Friday, July 31, 2009

Diane Tucker, "His Sweet Favour"

At Soul Food, we know Diane Tucker as a poet. She's read her work at CHRISTMAS PRESENCE and other Pacific Theatre shows - there's a wee sample at Oblations. Now her first novel is about to be published. And hey - it's got an actress in it!

His Sweet Favour
Thistledown Press, September 2009

Meet Favour Wyatt and her friends, Leith, Maryruth, Brady and Rick, grade twelve students at Mooney Secondary in Vancouver. Bonded by the dream of having their own theatre company, the group’s friendship is challenged by two events: Leith believes he has been given a message, “Darkness and light must join and be one, or every good promise will be broken”; and, Favour and Leith begin a serious relationship. Favour now wrestles with how to love someone and retain her sense of self, and as the friends rehearse for their final high school performance, each adopts different attitudes toward Leith’s message and toward each other, with profound consequences for all. His Sweet Favour explores the real-life drama of first love, peer pressure, failure and self-determination, and is a passionate exploration of friendship’s double-edged sword: friends can hold you captive or set you free.

His Sweet Favour is so alive, you’ll swear that Favour, the budding actress narrator and heroine of this book, was an actual honey-haired girl who came of age and learned about love during her final year of high school in the 1980s. You won’t be able to stop thinking about her (or the rest of the cast of characters in this highly readable, virtuoso performance of a sad and “sweet” story), and you’ll see — you’ll wish the book would never end.
Russell Thornton, author of House Built of Rain

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jul 31: Lee Aaron

I had a blast last year hearing Lee Aaron in concert for the first time. In fact, it was even worth leaving my Pharisee jacket at the coat check and entering the Cascade Casino to do it! And that's saying something.

As well as working with husband John Cody to prepare a three volume video retrospective of her work, she'll be performing another rare Lower Mainland show (with John on drums) this Friday. Rock on!

with Doucette
Cascade Casino, Langley
Friday July 31 | doors 7pm, show 8pm

BC Christian News profile
Three-volume anthology hoped to quell fans
Singer-songwriter Lee Aaron will be performing a mix of her music at an intimate concert in Langley
edited from Roxanne Hooper's feature for the Langley Advance

Former metal queen Lee Aaron has spent almost every other evening over the past six months watching endless footage of herself. Once she and her archivist husband John Cody tuck their two young children into bed in their South Surrey home, they almost religiously hunker down to watch, select, and edit reams of video being turned into an Aaron anthology.

"Sometimes it was torture... watching me, me, and more me," said the petite reddish-haired, somewhat-tamed rocker. Now Aaron's career has spanned more than a quarter century, and the anthology she's working on - between juggling stage work, preschool classes, and dance recitals - compiles a lengthy collection of personal concert footage, rare interviews, in-studio clips, behind the scenes shenanigans, and even a few music videos that never made it into the mainstream, Aaron told the Langley Advance Tuesday, on her 47th birthday.

The final result will be three 90-minute volumes of her life in anthology she's calling Lee Aaron Archives: Rarities 1981-2008, which is due to be released by mid-August. The much more grounded, mother-of-two hopes this anthology will satisfy her fans' appetite for a few years - giving her what she describes as invaluable time with her children during their most formative years. "I'm enjoying them so much right now," Aaron said, admitting she thought about going back into the studio to cut another album but opted to hold off a few years - at least - because of the kids. Fans will have to be content with the anthology and her last CD, Beautiful Things (2004), which kept the jazz touch but drew on her rock and blues roots, mixing traditional and contemporary grooves in a way that resulted in some astonishing - and what she calls sophisticated - sound.

Over the course of her career thus far, Aaron has been nominated for eight Juno Awards, a Much Music Video Award, three Toronto Music Awards, and an Ampex Golden Reel Award. Today, this incredibly versatile artist said she once again loves walking out on stage to perform - bringing a mix of both her old rock hits and some of her more contemporary jazz to an eclectic and faithful fanbase.

Sure, she's gone from performing 250 shows a year down to an average of 20. But that's okay with her. "After having children, I decided to scale back the amount of work I'd do on the road," Aaron explained. "I love music, and I will always love music. But I love being a mother more... my priority is being a parent." In fact, she's content for now to stick primarily to the casino and festival's circuit, which will include a return engagement in Langley next Friday, July 31 at Cascade Casino's Summit Theatre.

Aaron is an accomplished songwriter, a great vocalist, and a real treat for the ears, said show promoter Rob Warwick of Rock.It Boy Entertainment. "Lee Aaron blew everybody's minds when she once again cracked her career stereotype and returned as a jazz vocalist with the album Slick Chick in 2000, and totally reinforced the new direction with her 2004 release Beautiful Things," Warwick said. "She has done it all, but she's not done yet."

He's delighted to add her to the bill, noting she continues to enjoy a strong and faithful following. Aaron performed a double-bill at Cascades last year, sharing the limelight with Prism. This time out, she's doing a 90-minute set that she describes as a comprehensive concert including everything over the past 25 years, including her rock hits, pop and jazz.
"It's a real fun show," she said. "I've never had a Lee Aaron fan go home disappointed." She's sharing the stage next Friday with Doucette, a band featuring the big man Jerry Doucette - dubbed one of Canada's great guitar men.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Soul Food: Summer Picnic Edition

If you'd like to get the occasional Soul Food update (just like this post) in your email box, just let me know:

Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer (JESUS MY BOY, CHRISTMAS PRESENCE) wind up their cross-country tour at Pacific Theatre tonight.

Busy weekend for PT folk and their extracurricular activities. There's a COMEDY OF ERRORS the next couple weekends - free of charge! - at the Queens Park Bandshell in New West, featuring a couple PT folks: our beloved production managerFrank Nickel> (who you've seen onstage in TWELVE ANGRY MEN and all sorts of comedy improv - SIDESHOW, BUST-A-GUT, PANIC SQUAD) and Kerri Norris (A BRIGHT PARTICULAR STAR, REFUGE OF LIES), along with the always entertaining Steven Elcheshen and Mark Vandenberg. Andrea Loewen (our ex-apprentice, new publicist, and furniture-moving Auntie from YOU STILL CAN'T) hosts an art party Saturday night, and Alison Chisholm (who runs our office and shows off her acting chops in various STP projects) sings with the VOC Soul Gospel Choir Sunday.

You don't know Kaylee Harwood from the PT stage (yet!), but she's well known around the place, a recent Trinity Western Theatre grad who's starring as Cosette in the Arts Club's impressive LES MISERABLES. Craig Erickson (GRACE, GOD'S MAN IN TEXAS, THE FURNITURE OF HEAVEN) plays Helena's "bright particular star" in my favourite of this summer's Bard offerings, the crisply directed, handsomely costumed, soulfully played ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL - Shakespeare's love story of baffling psychology that might just point to something Divine (check the video clip here).

Also: auditions for the new Brian Doerksen musical, reflections on art-making, applause for fed funders, qualms about their provincial counterparts, news of Libby Skala, GODSPELL, The Rosedale, Damien's buddy, and another Holy Crossing. And don't forget Soul Food Movies!

And coming soon, Itsazoo's updated CANTERBURY TALES makes its own pilgrimage around Queen E Park.

July 24: Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer Homecoming Concert

This recent post from Sheree Plett...


We are finally home from our trek across Canada. Feels a bit strange and foreign that we actually have a home, a bed and kitchen table. 30 tanks of gas later, we are determined to park the ol van for as long as possible and bike to our hearts content.
However, we do have one last show in Vancouver to complete this tour and would love for you to come.

This Friday, July 24th at Pacific Theatre (12th and Hemlock) Vancouver, BC
Doors at 7:30pm, show at 8:00pm
$10 @ the door (with a free download card with 3 of the unreleased songs from my upcoming album)
We will be sharing the night with Daniel Huscroft (from the Cowboys and Indians).
We met him on this tour while playing a show together in Calgary and were blown away. Great lyrics and amazing voice. Hope to see you there!

Federal Arts Funding Pledged for Five Years!

The last thing I want to do is let Soul Food be all about politics, but it seems only right to follow up my worried post about rumoured slashes to BC arts funding with good news on the federal front.

Last month, Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore announced that the government would renew its annual commitment of $25 million in funding for the Canada Council for the Arts for the next five years, as well as its current commitments to the Canada Cultural Investment Fund, Canada Cultural Spaces Fund and Canada Arts Presentation Fund (also for five years).

The duration of this funding commitment to the arts is unprecedented by the current federal government, and is a great reassurance to those of us working in arts and culture, particularly in such uncertain economic times.

Sometimes I think about what our country would be like without the arts, how impoverished we would be without plays and music and film and literature to lift our spirits, particularly in tough times. I think of the musician who played in the streets of Sarajevo in defiance of snipers, and the cellist who refused to cancel performances during the bombing of London. I think of the lift to my spirit experiencing LES MISERABLES at the Arts Club last night... the reminder of unconditional, undeserved, undying love (Love?) in Bard's crisply directed, soulfully performed ALL'S WELL under the tent in Vanier Park... I savour my anticipation of A COMEDY OF ERRORS in Queen's Park (New West) this weekend, and THE ROAD TO CANTERBURY in Queen Liz Park a couple weeks from now... I recall my delight in Reece Terris's "Ought Apartment" at the VAG a few weeks back, even the lift I experienced at UP... And I think how threadbare my life would be without these infusions of life and imagination. God gave these gifts so we could refresh one another, stimulate and challenge and wake each other up from time to time, elevate our gaze beyond our personal concerns and preoccupations and see the wider world. Never more needed than when things are difficult, and those difficulties become all the more likely to overwhelm us.

I haven't chosen my examples to build a case. Some of those art events are happening with the help of government funding, some are happening in spite of its lack. People will always make art: it's how we're built. But some of the best art, some of the greatest visions, simply can't be realized without patronage. Same as it ever was.

So I celebrate the federal government's affirmation that it does have a role to play in this utterly essential aspect of the community's life. Such work stimulates our economy, to be sure: more importantly, it stimulates our spirit.

Jul 18 - Aug 2: COMEDY OF ERRORS, Shadows & Dreams

I had a blast at A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, S&D's inaugural production in the park two summers ago, with Frank Nickel, Kerri Norris, Stephen Elcheshen, Mark Vandenberg and others.

Shadows and Dreams Theatre Company
July 18 - Aug 2
Queen's Park Bandshell, New Westminster, 1st Ave & Queen's Park

Join Shadows and Dreams for Shakespeare's earliest and most farcical comedy, set to the sounds of the Big Band era, and filled to the brim with mystery, music and mayhem.

When Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse set out to find their long lost twin brothers, they expected a family reunion, not a family disaster. But when they find their brothers without realizing it, and are mistaken for them by a whole town, a disaster is exactly what they have. Before long they've misplaced a thousand marks, they've accidentally stolen a gold chain, and have suddenly acquired wives (and children!) that they have never met before today. And soon both pairs of brothers are on the run, from the law, the mobsters, their wives, a sultry jazz singer, and a sinister mountebank, all the while racing against time to save a father that none of them even know is in danger.

Saturday July 18th, August 1st - 3pm
Sunday July 19th - 2pm
Saturday July 25th - 4pm
Sunday July 26th - 2pm
Sunday August 2nd - 2pm

Admisson is Free
Info: 604 515-0704 |

Libby Skala in NY Fringe

Pacific Theatre's pal Libby Skala had a lovely run of A TIME TO DANCE at our theatre this spring, and now the show will be part of the New York Fringe festival. Congrats, Libby!

For details, check Libby's website.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Will the BC Liberals really cut arts funding by 40%?

Can anyone tell me what's actually happening, or going to happen, to arts funding under the liberal government? This spring there was news that they would be cutting funding to the BC Arts Council by an astonishing 40%. Immediately following that news was communication from the government saying "not so" - BCAC would continue to be funded as before. But then others responded to that by saying, yes, in 2009 grants would remain in place, but it would be in 2010 they would be slashing arts funding.

This Georgia Straight letter from NDP MLA Spencer Herbert (not to be confused with Spencer, Herbert) makes it sound as if the bad news was the real news. Can anyone clarify for me what's really happening when? And, perhaps, why?

B.C. Liberals alone in Canada with arts cuts

It was with interest that I read Pieta Woolley's recent article [“Film fests dogged by economic slowdown”, July 9-16]. The recession has hurt many arts and culture companies that I have spoken with. Lower donation numbers, smaller returns on endowment funds, and lower ticket sales due to people having less discretionary money to spend have really put the squeeze on nonprofit organizations, performances, and festivals.

Add to this the B.C. Liberals' planned cuts of 50 percent to investment in arts and culture industries and you have a perfect storm that could wipe out many of our smaller arts companies provincewide, along with many jobs. B.C. is the only province in Canada that's cutting investment in arts and culture during this downturn.

In fact, many provinces are increasing support, as the economic arguments are so strong. The B.C. government's own studies show that for every dollar invested in B.C. arts, the government sees $1.36 in return. A recent national Business for the Arts study pegs the return much higher, at 200 percent. A creative knowledge-based economy is the way forward for B.C.

We should be investing in B.C. creatively, not cutting it.

> Spencer Herbert, MLA / Vancouver

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"The one issue that really counts..."

Over at Filmwell, Jeffrey Overstreet posted a passage from Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland, which he calls "a great book of wisdom for artists of any kind.

The lesson here is simply that courting approval, even that of peers, puts a dangerous amount of power in the hands of the audience. Worse yet, the audience is seldom in a position to grant (or withhold) approval on the one issue that really counts — namely, whether or not you’re making progress in your work. They’re in a good position to comment on how they’re moved (or challenged or entertained) by the finished product, but have little knowledge or interest in your process. Audience comes later. The only pure communication is between you and your work.

Very good quote. Central to the way I think about my work as an actor, playwright, director.

Awards, reviews, standing ovations, even praise from peers, are all fickle adjudicators. Artists need to cultivate a radical aversion to extrinsic rewards, and learn to derive all their motivation from the pleasure, challenge, fulfillment, engagement of the task itself, and the life it kindles in them.

My one quibble would be the writers' emphasis on "making progress" in one's work. I don't even buy that. Comparisons - not only of my work with the work of others, but of my present work with my past work - are odious, and one always runs the risk of getting outside the work and assessing / criticizing instead of staying inside it and simply doing it.

The only thing to focus on is the work itself, and doing it to the limit of one's ability. And thanking God for the opportunity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To Aug 7: Auditions for Brian Doerksen musical

Lots of PT artists have been involved with script development workshops on this project over the years. Nice to see it come to fruition.

From now until Aug 7, 2009, auditions are being accepted via YOUTUBE for the PRODIGAL GOD musical at We are looking for theatre professionals and quality student and community theatre performers who would have a heart for a project like this. (Please pass this on if that describes someone you know!)

PRODIGAL GOD, written over the last 7 years by Brian Doerksen and Christopher Greco, is the story of the prodigal son told through the eyes of the elder brother. It will be performed for the first time as a concert-musical during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and then tour across Canada in April and May 2010.

Go to for more info and follow the link to download instructions, instrumental versions of songs and charts.

Full professional recordings of the first 5 songs are available for FREE at featuring Brian Doerksen as the Elder Brother, Colin Janz as the Prodigal Son and Marika as the Young Woman in the distant country.

In person auditions will be held on Sep 30 and Oct 1 in the Vancouver B.C. Area, and people who send in a video audition may be invited to participate.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 25th: The Confessional

Andrea Loewen writes...

My side-project theatre and arts company, Xua Xua Productions, is hosting a live-art party, THE CONFESSIONAL.

Enter the confessional booth. Write down your confession and place it anonymously in a box. Then watch as artists take your confessions and make them into art, right there at the party. The art pieces will be auctioned off at Xua Xua's production of BASH: LATTER-DAY PLAYS by Neil Labute in August (more on that to come!)

No cover, local DJs, cheap drinks, and live, interactive art, all in one great bash!

When: Saturday, July 25th from 8pm on
Where: The Sinking Ship (Pender and Richards)
Admission: FREE! Come and go as you like.

Hope to see you there!

Note: We are still recruiting artists to participate, so if you practice any kind of visual art and would like to be involved, email for more information. Artists will receive 50% of the auction revenue from their pieces.

Jul 19 & 26: VOC Soul Gospel Choir

PT's Alison Chisholm sings with the VOC Soul Gospel Choir. Here's the latest, including word of a Folk Festival appearance!

Hey Gang.

After having an amazing outdoor concert at Deep Cove this past Saturday, I thought I should give you all another heads up about some upcoming VOC Soul Gospel Choir performances. This weekend we will actually be performing in the Vancouver Folk Festival on the morning of Sunday July 19th at 10am. I'm really excited about this show as we will be performing at the same venue as a number of other high quality acts. While I'm sure you would have a great time at this performance, I also know that a day pass to the festival is $80, so this concert might not be the most economical choice unless you were already planning on coming to the festival that day.

However, on Sunday July 26th from 1pm-3pm, we will be performing at the Caribbean Festival at Lonsdale Quay. It's a free outdoor concert, so if you are able to make it out to watch us perform and check out the rest of the festival, I strongly encourage you to do so.

Otherwise, our next feature concert will be on October 17th, at St. Andrews Wesley Church.
Details are on the website,

I hope that you will be able to make it out to one of these shows. Just be sure to bring along your dancing shoes - because you will probably need them.



Jul 14/15: Luke Ertman's "Fool's Tongue" in Vancouver

Luke Ertman - as well as being the son of Morris Ertman - is a musician and sound designer. He did scores for THE HUNGRY SEASON, THE QUARREL and THE WOODSMAN, and was musical director for our most recent HOLY MO. He also plays stick - if you're a Bruce Cockburn fan, you know what that is, sort of an electric bass with treble strings that you can play with hammer-ons? - in the band Fool's Tongue, who'll be in Vancouver this summer...


When: July 14
Where: The Backstage Lounge
1585 Johnston Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada
With: Kaya Fraser and The Savannah Leigh Band

When: July 15
Where: The Bourbon
50 Cordova Street West
Vancouver, BC V6B 1C9, Canada

"Fools Tongue is an up and coming group from Edmonton Alberta. They deliver a sound that is reminiscent of Folk, Rock, Latin, and Reggae and do it in an entertaining and fun way. Their unique combination of Percussion, Chapman Stick, Guitar, vocals, and Drums is fascinating. This tour is in support of their first album "A Rough Cut EP," which has received international air time and landed the group an online distribution deal. Come out and see what all the hype is about!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Father John Horgan, Hangin' With The Saints

When Pacific Theatre first staged Aldyth Morris's DAMIEN back in the spring of 1989, Father John Horgan advised us on all things Catholic - pronunciation of Latin words, gestures that were part of the Mass, how to wear a cassock and a pray with a rosary, where to get the right incense, what a breviary was. He even gave us some vestments that were used in all three mountings of the show (1989, 1994/95, 2002), which I still have today. He also shared a tremendous love for Father Damien: in fact, Father John was traveling back and forth to Rome, actively working on the case for Damien's beatification. I remember meeting with John after Saturday confessions in the rectory near Queen Elizabeth Park, and five years later when we remounted the show we spent time together in his study at St. Paul's, where he was working with AIDS patients.

In some ways, Father John seemed the antithesis of the saint he loved: soft-spoken, gentle-mannered, intellectual and meticulous where Damien was every bit the Belgian peasant, rough-hewn, coarse, outspoken and forceful. I found the contrast fascinating.

Without necessarily being spiritual about it, Father John blessed our little play. And clearly his advocacy for Father Damien didn't do any harm: a year ago (right when the events below were unfolding, curiously enough), the Vatican announced that a second miracle had been attributed to Father Damien, and he would officially be pronounced a saint - which will occur on October 11 this year.

Now Father John has been witness to something quite remarkable, and may even have played a role in another canonization...

Healed by monk's divine intervention?
After a man close to dying recovers miraculously, church begins to investigate role of a priest

by Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun, July 11 2009

Rev. John Horgan knew a dying man when he saw one. Years of working as a chaplain in Vancouver General and St. Paul's hospitals had seen to that.

So when he saw Peter Andersen in Vancouver General's intensive care unit on the afternoon of July 3, 2008, he didn't need anyone to tell him that Andersen's situation was grave. His blood stream was teeming with the bacteria from two flesh-eating diseases: myositis, which attacks the muscles, and necrotizing fasciitis, which invades the flesh beneath the skin. Andersen, on life support, was bloated beyond recognition from septic shock. Whole muscle groups of dead tissue had been stripped away by surgeons from his right leg. His blood pressure was so low it was in the range that indicates imminent death, and his kidneys and other organs had failed. He appeared to be within hours of dying.

But what happened next is going to lead to a formal investigation by the Catholic Church to determine if the spiritual intervention of an Irish monk who died in 1923 was responsible for a medical miracle. Because Andersen didn't die. He made a recovery that at first sight seems to defy medicine and logic. The canonical investigation of Andersen's healing will be the first such inquiry ever held in the history of the Vancouver archdiocese -- founded in 1863 -- and could lead to the canonization of the monk as a saint. "In fact it will be the first time such an inquiry has been held in Western Canada," said Horgan, pastor of St. Peter and Paul's parish in Vancouver. "It's extremely rare for this to happen," he said.

On June 30 last year, Andersen suddenly developed a high fever and complained of a pain in his leg. The next day he asked his wife, Charlene, to call an ambulance when the pain became unbearable. "I remember them putting me in the ambulance, but after that I lost consciousness for two weeks," Andersen said. Except for a brief moment when he remembered receiving communion from Horgan, the rest is just an awful darkness, he said.

For Charlene, it was the beginning of a nightmare. The couple, without children of their own, had a few months earlier adopted two children from the Ukraine. Until he developed what appeared to be the flu, Peter was a healthy, strapping individual with no health problems, she said.

A day after being admitted to Peace Arch Hospital he was rushed to VGH on life support after multiple organ failure with his body full of flesh-eating-disease bacteria. The overall diagnosis was that he was suffering from streptococcal myonecrosis, and on the charts his doctors had described the extent of the disease as "advanced ... severe ... extensive," she said. "The surgeons removed bagfuls of dead tissue and muscle and he'd had two skin grafts. Then he contracted severe septic shock syndrome, which caused his body to bloat like a balloon. I asked them, 'Can you save him?' and one surgeon said, 'We are trying, but no, he's not going to make it.' I pleaded with them to take his leg off but they said it was too late for that."

Charlene sent for Horgan, the couple's parish priest, who some years before had introduced them to books written by the Irish-French monk Columba Marmion. Marmion had been given the title "blessed" by Pope John Paul II based on a miraculous cure attributed to prayers for his intercession, and the couple had began a devotion to Marmion in 2005 by circulating copies of his writings and encouraging Catholic friends to read his books.

Horgan arrived carrying with him a relic of Marmion -- a fragment of his monk's habit. The nurse who met him said there was no hope, but she was glad to see him because he could comfort Charlene. The priest was gowned and masked and led into intensive care unit.While praying that God would spare his friend's life for the sake of his wife and their two adopted children, he took the relic and placed it on Andersen's head, heart and on the dressing covering his diseased leg. "I asked Blessed Marmion to intercede with the Lord and bring healing," said Horgan. At mass the next day he asked the congregation to pray for a miracle for Andersen, "as this was his only hope."

Charlene didn't believe her husband would survive: "I was beside myself looking at him. We were new parents, the kids had only arrived in April, and I didn't know what I would do. I knew he was going to die and I didn't believe a miracle was going to happen, my faith wasn't strong enough. The charge nurse told me he was at the point of death."

But Peter didn't die that Thursday, or the Friday. On Saturday, July 5, five days after he fell ill, a male nurse rushed up to Charlene. "He was really excited. He said, 'The blood culture's come back and it's negative. I'm taking him off life support.' He pulled the tube out of his mouth and Peter said to me, 'Can you give me a hug?'" One of his surgeons told Charlene her husband's recovery was a miracle, another said he was very lucky. He would be in hospital for the next four months. Doctors told her he would never walk again or drive a car, and a psychiatrist told her he would likely be brain-damaged.

None of which happened. Although he needs a cane, Peter is walking and driving a car, and has lost none of his mental faculties. He has returned to work as the pastoral care director of Columbus Residence, a care facility for the elderly in south Vancouver.

News of his inexplicable recovery eventually spread to Marmion's former abbey in Belgium and to an Irish priest, Rev. Mark Tierney of County Limerick, who is promoting Marmion's cause for sainthood.

So who was Blessed Marmion? He was born in Dublin in 1858 and was a diocesan priest until he entered Maredsous Abbey in Belgium, where he became abbot in 1909. He wrote a number of books, including Christ, the Life of the Soul, that are considered spiritual classics. A Benedictine abbey in Illinois is named after him.

Both the Maredsous Abbey and Tierney have asked the archdiocese to launch a formal investigation into the healing and Tierney has already travelled to Vancouver and met the Andersens. Horgan, an expert on the church's process for canonization, said the inquiry will gather all the medical documentation and seek to interview physicians involved in the treatment. It will take statements from himself and the Andersens. "It's a rigorous process and the word miracle isn't used. What will be investigated is whether the healing was of such an extraordinary nature as to be medically inexplicable, in other words, something that science can't account for," Horgan said. If the local investigation is satisfied the case was medically inexplicable, then all the material will be sent to Rome to the Vatican's Congregation For the Causes of Saints, the department that investigates candidates for sainthood. The dossier will be given to a medical consultation team of nine physicians to review, and if they determine the healing to be inexplicable it then passes to a committee of theologians to see if a connection can be draw between the medical outcome and Marmion, said Horgan. "If they believe that is the case, it then becomes reviewed by a committee of bishops and if it passes them it is bumped up to the Pope. He's the only one who can say it's a miracle," Horgan said.

If Andersen's recovery is declared a miracle through the intercession of Marmion, then the monk will be canonized as a saint. For the Andersens, that would be the icing on the cake. "We're hoping, too, that he is declared a doctor of the church," said Charlene. If he is, then this little-known Irish monk will join an elite club of saints, mystics and writers that now numbers only 33 and contains such luminaries as Thomas Aquinas, Augustine and Teresa of Avila.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Hi folks! I thought it was about time I introduced myself. I'm Andrea Loewen, former apprentice and current publicist at Pacific Theatre. Last year during my apprenticeship I had the opportunity to produce and/or perform in several productions including Nicky Silver's THE FOOD CHAIN, VINTAGE VALENTINE: A MUSICAL THEATRE REVUE, THE RECESSION PARTY, Ron Reed's YOU STILL CAN'T, and my own one-woman show SILK THREADS. It was a busy year and now I'm looking forward to keeping myself at least as busy doing publicity at Pacific Theatre and continuing my acting and writing work. I will occasionally be posting on here to let you know what's going on at PT.

Now that I've introduced myself, let me introduce the 2009/10 season at Pacific Theatre!

I am very excited about this season! We will kick it off with a staged reading of THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT by Stephen Adly Guirgis, a co-production with Pound of Flesh. Up next we're bringing back THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, adapted from the wondrous novel by C.S. Lewis. Following that is a first for Pacific Theatre. We're bringing THE PASSION PROJECT by Reid Farrington in from New York. This experimental piece will be a part of the PuSH Festival and definitely shouldn't be missed. Next will be our own Ron Reed's REFUGE OF LIES, fresh from its Off-Broadway debut! Finally, our season will close with one of my favorite musicals of all time, GODSPELL by Schwartz and Tebelak. (Although I can't decide which song I like best- "Turn Back, Oh Man" or "By My Side.")

Of course, I can't forget our second stage events. We're bringing the spirit of Christmas Presence to town a little early with PRESENCE Sept. 24 & 25th. Don't worry though, we're not leaving CHRISTMAS PRESENCE behind, it will run at PT, in North Van, and Abbotsford as always. Our 09/10 apprentices will take the stage in... you guessed it! I WAS MADE FOR THE STAGE. Finally, we're bringing back the comedy improv stylings of The Panic Squad (featuring our dear production manager Frank Nickel) with SIDE SHOW!

Another Crossing

But it's only JULY the eighth! They're a month early for fortieth anniversary celebration of The Holy Crossing...

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter (second from right) and Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly (second from left) re-created the iconic Abbey Road album cover in anticipation of this weekend's Paul McCartney concert on the Halifax Common. Members of a Beatles tribute band rounded out the foursome. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Thanks, Julie!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


My mind's on GODSPELL lately. Watching the film, looking up the scripture passages, playing tunes on the piano, reading up on the show's history.

Met with Sarah Rodgers a couple weeks ago, who's directing the PT production next spring. She told me to check out the Canadian premiere of the show, a landmark in Toronto theatre history. Turns out the cast featured (before they were famous)...

...Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and Victor Garber - who reprised his performance as Jesus in the film version. Tom Scardino took over the role of Jesus in Toronto before playing Him on Broadway, then founding the Second City troupe in Toronto with three other original Toronto cast members - Derek McGrath, Gilda Radner and Jayne Eastwood.

By the time the show closed...

Eugene Levy was Jesus, and Dave Thomas had joined the cast.

I think Mike Myers was probably in the audience.

The musical director for the original Toronto show, who ended up playing piano on the movie soundtrack? U of Toronto philosophy and sociology student...

Paul Shaffer.

The sax player in the Toronto production?

Howard "Lord Of The Rings" Shore.

The very first version of the show was a student project at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. That cast took it to Cafe La Mama in NYC, opening February 24, 1971, then played the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village - which was the other possible venue considered for my play REFUGE OF LIES when it ran in NYC last fall. Dang!

Only one song from the original production stayed in the show once Carnegie-Mellon alum Steven Schwartz was brought in to re-tool the score - "By My Side," with lyrics by...

Jay Hamburger. 

Who now lives in Vancouver, and founded Theatre In The Raw.  I'm curious to know how Jay was involved in that historical original production.  Ought to look him up and find out more...

Thanks to for facts and fotos

Monday, July 06, 2009

Rosedale On Robson: "Imagine a hotel room..."

One of Pacific Theatre's wonderful sponsors is the Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel. They've come up with something of which Norman "You Still Can't" Poppins would most definitely approve...

Imagine a hotel room
It’s easy if you try…

The Lennon Suite: Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel’s New Themed Room Features Photos Of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-In For Peace

The Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel is proud to display a selection of the works of photojournalist Gerry Deiter in a new theme suite, which will mean sweet dreams for fans of John Lennon. Suite 303, with its elegant d├ęcor and spacious terrace, displays four unique photographs. The living room features “Bed-In, The Long Shot”, an unusual black and white photo that conveys a sense of the eight days of constant media activity that surrounded John and Yoko.

The second photo, "All We Are Saying" captures John and Yoko during the recording of “Give Peace A Chance”, which was written during that week and became an anthem for that tumultuous time and for future generations. The guitar on which John is playing is now in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio...

On display in the bedroom is “The Way Of Life”, which captures John and Yoko during a quiet moment between interviews. “Empty Nest” makes a powerful statement, depicting the empty bed in which they conducted their interviews, met with guests and entertained celebrities for eight days....

Deiter was supposed to have a quick visit to shoot some photos for Life Magazine, but was invited by John and Yoko to stay for the entire event, which took place from May 26 to June 2, 1969 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Several of Deiter’s photos are now on display in the historic room. The photos never ran, as they were replaced with additional war stories from Vietnam. He became the only photojournalist to chronicle the entire Bed-In.

Deiter moved to the West Coast where he remained until he passed away in 2005.

The Rosedale’s “theme” suite houses this special limited-edition selection of photographs to honour the spirit of peace and harmony represented by this famous event.

Deiter’s legacy is also reflected in a recently released book Give Peace A Chance: John & Yoko’s Bed-In For Peace by Joan Athey (Wiley), as well as at major exhibitions currently on show in Liverpool, UK and Bethel Woods (Woodstock Festival site) NY, USA.

The Rosedale on Robson is located in Yaletown on the corner of Hamilton and Robson Streets, and is conveniently located in the heart of the sports and entertainment district.

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel
838 Hamilton @ Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6A2

Friday, July 03, 2009

Jul 13, 21: Nelson Boschman Trio

Monday, July 13, 7:30pm
Harrison Festival of the Arts' Literary Cafe
Harrison Memorial Hall on Esplanade Ave
with Mark Bender (bass) and Kenton Wiens (drums)
More info and tickets ($12) available online

Tuesday, July 21, 7:30pm
The Cellar Jazz Club
3611 W. Broadway, Vancouver
Fundraiser for a new short film by Katherine Hill
with Kenton Wiens (drums) and TBA (bass)
More info and tickets ($70 single, $100 couple - includes 3-course dinner) available online