Monday, March 23, 2009

Mar 27-28: Joel Stephanson in OLEANNA

UPDATE: Scheduling glitches at the performance venue mean there are only two nights to see Joel in OLEANNA.  Book fast!


Those of you with long memories will recall Joel Stephanson's charming performance in TRAVELER IN THE DARK. Tim Dixon and Erla Faye Forsyth were his folks, and I was his grandfather. (Now that's creepy: IF you have long memories, you MAY recall a time when I was a grandfather. Now I feel old). Anyhow, with more PT involvement for Joel likely on the horizon, it's a pleasure to let you know about this upcoming show...

by David Mamet
Mar 27-28, 8pm
Little Mtn Studios | 196 E 26th, off Main

Directed by Victor Ayala.
Featuring Joel Stephanson and Bo Jovanovic.
Produced by Salem Theatre Company.
Tickets at the door - a mere $10! (come early)

A TIME TO DANCE is "remarkable art"

Award-winning Writer, William Hay, says this about A TIME TO DANCE, running at Pacific Theatre until April 4 (tickets: 604.731.5518):

Libby Skala's tribute to her great aunt Elizabeth 'Lisl" Polk played tonight at Pacific Theatre starring LibbySkalla.

Her dance was as varied as her vocalizations and the story rich and captivating from beginning to end. Touchingly telling the tale of this remarkable pioneer of 1930's modern dance and innovator of dance therapy, Libby followed Lisl life from Vienna across Europe escaping Nazis to poverty then fame in New York City. Libby was beautiful throughout bringing the heart, sadness and promise of an era to the little theatre with her remarkable art.

I was thankful I'd brought friends and rewarded by their praise as heartfelt as my own. What an uplifting and joyful evening! Thank you again, Ron Reed, for bringing us another great production of this brilliant and talented young woman.

photo credit: Kevin Lionias

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Mar 28: Spring at the Chan Centre, TWU Choirs

Spring at the Chan Centre
Trinity Western University Choirs

Artistic director and organist Ay-Laung Wang will lead the choirs in a performance of Bacalov’s Missa Tango, featuring soloists Chad Louwerse (TWU Alumnus), Robyn Driedeger-Klassen, and accordion soloist Walter Martella. Additionally, presentations of spectacular chorals selections such as Bound for the Promised Land, Highland Cathedral, Polynesian Ka Hia Manu, and much more, will showcase both the amazing sound of the TWU choirs and the power of the organ.

If you missed seeing the sold out Christmas at the Chan Centre concert, now is your opportunity to take part in a musical highlight of the year.

For more information contact Shayna Leenstra at or 604-513-2173.

Date: Saturday, March 28th
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Chan Centre for the Performing Arts; 6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver
Tickets: $15.50; Available at Ticketmaster

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mar 24 - Apr 4: Jade Shaw in SHOCKER'S DELIGHT

Jade Shaw was the best Laura I've ever seen when A GLASS MENAGERIE was a guest production at Pacific Theatre. If you missed her in January, her new show is back...

Shockers Delight! extends run by popular demand!

Opening March 24th, Evolving Arts Collective presents a Squidamisu Theatre production of Shockers Delight!, a whimsically dark play by Canada’s own Stewart Lemoine. In this graceful yet uproariously funny Lemoine tale, fate doesn’t have your best interests at heart or neatly sort everything out in the aftermath of inevitable misfortune.

Directed by Matthew Kowalchuk and starring Paul Herbert, Jade Shaw and Richard Stroh, Shockers Delight! had a very successful run in January of this year at The Beaumont Stage and is back by popular demand.

Shockers Delight! is an adult fairy tale of love gone askew. It is the story of Marcus, Julia, and Rory. Their study of the eclectic disciplines of ballroom dancing, golf, and 19th century furniture design provides the backdrop for a classic tussle of emotional versus intellectual attraction. Marcus impulsively manipulates his lifelong pal Julia into asking Rory (a complete stranger) out on a date. It’s a capricious act that he’ll regret for the rest of his life — he secretly adores Julia but never bothered to tell her, and now he has to watch in silent horror as she and Rory fall more and more deeply in love. Fate refuses to allow Marcus to make up for his mistake: just when he’s about to claim Julia for himself, a tragic accident addles his brain to the point where he can’t even remember who Julia is anymore. A story that begins in a collegiate whirl of improvised boilermakers and late night Latin dance assignations transcends its whimsical beginnings to give rise to a resolution of unexpected beauty linking the present, future, and distant past.

Tickets 733-3783 ext. 305 or online

Opening Night: Tuesday March 24, 8pm
March 24th – April 4th, 2009 Tuesday through Saturday evenings, 8 pm
March 28th and April 4th – Saturday afternoon matinees, 2 pm

The Beaumont Stage
316 W. 5th Avenue (@Alberta)
604-733-3783 ex: 305

Squidamisu Theatre (pronounced: squid-a-mi-su) was established in 2008 by Jade Shaw and Richard Stroh. Simply put, these two Canadian actors wanted to create opportunities to work. Upon completion of their first undertaking’ Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain, Squidamisu was officially born.


TWU Theatre Department
The Good Woman of Setzuan by Bertolt Brecht
Directed By Aaron Caleb
Mar 25 - Apr 4 8pm + Sat matinees 2pm
Trinity Western, Freedom Hall

This city's gonna make a man out of her...

In the gritty but mystical town of Setzuan, only the conniving survive. But when three gods descend into the city in search of virtue, they find a lot less than they bargained for. If they want to save the world, they’ve got to find a person worth saving. This enchanting parable by one of the giants of modern theatre uses music, mask, and mayhem to follow the adventures of a questionable woman, using questionable means, to defend her un-questionable virtue. An enchanting theatre classic with music, merchants and morals.

Mar 18: Art Talks, "Making A Living In The Arts"

Langley Art Talks
“Creating a Plan for Making a Living in the Arts, Grassroots Startups, and Group Collaborations”
Wednesday Mar 18, 7pm
Langley Public Library, 20399 Douglas Crescent, Langley

Most artists are sole proprietors of their own business. This talk provides concrete advice on putting your plan of making a living in the arts into action. Discussion about collaborations and startups will follow, as a strong option to make artistic projects feasible without substantial external funding is through cooperation with other artists and working with established groups. This will be followed by a discussion time to share experiences and suggestions.

Sponsored by the Verge Arts Series (TWU) and the Langley Arts Council

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mar 13: RECESSION PARTY at Pacific Theatre!

Times are tough. Every time you turn on the radio or television it’s doom and gloom and scary recessions. So, since we’re all spiraling into a financial abyss, why not have a party? And since this is the most terrifying time of our lives, why not have it on the creepiest day of all: Friday the 13th?

Enter The Recession Party! An adults only (19+) show Produced by Stone’s Throw Productions in association with Pacific Theatre, the night will kick off with a variety show, featuring musicians, dancers, comedians, and much more to help you forget your woes.

After the show wraps up, kick up your heels, have a drink, and boogie your troubles away at the dance party. On top of it all, there will be chances throughout the night to improve your lot in life by winning raffle prizes.

Tickets $13 in advance, $15 at the door. Book ahead by calling 604 731-5518, or online

Christina Sicoli
Inka Hadzismajlovic
Cameron Burns
David Nisbett
Matt and Leanne
Mana Mansour
Brett Nikolic
DJ Corbeau

...and more to come!

Raffle donors include Videomatica, The Firehall Arts Centre, Pacific Theatre, and Saje!

Mar 11 - Apr 5: TENT MEETING in Atlanta

Tent Meeting
A Musical by Morris Ertman & Ron Reed

Directed by Tom Key
March 11 – April 5, 2009

Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta

From March 11 through April 5, 2009, Theatrical Outfit in downtown Atlanta presents the exuberant, old-time gospel musical Tent Meeting by Canadian playwrights Morris Ertman and Ron Reed. Tom Key directs a stellar Atlanta cast that includes Andrew Houchins (Pastor Ernest Douglas/Ben Reimer), Shayne Kohout (Dolly Hoveland), Daniel May (George Hoveland/Bob Lefsrud), Glenn Rainey (Sam Lundquist/Angus McPhee), and Geoff “Googie” Uterhardt (Rev. Elroy Phillips). Ann-Carol Pence is musical director.

The setting is the 1930s West Canadian prairie, an agrarian community hard hit by the Great Depression and a severe draught. Embattled and embittered farmer, George Hoveland, sits in his empty silo, smoking and nursing old wounds that threaten his estranged marriage to Dolly, a once vital woman who now seeks solace in her piano-playing and incessant church-going. The couple is stunned one day by the unexpected appearance on their doorstep of a traveling revival group of musicians whose truck has broken down. The itinerant leader, Pastor Ernest Douglas, is a friend of the Hovelands from days gone by, when the three of them, along with Sam Lundquist, the good-natured owner of the local pool hall/drinking emporium, sang together in a similar gospel troupe.

Pastor Douglas, whose call to the ministry tellingly coincided with George and Dolly’s decision to marry, recruits the Hovelands and Sam to assist in the pitching of the “canvas tabernacle” in a nearby field. As the day unfolds, so too, do inner conflicts, regrets and longings among the characters, and through their gradual immersion in the uplifting music and contagious spirit of communal vulnerability, they undergo deep interpersonal transitions that lead to profound transformations. In one of the play’s most tender moments, the person to make the strongest spiritual impact is the resident preacher, Rev. Phillips, an unassuming, under-confident young man whose genuine concern for the congregation overrides his haunting doubts about his own ministerial abilities.

The story is sweet, poignant and comical, similar in style to a Horton Foote play. In a special note in the script, the playwrights remark that Tent Meeting is “an affectionate nostalgic tribute” … one that focuses on … “the humanity of the people, and, above all, the spirit of the music itself.” Indeed, both Ertman and Reed drew on the traveling tent meetings of their youth and the time-tested, time-honored hymns and gospels, often sung a capella in barbershop quartet-style harmonies. The musical selections, which gloriously range from Up Above My Head to Balm in Gilead to O Happy Day to Walk in Jerusalem Just like John, are integrated into the action of the story. And though the play is set in Canada, the hymns and situations are familiar terrain in the Bible-Belt American South.

Morris Ertman explains, “The strength of Tent Meeting lies in the genuine tensions of small-town relationships-like strained marriages and broken my day, most small communities were split between the church and the pool hall” … (but) … “the truth in this play is not just meted out by ministers, it’s meted out by the owner of the pool hall, and it’s my belief that God works that way.”

And even though Tent Meeting is about forgiveness and the revival of faith, it easily accommodates the presence of non-belief and welcomes the meeting of the sacred and the secular on common ground. Ertman continues, “It doesn’t make you feel guilty if you are a non-believer...this play deals honestly with unbelief, and it allows people to be in a place of unbelief if that’s where they want to live.”

Tent Meeting also benefits from the subtle, cleverly economical use of props, sound effects and even actors in double roles, which makes for inspired staging.

Theatrical Outfit’s production is a professional theater U.S. premiere, about which Artistic Director Tom Key remarks, “We are so pleased to be introducing Tent Meeting to American audiences. The narrative of the play is so touchingly human, and to have Ann-Carol Pence providing musical direction to such a powerhouse cast-actors who have a phenomenal combination of acting and vocal skills--it’s just a director’s dream come true. I believe our audiences will find Tent Meeting revelatory.”

In Canada, Tent Meeting received four Dora Award nominations, including Best New Musical, a Jesse Award nomination for Best Musical, and a Sterling Award nomination for Best Musical. For quotes from Canadian reviews and more information about the production, please visit

Tickets are $30. Preview performances are Wed., March 11 - Fri., March 13 at 7:30 pm, and opening night is Sat., March 14 at 7:30 pm. Performance times are Weds. through Sats. at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:30 pm; Saturday matinees are March 21 & April 4 at 2:30 pm. Special performances include a Student matinee on Wed., April 1 at 11 am; $10 Seniors matinee on Wed., March 25 at 2:30 pm; Girls Night Out/ Dinner Theater at City Grill ($45) on Thurs., March 26 at 5:00 pm; American Signed Language Performance on Sun., March 22 at 2:30 pm; Talkback with cast following the performance on Fri., March 27. Recommended for age 12 and above, for adult themes and language.

Group discounts are available (call 678.528.1497) and $10 student tickets day of show, with student ID. Box office hours are noon to 6 pm Tues. through Fri. and prior to curtain; 678.528.1500; Educational programming support is provided by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Coca-Cola Company.

# # #

About Theatrical Outfit
Theatrical Outfit entertains, educates and enlivens our audiences by producing classic and contemporary theater with an emphasis on work indigenous to the culture of the American South. The themes of spirituality and racial understanding are particularly resonant in our culture, and we are committed to giving them dramatic voice in the heart of downtown. Founded in 1976, Theatrical Outfit is dedicated to Atlanta-based artists of national caliber.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feb 26 - Mar 29: Kevin Brady in THE COMPLEX

Kevin Brady was one of our early apprentices at Pacific Theatre, who happened to understudy Dirk in MASS APPEAL on the afternoon that Jo Ledingham happened to come see the show and gave him a stellar review. He returned home to Seattle, has done tons of work with Taproot Theatre and various improv groups, and we brought him back up to play Bob in HOSPITALITY SUITE and Robert in THE CLEARING. Kevin's now in the middle of the run of his own original show - with this terrific review! I'm seriously thinking of heading south to see it.

The Complex
Feb 26 - Mar 29 | Thu-Sat 8:30, Sun 7pm
Unexpected Productions, 1428 Post Alley, Seattle

Seattle Weekly review by Jenna Nand:
An autobiographical improv show: I was just as skeptical as you probably are. But Kevin Brady’s self-portrayal as a twitchy, yuppified college grad receiving a crash course in the “real world” (a la Capitol Hill) gets a gold star from me.

We join the artist as a young man setting off to make his mark in the theater scene and learning that he’s gotta eat, too. Brady accepts a gig as an apartment manager and finds himself playing Father Confessor-cum-nanny to a literary cast of misfits, strippers (one of Derek Kavan’s 50 roles), mute drug-dealers (Lisa Keeton), and gothic screamers (Kavan again, who flexed serious improv muscle with credible, lightning-fast character changes). As director, Randy Dixon coaxed deliriously funny barrages from the complex’s resident crazies, an alcoholic antique collector (Troy Mink) and an elderly car vandal (Susie Simpkins).

I take my hat off to the cast’s realistic abruptness of dialogue and gentle, though not maudlin, handling of society’s various unsavories. But I will admit it did give me the skin-crawls to realize that since this is all based on Brady’s true-life experiences, I could be sitting next to some of these characters on the bus every day.

Mar 15: POP SWITCH premiere screening

Jason Goode is a PT guy - acted in some Stones Throw shows, most recently TWIGS (he was the furniture mover) - who makes films. THE HITCHHIKER was penned by our Literary Manager, Kathy Parsons, and starred Gina Chiarelli. Well, his new one - scribed by and starring Lucia Frangione, also starring Michael Kopsa and Duncan Fraser - is ready to go! If you want to get the look, here's the dope...

(Don't worry about the RSVP date. Just let them know as soon as you can.)

March 15: POP SWITCH Premiere

Jason Goode is a swell pal of Pacific Theatre.

(Don't worry about the RSVP date. Just let them know as soon as you can.)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Mar 4: Horton Foote Has Died

My favourite film is TENDER MERCIES, and another followed soon after which made a very personal connection with me, TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL. Both are by Horton Foote, whose exquisitely understated studies of "just plain folks," mostly Texans, makes me think of him as the American Chekhov. Maybe it's time to do something of his at Pacific Theatre...

Horton Foote on the set of “The Traveling Lady” 
at the Mabee Theatre at Baylor University in February 2004.

New York Times
March 4, 2009
Horton Foote Has Died

Horton Foote, who chronicled America’s wistful odyssey through the 20th century in plays and films mostly set in a small town in Texas and left a literary legacy as one of the country’s foremost storytellers, died in Hartford, Conn., on Wednesday. He was 92, said his daughter, Hallie Foote.

In screenplays for such movies as “Tender Mercies,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Trip to Bountiful,” and in plays like “The Young Man From Atlanta” and his nine-play cycle “The Orphans’ Home,” Mr. Foote depicted the way ordinary people shoulder the ordinary burdens of life, finding drama in the resilience by which they carry on in the face of change, economic hardship, disappointment, loss and death. His work earned him a Pulitzer Prize and two Academy Awards.

Here is a portion of his obituary, written by Wilborn Hampton; the complete version will be posted at Wednesday evening.

In a body of work for which he won the Pulitzer Prize and two Oscars, Mr. Foote was known as a writer’s writer, an author who never abandoned his vision or altered his simple, homespun style even when Broadway and Hollywood temporarily turned their backs on him.

In screenplays for such movies as “Tender Mercies,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Trip to Bountiful,” and in plays like “The Young Man From Atlanta” and his nine-play cycle “Orphans’ Home,” Mr. Foote depicted the way ordinary people shoulder the ordinary burdens of life, finding drama in the resilience by which they carry on in the face of change, economic hardship, disappointment, loss and death. His work earned him a Pulitzer Prize and two Academy Awards.

Frank Rich, who as theater critic of The New York Times was one of Mr. Foote’s champions, called him “one of America’s living literary wonders.” Mr. Rich wrote that his plays contained “a subtlety that suggests a collaboration between Faulkner and Chekhov.”

Mr. Foote, in a 1986 interview in The New York Times Magazine, said: “I believe very deeply in the human spirit and I have a sense of awe about it because I don’t know how people carry on. What makes the difference in people? What is it? I’ve known people that the world has thrown everything at to discourage them, to kill them, to break their spirit. And yet something about them retains a dignity. They face life and don’t ask quarters.”

Mr. Foote spent most of his life writing about such people in a simple, homespun style. In more than 50 plays and films, most of which were set in the fictiional town of Harrison, Texas, he charted their struggle through the century by recording the daily, familial conflicts that filled their lives.

He often seemed to resemble a character from one of his own plays. Always courteous and courtly, he spoke with a slow Texas drawl. He enjoyed good food and wine but would usually opt for barbecue and iced tea or fried chicken with a Dr Pepper when he was home in Texas. He was a jovial man with a wry humor, and his white hair and robust frame gave him the appearance of a Southern senator or one’s favorite uncle, the one who always had a story.

Albert Horton Foote Jr., one of three sons of Albert Horton Foote and the former Hallie Brooks, was born March 14, 1916, in Wharton, Texas, a small town about 40 miles southwest of Houston that was once surrounded by cotton fields. His father was a local haberdasher and his mother, who was from an old Southern family, taught piano.

Although he boarded a train for Dallas at the age of 16 to pursue a career as an actor, Mr. Foote never really left home. From his first efforts as a playwright, he returned again and again to set his plays and films amid the pecan groves and Victorian houses with large front porches on the tree-lined streets of Wharton. His inspiration came from the people he knew and the stories he heard growing up there. “I’ve spent my life listening,” Mr. Foote once said.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

May 11-22 / Jul 27-31: Film courses at Regent

A reminder about a couple intriguing film courses coming up at Regent College. Check here for more details.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Soul Food: Mo & Other Shows

Last chance to see Lucia Frangione's HOLY MO! at Pacific Theatre - hilarious, surprisingly moving, an all-time audience favourite starring Julia Mackey, Katharine Venour and the inimitable Erla Faye Forsyth. Must close this Saturday, March 7.

Anthony Ingram (ELEPHANT MAN, HALO) is in CORIOLANUS through Mar 14, and Laureen Smith (YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, SHADOWLANDS) opens tonight in BEGGARS AT THE HOUSE OF PLENTY by the author of DOUBT, closing March 14. Jason Hildebrant, a very strong actor from Toronto, performs his one-man version of BLUE LIKE JAZZ this Friday at Tenth Church.

CHRISTMAS PRESENCE musicians have concerts coming. Leora Cashe is back in town with her Joni Mitchell tribute - you can catch it Mar 5 or 28. And Lance Odegard has two new cds out - hear the tunes live Mar 27 & 29.

Mar 3-14: Laureen Smith in BEGGARS IN THE HOUSE OF PLENTY

Remember Mrs Kirby in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU last season? She opens tonight in a play by the author of DOUBT...

by John Patrick Shanley

Evolving Arts Collective opens its 2009 season with another John Patrick Shanley classic, Beggars in the House of Plenty. Shanley grapples with demons from his past in this gritty, surreal comedy. Dealing with the trials and hardships of family love in a way that is both funny and profoundly painful, Beggars is a play that resonates with audiences from all walks of life. It opens March 3rd, 2009 at The Beaumont Stage.

Johnny is the youngest and most sensitive of three siblings stranded in a surreal Irish Catholic household lorded over by their father, a butcher working in the Bronx, and their mother, a chipper, hope-mongering wreck of a woman. Johnny takes solace in pyromania and writing about his family. As Johnny matures, he becomes increasingly perceptive, revealing with more and more sympathy the underlying causes of so much family misery. In between Johnny's musings are raucous scenes of catastrophic violence; barely held in check by each character's submerged but instinctual need for the love of one another.

”Painfully funny…a memory play that is like Eugene O’Neil as seen through the eyes of Tennessee Williams influenced by Eugene Ionesco." — The New York Post

"crackles with the energy of artists who are going places…" — New York Times

Tickets 604-733-3783 ext. 305 or online

Doors are at 7:15 pm and the show starts promptly at 8 pm.
March 2nd Special preview night Monday – 2 for 1 ticket price
March 3rd Opening Night - Tuesday
March 4th – 8th Wednesday - Sunday
March 10th – 14th Tuesday - Saturday

The Beaumont Stage
316 W. 5th Avenue (@Alberta)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Must Close Mar 7: Final week of HOLY MO! at Pacific Theatre

One of the all-time audience favourites has returned to Pacific Theatre. The extraordinary Erla Faye Forsyth is back - could it be HOLY MO without her? - joined this time by the heart-breakingly hilarious Julia Mackey (JAKE'S GIFT, MERCY WILD, PRIVATE EYES) and - in her first comic turn on the PT stage - the amazing Katharine Venour (SHADOWLANDS, AGNES OF GOD, ST JOAN, HUNGRY SEASON). Kevin McAllister's cosmic set underscores the poetry and mythic resonance of the piece, while creating lots of crazy places for the girls to be goofy. What a mid-February lift to the spirit!

They’re back! After ten years Folly, Buffoona and Guff bring back a Revised Version of a PT audience favourite. Experience The Book of Exodus in all its sweep and grandeur – with the Life of King David thrown in for fun. (Oh yeah, they sing too.)

“Wonderfully silly, clownish, wacky, warm, and fun.” The Vancouver Courier

Featuring Katharine Venour (How it Works, Shadowlands ), Erla Faye Forsyth (Driving Miss Daisy, The Farndale Christmas Carol, The Foreigner, etc), Julia Mackey (Jake’s Gift, Farndale...Christmas Carol). Directed by Morris Ertman, this star-studded cast is joined by a crew of magnificent talent. Kevin McAllister’s scenic design (Espresso, His Greatness) is mesmerizing, and Drew Facey provides a touch of ragamuffin hilarity as costume designer. Also on board are Matt Frankish (lighting, Mourning Dove) and Luke Ertman (musical direction, The Quarrel, The Woodsman). Stage Management by Lois Dawson.

COMING in 2009-2010- Leave of Absence - a new play by Lucia Frangione

(And check out the cool video of the cast talking about HOLY MO, over at the PT website.)

Mar 21: Chor Leoni, "Meetin' Here Tonight"

Meetin' Here Tonight: Music of Inspiration
Chor Leoni Men's Choir

Whether it is Blessed Assurance, Amazing Grace, or We Shall Rise, favourite hymns and beloved spirituals speak immediately to the heart and soul. Meetin’ Here Tonight brings these familiar songs and anthems of faith, hope, redemption, and belief into your listener’s circle. Repertoire from this concert will be recorded for Chor Leoni’s next CD project of the same name, but as you know, there’s nothing like experiencing it live!

Two performances on Saturday March 21, 2009!
3 pm & 7:30 pm
Both performances at
Shaughnessy Heights United Church
1550 W 33rd Ave, Vancouver, BC
Tickets from ticketmaster 604.280.3311