Stage West
Andrew Legg – The Wizard of Oz – Rosebud Theatre
David Keeley – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary
Michael Torontow – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

Amy Burks – Romeo and Juliet – The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions
Sasha Barry – Of Mice and Men – Spirit Fire Theatre
Julie Orton – Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) – The Shakespeare Company, Handsome Alice and Hit & Myth Productions
Conni Mah – Ching Chong Chinaman – Iglesia Productions
Brianna Johnston – The Money Shot – Ground Zero Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Ryan Luhning – Romeo and Juliet – The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions
David LeReaney – Of Mice and Men – Spirit Fire Theatre
Karl Sine – The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook – Ground Zero Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions
Stafford Perry – In On it – Lunchbox Theatre
Joe Perry – The Circle – Alberta Theatre Projects

Best Touring Show

Life, Death and The Blues – One Yellow Rabbit & Alberta Theatre Projects
A Theatre Passe Muraille Production, in association with Hope And Hell Theatre Co.
evalyn parry’s SPIN – One Yellow Rabbit & Theatre Calgary
Flora & Fawna’s Field Trip! – Lunchbox Theatre, Darrin Hagen and Trevor Schmidt
Jack Charles V. The Crown – ILBIJERRI Theatre, Toured by Performing Lines and the High Performance Rodeo
Who Killed Spalding Gray? – One Yellow Rabbit and reWork Productions

Best Set Design

Scott Reid – The Turn of the Screw – Vertigo Theatre
Jennifer Behie-Ratzlaff – Shadowlands – Fire Exit Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions
Cameron Porteous – The Crucible – Theatre Calgary
Jennifer Arsenault – Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) – The Shakespeare Company, Handsome Alice Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions
Julia Wasilewski – Matt & Ben – Theatre Transit

Best Technical Design

Jamie Nesbitt – Calamity Town – Vertigo Theatre
Sean Nieuwenhuis – The Little Prince: The Musical – Theatre Calgary
Benjamin Toner, Lisa Floyd and Aidan Lytton – The Only Good Boy – Theatre BSMT
JP Thibodeau – The Boy’s Own Jedi Handbook – Ground Zero Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions
Matthew Waddell – Window – Ghost River Theatre & the University of Calgary’s School of Creative and Performing Arts

Best Creative Concept

What Happened to the Seeker – Theatre Junction
Berlin Waltz – Devon More – The Calgary Fringe Festival
The Fight or Flight Response – Verb Theatre
Concord Floral – Theatre Junction
Taste – Ghost River Theatre, Vertical City Performance and the River Cafe

Best Actress in a Musical

Anwyn Musico – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary
Susan Gilmour – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary
Jamie Matchullis – What Gives? – Lunchbox Theatre
Cassia Schramm – The Wizard of Oz – Rosebud Theatre
Elicia MacKenzie – The Wedding Singer – Stage West

Best Actor in a Musical

Louie Rossetti – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary
Aidan Desalaiz – The Wedding Singer – Stage West
Adam Brazier – The Little Prince: The Musical – Theatre Calgary
Ahad Mir – Naughty but Nice! – Forte Musical Theatre Guild
Scott Olynek – Naughty But Nice – Forte Musical Theatre Guild

Best Solo Performance

Elinor Holt – Shakespeare’s Will – Sage Theatre
Trevor Campbell – Baggage – The Calgary Fringe Festival
Jamie Konchak – The Floating Mouse – Green Fools Theatre
Cheri Maracle – Paddle Song – Lunchbox Theatre
Cliff Cardinal – Huff – High Performance Rodeo

Best New Script

Book Club – Meredith Taylor-Parry – Lunchbox Theatre
Calamity Town – Joseph Goodrich – Vertigo Theatre
Mercutio & Tybalt – Val Duncan and Celene Harder – The Calgary Fringe Festival
Benefit – Matthew MacKenzie – Downstage
The Circle – Geoffrey Simon Brown – Alberta Theatre Projects

Best Actor in a Play

Joel Cochrane – Shadowlands – Fire Exit Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions
Tyrell Crews – Benefit – Downstage
Chris Austman – Of Mice and Men – Spirit Fire Theatre
Nathan Pronyshyn – The Fight or Flight Response – Verb Theatre
Paul F. Muir – Outside Mullingar – Rosebud Theatre

Best Actress in a Play

Allison Lynch – Romeo and Juliet – The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions
Anna Cummer – Macbeth – Vertigo Theatre, The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth Productions
Chantelle Han – Medea – Chromatic Theatre
Heather Pattengale – Outside Mullingar – Rosebud Theatre
Lois Anderson – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – Alberta Theatre Projects

Best Director of a Musical

Michael Shamata – The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary
Valerie Ann Pearson – The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical – StoryBook Theatre and Forte Musical Theatre Guild
Morris Ertman – The Wizard of Oz – Rosebud Theatre
Dennis Garnhum – The Little Prince: The Musical – Theatre Calgary
Tim French – The Wedding Singer – Stage West

Best Production of a Musical

The Wedding Singer – Stage West
The Paper Bag Princess: A Musical – StoryBook Theatre and Forte Musical Theatre Guild
The Wizard of Oz – Rosebud Theatre
The Little Prince: The Musical – Theatre Calgary
The Light in the Piazza – Theatre Calgary

Best Director of a Play

R.H. Thomson – The Crucible – Theatre Calgary
Paul Welch – Of Mice and Men – Spirit Fire Theatre
Craig Hall – Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily – Vertigo Theatre
Morris Ertman – Outside Mullingar – Rosebud Theatre
Kelly Reay – The Fight or Flight Response – Verb Theatre

Best Ensemble

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) – The Shakespeare Company, Handsome Alice Theatre and Hit & Myth Productions
Calamity Town – Vertigo Theatre
King Kirby – Sage Theatre
Book Club – Lunchbox Theatre
The Mousetrap – Vertigo Theatre

Best Production of a Play

The Crucible – Theatre Calgary
Of Mice and Men – Spirit Fire Theatre
Outside Mullingar – Rosebud Theatre
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily – Vertigo Theatre
Romeo and Juliet – The Shakespeare Company, Hit & Myth Productions

In addition, the critics will be handing out the Evans Award, a special award recognizing outstanding contribution to the vibrancy of the theatre community in Calgary. The award recipient will be revealed on the night of the event. 


To attend the Calgary Critics’ Awards please RSVP to critterawards2016@gmail.com as soon as possible as there are a limited number of spots available. Doors open at 7pm, the awards will begin at 8pm and the celebration will continue until they kick us all out.