Thursday, December 30, 2010

introducing the cast | my name is asher lev

Here's a sneak peek at the wonderful cast that will be taking the stage in our upcoming production of MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, playing January 28-February 26.

Katharine Venour

You've seen her on our stage countless times in everything from THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT to AGNES OF GOD to HOLY MO.  She was nominated for Jessie Awards for her roles in SHADOWLANDS and ST. JOAN.  Back from spending the summer studying in New York City, we are thrilled to have Katharine on our stage once again.  She'll be playing multiple roles in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, including that of Asher's mother.

Giovanni Mocibo

This isn't Gio's first turn on our stage; he was a part of PT's foray into the Fringe Festival this summer with his acclaimed show CONFESSIONS OF A PAPERBOY.  It is, however, his first professional show here, and his first time as a part of PT's mainstage season.  Hailing from Rosebud Theatre in Alberta where he sang and danced as well as acted his way through shows like JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLORED DREAM COAT and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Gio will be taking on the title role of Asher in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV.

 Nathan Schmidt

Nathan is making his way over to Pacific Theatre for MY NAME IS ASHER LEV from his position as Head of Acting for Rosebud School of the Arts in Alberta (seems we've snagged a few Rosebud-ites for this production).  Despite the distance, however, he has walked the boards at PT before, as Chaim Kovler in THE QUARREL.  It's been a few years, and now we are thrilled to have him back playing multiple roles in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV, including Asher's father and his mentor.

the busy world is hushed named top theatre of 2010!

A special thanks to our friends at for naming THE BUSY WORLD IS HUSHED among the top theatre productions of 2010. Last year they lauded THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE as their favourite show of the year. This year we made second place, which if you ask us is not too shabby at all!  Oh, and the honourable mentions list also includes last season's REFUGE OF LIES.  What a year!

See their entire list here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

jan 8 | music @ pacific

Those of you who have been following the life and times of Pacific Theatre know that we've had a music series for the past few years with the Pacific Rim String Quartet.  Well, their first concert of the season is coming up in the new year!  Check out the information on the concert below, sent in by company member Brian Mix.

‘Tis the week before Christmas...

But don’t forget that the Pacific Rim String Quartet’s next concert at Pacific Theatre is coming up on Saturday, January 8.

We’re starting 2011 with a bang – an all-Beethoven concert featuring three of his most interesting string quartets: Op. 18 No. 6, Op. 95, and Op. 59 No. 3. The numbers don’t tell you much, so you’ll have to come to find out what makes each work unique!

Great chamber music played in the intimate 120-seat Pacific Theatre. Why not put a note in someone’s stocking saying you’d like to take them to the concert? Tickets are available online at and at the door.

Hope to see you there! All the best for the Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Pacific Rim String Quartet plays all-Beethoven
Pacific Theatre
1440 W. 12th Ave. at Hemlock
Saturday, January 8, 2011

dec. 29, 2pm | christmas on the air | PERFORMANCE ADDED!

Our friends at the Midnight Theatre Collective have added a performance to CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR.

Wednesday, December 29th at 2pm

Due to popular demand, we've added a performance of CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR on Wednesday, December 29th at 2pm. One more chance to bring your whole family out to this charming musical!

To book your tickets, call 604.731.5518 or buy online.

What people are saying about CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR:

"Your production of Christmas on the Air was just what I needed. It was funny, touching, nostalgic and poignant. It made my heart sing...and my lips too, come to think of it." | Judy Schnarr, email

"Just got home from "Christmas on the Air" WOW! a must see. It blew me away. An amazing mix of comedy/swag/all heart and just plain real." | Michael Kennedy Moirera, facebook

"Everyone should see this show. The acting, singing and dancing are great! Obviously the directing is first class, too. There is action, humour and pathos all rolled together for a very entertaining show. My 11 year old grandson loved it. My 84 year old husband loved it ( and actually stayed awake far past his bedtime). My grandson said he has never seen me laugh so hard before. Thank you all for such a wonderful addition to the Christmas season." | Vicki, website comment

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

christmas on the air | responses

A few responses to Midnight Theatre Collectives production of CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR, playing now until January 1st at PT.

"Benjamin Elliott’s frantic sound effects performance during The Night Before Christmas is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Especially from 4 feet away. Hurry to see "Christmas on the Air" before it ends!" | Marianne Holmlund Mendgen, facebook

"Your production of Christmas on the Air was just what I needed. It was funny, touching, nostalgic and poignant. It made my heart sing...and my lips too, come to think of it." | Judy Schnarr, email

"Christmas on the Air' is amazing! So nostalgic, heart warming and filled with plenty of witty moments and Chrsitmas cheer, it is literally the perfect holiday show. I'd pick seeing this over White Christmas any day!
The cast is wonderful, the script fantastic, and I love that the cast interacted with the audience; a rare and incredibly welcomed (at least by me!) occurance. My mom and I couldn't help but feel like we weren't just watching some play, but that we were actually a part of this beautifully crafted world, and it took the announcement of the intermission to make us remember that we weren't actually a live studio audience for this 1950's radio show!
For anyone who's still on the fence, trying to decide whether to spend those hard-earned dollars or not, I can sincerly tell you that it is worth every penny and more!" | Brittany Chisholm, facebook

"I was dying to sing along with the carols and other traditional songs in Christmas on the Air but, by the time the cast members finally invited us to join in, I was so overcome by feeling that I could barely croak out the notes." | Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

"The outstanding ensemble cast fashion Christmas on the Air into a satisfying mix of poignant humour, madcap physical comedy and great family-friendly fun." | John Jane, Review Vancouver

"Just got home from "Christmas on the Air" WOW! a must see. It blew me away. An amazing mix of comedy/swag/all heart and just plain real. If you like theater- AMAZING, or not, this one will make a theater lover out of you. Thank you Lal and Damon for the invite. I am glad I didn't miss this one!" | Michael Kennedy Moirera, facebook

"I must confess that I came to see Midnight Theatre Collective’s “Christmas on the Air” at the Pacific Theatre feeling much more like Scrooge than Santa Claus. Maybe it’s the endless rain we’ve been having– I just hadn’t been feeling the Christmas spirit. 'Bah humbug,' my skeptical little heart thought, 'another Christmas show with carols and laughs and tender moments and hard hearts in need of softening and everything turning out alright in the end.' And it was. And it did. And that is why I finished the evening with a smile on my face." | Nifty Not Cool

"It was fabulous! An experience not to be missed. Absolutely a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the season. Fantastic script, actors, voices – a stunning little production that surprises you with immense moments of laughter, joy, a tear or two…and a sense that our lives can be entwined with the deeper meaning of Christmas." | Kimberly, website comment

"Everyone should see this show. The acting, singing and dancing are great! Obviously the directing is first class, too. There is action, humour and pathos all rolled together for a very entertaining show. My 11 year old grandson loved it. My 84 year old husband loved it ( and actually stayed awake far past his bedtime). My grandson said he has never seen me laugh so hard before. Thank you all for such a wonderful addition to the Christmas season." | Vicki, website comment

"Christmas in the Air was so good I think it should be done every year --- if the Stanley can do it with White Christmas, why can't Pacific Theatre do it with Christmas in the Air. Marvellous production." | patron email

Monday, December 20, 2010

dec 20 | christmas presence | set list

Nelson Boschman | Joy To The World Samba
PT Staff | Curtain Raiser #1
Michael Hart | Light Of The Stable
Ebenezer & His Nephew, by Charles Dickens
Anna Vandas | Once In Royal David's City
Santaleaks, by Ben Greenman
Jonathan Anderson | Best Bets
Alison Chisholm | Christmas Memory
Lance Odegard | Impossible Dream
Shem, by David Kossoff
Anna Vandas | On This Holy Night
Joseph's Lullabye, by Ron Klug
Jonathan Anderson | Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight
God In The Doorway, by Annie Dillard
Carolyn Arends | Do Not Be Afraid / Angels We Have Heard On High

Spencer Capier | Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
PT Staff | Curtain Raiser #2
Michael Hart | The Angel Gabriel
Joseph's Suspicion, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Mary Considers Her Situation, by Luci Shaw
Carolyn Arends | The Sound
Christmas At The Turlingtons, by Stuart McLean
Jonathan Anderson | Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Nelson Boschman | Christmas Time Is Here
Kathleen | Breaking Up Christmas
Lance Odegard | Alleluia Christ Is Born
The Annunciation, by Frederick Buechner
Carolyn Arends | Is Bethlehem Too Far Away
Michael Hart Silent Night

Sunday, December 19, 2010

dec 19 | christmas presence | set list

Kathleen Nisbet | Breaking Up Christmas
Advent, Rober Farrar Capon
Laurell | O Come Emmanuel
Santaleaks, Ben Greenman
Nelson Boschman | Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Better Watch Out, Robert Farrar Capon
Here Comes Santa Claus
Peter La Grand | Christmas Song
Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer | Light At The Stable
The Innkeeper, Frederick Buechner
Kathleen Nisbet | Mary (Patty Griffin)
Shalyn McFaul | The Risk of Birth, Madeleine L'Engle
Mary Considers Her Situation, Luci Shaw
Becca Birkner & Peter La Grand | Mary's Song
Shalyn McFaul | O Sapientia, Madeleine L'Engle
Irrational Season, Madeleine L'Engle
Laurell | Wrapped Up In You
Every Man Heart Lay Down, Lorenz Graham
Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer | Cloak Room

Nelson Boschman | Joy To The World Samba
Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer | Lights Used To Shine
Peter La Grand | Christmas Memory
Laurell | You Came
Christmas at the Turlingtons, by Stuart McLean
Kathleen Nisbet | Blue Christmas
Nelson Boschman | Christmas Time Is Here
Laurell | Jingle Bells
Peter La Grand | Come To Us, Emmanuel
Emmanuel, by Frederick Buechner
Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer | Silent Night

dec 18 | christmas presence | set list

Spencer Capier | We Three Kings
Ali Frank Andrea | Curtain Raiser 1
Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer | Lights Used To Shine
Peter La Grand | King Of Kings
Too Much To Ask
Lance Odegard | Impossible Dream
Emmanuel: Impossible, by Frederick Buechner
Peter La Grand | Hear Now You House Of David
Michael Hart | Polish Carol
Snow Angel, by Tom Carson
Jeremy Eisenhauer & Sheree Plett | Time Of Year
Death Might Be Your Santa Claus
Lance Odegard | When The Ship Comes In
Loneliness, by Tim Anderson
Nelson Boschman | Star Of Wonder

Spencer Capier | Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
Ali Frank Andrea | Curtain Raiser 2
Michael Hart | Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
Jer & Sher | Cloak Room
Christmas at the Turlingtons', by Stuart McLean
Spencer Capier | Auld Lang Syne
Nelson Boschman | Christmas Time Is Here
Michael Hart | Joy To The World
Peter La Grand | Come To Us, Emmanuel
Seth, by David Kossoff
Lance Odegard | Alleluia, Christ is Born
Ron | Emmanuel, by Frederick Buechner
Sheree Plett & Jeremy Eisenhauer | O Emmanuel

Saturday, December 18, 2010

dec 17 | christmas presence | set list

Nelson Boschman | Joy To The World
Ali Frank Andrea | Curtain Raiser 1
Garth Bowen | Go Tell It
Ron Reed | Creche, by Nicola Colhoun
Jeremy Eisenhauer & Sheree Plett | Lights Used To Shine
Ron Reed | Christmas at the Turlingtons, by Stuart McLean
Spencer Capier | Auld Lang Syne
Garth Bowen | White Christmas
Laurell | Jingle Bells
Peter La Grand | Zion
Ron Reed | Mary Considers Her Situation, by Luci Shaw
Jeremy Eisenhauer & Sheree Plett | Cloak Room

Nelson Boschman | I Saw Three Ships
Ali Frank Andrea | Curtain Raiser 2
Garth Bowen | God Rest Ye
Laurell | You Came
Ron Reed | Emmanuel, by Frederick Buechner
Peter La Grand | Christmas Song
Ron Reed | Snow Angel, by Tom Carson
Jeremy Eisenhauer & Sheree Plett | Time Of Year
Ron Reed | Death Might Be Your Santa Claus, by Rev. J.M. Gates
Garth Bowen | Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Ron Reed | Better Watch Out, by Robert Farrar Capon
Ron / Garth / Spencer | Here Comes Santa Claus
Laurell | Wrapped Up In You
Jeremy Eisenhauer & Sheree Plett | What Child Is This
Ron Reed | Luke 2:8-9 "And there were in the same country shepherds..."
Peter La Grand | King Of Kings

Friday, December 17, 2010

christmas presence SOLD OUT except Dec 17, 18

Our favourite holiday tradition is back!  CHRISTMAS PRESENCE began Tuesday at Pacific Theatre, and we're hitting the North Shore tonight and the Valley on Saturday before coming back home to PT for two final (sold out!) shows.  Some of your favourite musicians are back this year, with a few newcomers to our stage as well.  The Pacific Theatre performances are already sold out but we still have tickets left for our North Shore and Valley performances.  Don't miss your chance to take part in this intimate and casual evening of songs and readings.  Read Nelson Boschman's blog post about CHRISTMAS PRESENCE and community here.

December 14th - Pacific Theatre (SOLD OUT)

Lance Odegard
Michael Hart
Christine Magee
Kathleen Nisbet

Nelson Boschman
Spencer Capier
Rick Colhoun
Becca Birkner
Kathleen Nisbet

December 17th - North Shore

Sheree Plett
Jeremy Eisenhauer
Peter La Grand
Garth Bowen
Kathleen Nisbet

Nelson Boschman
Kenton Wiens
Spencer Capier
Rick Colhoun
Becca Birkner

December 18th - Abbotsford

Lance Odegard
Sheree Plett
Jeremy Eisenhauer
Michael Hart
Peter La Grand

Nelson Boschman
Spencer Capier
Kenton Wiens
Brett Ziegler
Rick Colhoun
Becca Birkner

December 19th - Pacific Theatre (SOLD OUT)

Sheree Plett
Jeremy Eisenhauer
Peter La Grand
Kathleen Nisbet

Nelson Boschman
Kenton Wiens
Brett Ziegler
Rick Colhoun
Becca Birkner

December 20th - Pacific Theatre (SOLD OUT)
Carolyn Arends
Lance Odegard
Michael Hart
Anna Vandas
Jonathan Anderson
Kathleen Nisbet

Nelson Boschman
Spencer Capier
Kenton Wiens
Brett Ziegler
Rick Colhoun
Becca Birkner

colin thomas raves christmas on the air

Christmas on the Air irresistibly playful and openhearted
by Colin Thomas
Georgia Straight, December 13 2010

I was dying to sing along with the carols and other traditional songs in Christmas on the Air but, by the time the cast members finally invited us to join in, I was so overcome by feeling that I could barely croak out the notes.

Lucia Frangione’s 1994 script is a little lumpy, but still irresistibly playful and openhearted. Viewers become the live audience for the 1949 Christmas Eve broadcast of Vancouver’s CKOS radio. Gruff station director Percival B. Frank, his Dutch wife Yolanda, their young-adult son Danny, pianist Sylvia, and recently hired on-air performer Kitty don’t just sing; they also enact favourite Christmas stories, including O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi”, as well as lesser-known curiosities such as Jacob A. Riis’s “The Kid Hangs Up His Stocking”.

Hipster Danny has his eye on comely Kitty—until he realizes that the baby she’s brought into the studio with her is hers: she’s an unmarried mom. This infuriates Percival and confuses Yolanda, who are both struggling to deal with memories of a shared tragedy. Lonely Sylvia is just looking for somebody to sit down with during her holiday meal.

Before it gets into its first substantial story, the script feels fragmented, and throughout, the conventions are a bit weird. Knowing that they’re in front of a live audience, why do the characters indulge in emotional private scenes, for instance? In the end, though, none of these objections really matter; once the relationships are established, it’s easy to let the sentimental flow sweep you away.

Under Seana-Lee Wood’s musical direction—Wood also plays Sylvia—powerful and complex harmonies roll out of the cast. One of the many musical highlights is Wood’s unadorned solo in “Amazing Grace”.

And Diana Kaarina, who plays Kitty, is a knockout. She belts it out like a Broadway baby, then she pulls it back and breaks your heart with a lyrical line. She’s got great comic timing and she dances with transporting effortlessness.

Benjamin Elliott (Danny) is also a total treat. His performance is broad, but precise. His rock ’n’ roll version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” works because it’s delivered with just the right combination of sincerity and irony. And Elliott is a gifted physical comedian, as you’ll discover when you see Danny attempt frantic sound effects for his father’s reading of Clement C. Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, which is also known as “The Night Before Christmas”.

Damon Calderwood (Percival) and Lalainia Lindbjerg (Yolanda) round out director Shel Piercy’s strong cast.

Ultimately, though, the evening belongs to playwright Frangione, who, in celebrating playfulness, reminds us what the holidays are about: the renewal of innocence and communion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

dec 14 | christmas presence | set list

Nelson Boschman | O Tannenbaum (Vince Guaraldi)
Alison Chisholm, Andrea Loewen, Frank Nickel | Curtain Raiser
Michael Hart | All Hail & Welcome
Diane Tucker | Advent Couplets (Diane Tucker)
Ron Reed | Christmas Dream (Ron Reed)
Diane Tucker | Toward the Winter Solstice (Timothy Steele)
Lance Odegard | When The Ship Comes In (Bob Dylan)
Spencer Capier | Auld Lang Syne
Ron Reed | Christmas at the Turlingtons (Stuart McLean)
Nelson Boschman | Christmas Time Is Here (Vince Guaraldi)
Kathleen Nisbett | Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)
Christine Magee | Precious Gift
Spencer Capier | We Three Kings
Ron Reed |
Rebecca De Boer | Mary Considers Her Situation (Luci Shaw)
Lance Odegard & Becca Birkner | Mary's Song (Peter La Grand)

Kathleen Nisbett | Breaking Up Christmas
Alison Chisholm, Andrea Loewen, Frank Nickel | Curtain Raiser 2
Michael Hart | Si Nous Marchons (Michael Hart
Lance Odegard | Alleluia, Christ is Born (Lance Odegard)
Diane Tucker | Christmas Couplets (Diane Tucker)
Ron Reed | Angels (Ron Reed)
Christine Magee | O Come Emmanuel / Crimson Robe
Spencer Capier
Evan Frayne, Rebecca De Boer, Ron Reed | A Taste Of Winter (Lucia Frangione)
Spencer Capier | Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
Lance Odegard | Impossible Dream (Lance Odegard)
Ron Reed | A Child's Christmas in Texas (John Henry Faulk)
Michael Hart | Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (Emmylou Harris)
Ron Reed | Christmas Prayer (Robert Louis Stevenson)

also featured
Rick Colhoun, drums
Brett Ziegler, keyboard

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

janet mccloy | our premiere ticket giveaway winner

Congratulations to Janet McCloy, the first winner of our e-card ticket giveaway!  Janet won two free tickets to come see CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR.

Want to be a winner too?  We will give away one pair of free tickets to our e-card members for every show.  The only way to get it on it is to join our e-card list!  You'll not only get chances for free tickets to our shows, but exclusive updates to what we're doing at Pacific Theatre.  If you're interested, drop your email address in the box below to sign up.

*Our promise to all e-card list members: our inboxes are just as full as yours, so we promise to only email you when we have something new to tell you.

karl petersen | urban fits

PT fans will remember Karl Petersen from a ton of Community Shows / Stones Throw Productions, most recently as Grandpa in the original production of YOU STILL CAN'T, stretching right back to THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE. Karl's also a poet who's been seen on our stage reading his works, and now he's got a new volume of poems that will be available in time for Christmas.

Urban Fits, the new collection of poems from Karl Petersen, is soon to be available on, Barnes And Noble (, and!

"This new collection from Karl Petersen explores the urban landscape of Vancouver, BC. The poems both celebrate city life and express a yearning for belonging amid urban complexity. Petersen finds redemption from without and from within the city's walls where we hear cries for a significance of person and place.

"Often, the most unexpected revelations are found in the city's hidden corners. The title, Urban Fits, suggests the neurotic state of urban life and questions whether the urban environment is fit for human life, but the title also implies that we who live there must fit ourselves the city as home. With humour and word play, through deft, vivid phrasing and startling metaphor, the voices in these poems offer spiritual insight into urban life."

Saturday, December 04, 2010

dec 11 12 | tenth church christmas | craig erickson

Craig Erickson (Grace, God's Man In Texas, The Furniture Of Heaven) is performing at Tenth Church, along with two choirs - one gospel, the other a capella - under the direction of John Williams.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

dec 10 - jan 1 | christmas on the air

As you probably already know, this season PT is playing host to a handful of guest production companies.  CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR, opening December 10th, is produced by The Midnight Theatre Collective, headed up by friend-of-PT Damon Calderwood.  Here's his personal email inviting you to see CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR.

Hi friends,

If you are looking for a little holiday entertainment this year that's uniquely different, consider coming to Christmas on the Air.

It's the first production I've done in Vancouver since early 2009!

Damon Calderwood
Benjamin Elliott
Diana Kaarina
Lalainia Lindbjerg
Seana-Lee Wood

Shel Piercy

Tickets range from $11.50 to $29.50

Tickets: 604-731-5518

If you are looking for a great ticket deal, consider coming to one of our pay-what-you-can previews (Dec 8 or 9), or you can see the show for free if you volunteer for concession or ushering (contact Alison Chisholm at for volunteering opportunities).

Here's more info about the show, which is full of comedy, music, and a little sprinkling of everything else!

CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR by Vancouver's Lucia Frangione

Pacific Theatre presents a Midnight Theatre Collective production

Frangione's merry little Christmas show overflows with the warmest sentiments of the holiday season.

With Lucia Frangione's CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR as its holiday offering, there won’t be a Grinch or Scrooge out at Pacific Theatre this Christmas!

Created in 1994 when Frangione was a budding actress and playwright, CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR is a family-friendly, nostalgic romp set in a fictitious Vancouver radio studio on Christmas Eve of 1949 during a live radio broadcast. The audience is part of the broadcast and not only do they participate in the “live radio show” they also witness the backstage antics as PERCIVAL FRANK (Damon Calderwood) tries to keep his annual Christmas show on track and on time in spite of a huge snowstorm and in spite of a potentially awkward revelation on the part of KITTY MCNALLY (Diana Kaarina), the newest member of his radio family. It seems Kitty forgot to tell her boss or his Dutch wife YOLANDA (Lalainia Lindbjerg) and their enthusiastic son DANNY (Ben Elliott) that she has a child. By a man who abandoned her upon learning she was pregnant. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Danny is in love with Kitty and this is the first he’s heard about the baby! SYLVIA WHITE (Seana-Lee Wood), the radio show’s pianist, tries to hold everything together as music soars on show-laden winter winds and Christmas Eve ticks ever onward.

This simple story is the Christmas tree that Frangione decorates with some great old Christmas songs and stories. The stories are hilarious. Stories such as “A Bum's Christmas” and “The Kid Hangs Up His Stocking” or a riotous rendition that pulls out all the comic stops of Clement C. Moore's classic holiday poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas”. And what would Christmas be without the crystalline sentimentality of stories like “The Gift of the Magi” or “The Little Fir Tree”? It’s all wrapped with great holiday harmonies performed by a cast of some of this country’s finest musical theatre artists. Mayhem, music and the honest simplicity of a story told well. As warm as a cup of hot cocoa after a day in the snow, or as fresh as a newly cut tree decorating the front parlour. Crackling like a Christmas Yule log and laced with the sweet slap of Grandma’s famous rum balls. It is an evening of pure Christmas magic.

CHRISTMAS ON THE AIR is a Midnight Theatre Collective production presented by Pacific Theatre in their 2010/11 season, which will run Wed – Sat, December 8 – January 1, 2011, 8pm curtain, Saturday matinees at 2pm; Wednesday and Thursday, Dec 8th and 9th Previews (pay-what-you-can); Opening night Dec 10th. Friday, Dec 17: Artist Talkback Session.

Ticket information can be found at or by calling the Pacific Theatre Box Office at 604-731-5518.

I hope to see you there...

Merry Christmas, and to all a good night!


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

how the audience saved PT | a christmas wish

Every year we do a Christmas fundraising campaign where we make the staff (especially Ron) dress up as silly as possible for a Christmas card.  This year we took a trip to Whoville...

Every Thespian in Skitville loved PT a lot,
But the costs were so high that perform, they could NOT!
There were costumes and lighting and props for their hands,
Not to mention the scenery, soundtrack and band!

They convened in a flurry, they started to scurry,
Together they sang out in near-frantic hurry:
“The crisis is urgent, the pressure is numbing!
We must find a way to keep those plays coming!”

They tried selling trumpets and wigglers and wuzzles,
For the children? small trinkets and pictures and puzzles.
But hard as they tried, the stage stayed bare and looked grim,
With only one light, far too small and too dim.

So the Thespians stood with bare feet on the stage,
Puzzling, “How can we get this darn play off the page?
They puzzled and puzzled, ‘til their puzzler was sore,
Then one thought of something they hadn’t before:

“What of the audience? They love what we do!
Maybe they’ll help with a dollar or two!”
What happened then? Well in Skitville they say
That everyone’s hearts grew three sizes that day!

All the givers who gave, they wound up receiving
Even more than they gave! Beyond all conceiving!
Christmas cheer! and great hearts! and fine theatre to boot!
The Thespians loved them! And all they lost was some loot.

If your heart has grown 3 (or more) sizes today, consider donating.  Click here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

michael hart | new instrumental cd + christmas presence

Michael Hart is PT favourite. He was there, along with Allen Desnoyers, Dirk Van Stralen, Evelyn Loewen and me (and maybe Michael Hart?) the first time we tried the Christmas Presence experiment at the Regent College bookstore, and he's been indispensable since. His album Dulcimer Light is at the top of the Reed Family playlist each Christmas, and his other recordings have all been well played around our place over the years.

A gifted guitarist as well as singer and songwriter, Michael has just released a cd of instrumental recordings. All The Things I Feel But Didn't Know How To Say can be ordered at Michael's website, where you can hear samples of all the tracks.

From the website...
Known as a singer songwriter and guitarist from Canada, this time it's his Gurian steel string and Bill Lewis nylon guitars that do the singing. He brings a rich diversity of original acoustic fingerstyle compositions from Celtic, nouveau Spanish, open tunings, folk-blues. These are visually evocative pieces that bear both motion and emotion. The upbeat "Travelogue" takes off on the album, then a myriad of styles - an Eastern desert caravan, a jazzy dog on a bone, a Celtic jig for a friend, a raw steel, wire & wood, a haunting Sati-esque elegy for a father, a high capo sunset through a loved ones eyes, and harmonic raindrops falling through a bluesy tapped riff. The last cut "Journey Home" is apropos given that this project takes you to just a few different places. The melodies creep up on you and connect through the pristine production. Light touches of mandola, dulcimer, balalaika and percussion grace this album, yet never too much, and the overall effect is inspiring. It's a wonderful recording, and with twelve original tracks you can't go wrong. Did I say I love the title?

Influences: John Martyn, Jessi Cook, Bruce Cockburn, Pat Methany, Phil Keaggy, Eric Clapton, Mason Williams, Paul Simon, Michael Hedges, Joni Mitchell.
Michael can be heard at Christmas Presence this year on the Pacific Theatre stage December 14 and 20, and at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium December 18. On December 18 he'll be joined by an extraordinary line-up including Carolyn Arends, Anna Vandas, Lance Odegard, Jonathan Anderson, Spencer Capier and Nelson Boschman!

Tickets at the PT website or by phone: 604 731-5518

dec 4 | karly warkentin

Karly Warkentin is a Vancouver actress and singer who's been around PT a lot, though - apart from a memorable appearance at Christmas Presence - she hasn't been on our stage so far. But she's known to many Soul Foodies. Here's a note from Karly...

i want to invite you all to a concert that i am playing at the biltmore in vancouver-this saturday dec.4th.
it is a fundraiser for a walk-a-thon that my friends and i are doing across swaziland
-variety bill-several local bands involved
-early show so come at 7pm
-min $10 donation at the door
if you cannot make it, please tell your friends to come!
for more info about the walk,
check out our website

thanks so much!
karly warkentin

nelson boschman | $10 cds!

Jazz pianist Nelson Boschman is our regular band leader for Christmas Presence and all those sorts of shindigs, and was music director for Godspell. Hear him live this year, Dec 14, 17-20. Here's a missive from the lad about a sweet deal on his sweet tunes...

Dear Music fans,

Just a quick note to let you know that Communitas is holding a major sale on all their recordings, including both my trio albums. This is the best deal they've ever offered, and music always makes a great Christmas gift. See below for all the info.

Happy Advent,



Infant King Records is hosting a Winter Music Sale!
Buy online

November 1 - December 24, 2010

All CD's are $10 + shipping costs

Artists include:
West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir (choral)
West Coast Mennonite Quartet
Nelson Boschman Trio (jazz)
Calvin Dyck (violin)
Larry Nickel (requiem)
Gemma (Taize)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

christmas presence | peter la grand | free download

Peter La Grand sings at Christmas Presence sometimes.
This year, Dec 17 on the North Shore, Dec 18 in the Valley.

Here's a free download of some of his Christmas music.  Wow.

Advent has begun.

Friday, November 26, 2010

dec 3 | magnificat! | vcc


A Festive 40th
Anniversary Christmas

8 pm Friday, December 3
Orpheum Theatre

Vancouver Chamber Choir
Pacifica Singers ~ Martha Guth, soprano
Vancouver Chamber Choir Alumni Chorus
Vancouver Chamber Orchestra
John William Trotter, conductor
Jon Washburn, conductor

Meet composer Stephen Chatman
at a pre-concert talk at 7:00 pm

VANCOUVERCANADA – Celebrating their milestone concert season, the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Artistic Director Jon Washburn will present MAGNIFICAT! A Festive 40th Anniversary Christmas at 8pm Friday, December 3 at the Orpheum Theatre. Joining the festivities will be Martha Guth (soprano, pictured below), Pacifica Singers, the Vancouver Chamber Choir Alumni Chorus and the Vancouver Chamber Orchestra.

This is the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s gala 40th anniversary Christmas concert. One highlight will be the world premiere of Stephen Chatman’s Magnificat, written for this occasion. It’s the fifth of the Choir’s outstanding 40th anniversary commissions, composed for soprano solo, choir and orchestra.

The Choir will also sing an earlier rendition of theMagnificat text by Antonio Vivaldi and a newly revised orchestral version of Jon Washburn’s A Silver Christmas. To close the evening, the present choir will be joined by former singers of the last 40 years for a rousing carol sing.

Join in celebration of those who have given us the last four decades of wonderful music-making!

Antonio Vivaldi - Magnificat
Jon Washburn - A Silver Christmas
Stephen Chatman - Magnificat world premiere
David Willcocks - Five Carols

Thursday, November 25, 2010

playland | responses

"On all counts, a superb production. Both Micheal Kaposa and Tom Pickett gave brilliant performances and the work behind the scenes was equally masterful. I brought my 3 young teenagers to introduce them to the potential richness of small theatre, and was thrilled to see them engaged in something quite off their radar. No small accomplishment. Great job delivering an important message. Really enjoyable." - David Evans (audience email)

"Loved it. Right up there with Master Harold, in the top 10 PT shows of all time, and that's 25 plus years my friends, a long time for any small theatre in this town. Kudos to Anthony, Tom, and Micheal, three of my favorite thespians, and crew. I took a friend. The emotional journeys of these two men from Confrontation to Revelation and Redemption - we were right there the whole way. So human, so well crafted. Tight and telling. Deeply satisfying artistically - story-wise, truth-wise and emotionally. The climax and resolution to this production hits you right in the gut, twists, and then liberates you. Not a note contrived." Karl Petersen

"Director Ingram gets the tension right as the two men gradually let their stories emerge, with both Kopsa and Pickett delivering solid performances ... I was completely engrossed in the play and Gideon's experiences on the border ... a good production and a play worth seeing, especially because of that relevance to our times." | Gillian Lockitch, Review from the House

"A couple of actors, a barren setting, and a single confrontation. This is by far the most powerful and the most beautiful play I have ever seen." | Grace Tu, arts blogger

"Just wanted to thank you for/congratulate you on Playland. We saw it tonight, and I'm so glad we did - I had seen it here years ago, but didn't remember much from the last production.
I'm often frustrated (with myself) coming out of a play when I know the story didn't 'get me' like I know it was meant to. Tonight, I was got. There were snot and tears.
The design elements were gorgeous, the actors fantastic, and the story, beautiful. Simple, and so gripping. The kind of theatre that makes me so grateful for Pacific Theatre." | Rebecca DeBoer

"Playland is powerful, hard-hitting and asks us to weigh the passionate revenge killing of one man against the cold-blooded slaughter of 27 freedom fighters; it's no playground, but Fugard does leave a spark of hope." | Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

"This is some of the best acting you'll see on any stage in our city. Honestly, if you have a cultural bone in your body you'll buy a ticket for you and someone else and go. Michael Kopsa and Tom Pickett star in this south african play by Athol Fugard - its a deeply human story." Rory Holland

"I loved it. Two amazing actors on an amazing set. I can't believe they got the South African accents down so well yet so understandable! Very moving. Thank you for bringing plays like this." Marianne Mendgen

"Playland is a thought-provoking story of redemption that should be of interest to anyone fascinated by politics, history and the continuum of humanity." | John Jane, Review Vancouver

"The actors – Michael Kopsa and Tom Pickett – were absolutely excellent. They had tough and meaty roles full of emotion and heavy in dialogue and they played them beautifully and with such strength and conviction. Similarly, the set dec was impressive. Drew Facey should be commended on the thought and creativity that was put into this." | Emme Rogers, Being Emme

"There's some powerful storytelling in Playland." | Kathleen Oliver, The Georgia Straight

"Very moving. A lot of the truth about South Africa made evident. I am married to a South African and I believe the circumstances in that country remain much the same." | Sylvia Mandryk, Email

"Drew Facey’s set design is a marvel complete with what must be a truckload of gravel and the fraying fringes of the amusement park. Jeff Tymoshuk gives us both a quiet exterior soundscape and the full-on noise of the midway." | Mark Robins,

"play good. go see." | anon

alison chisholm | sweet soul gospel choir

'Tis the season!  Christmas concerts are cropping up all over the place and The Sweet Soul Gospel Choir (populated by our administrator Alison Chisholm and friend-of-PT Karina Nickel) will not be left out!  Here is Alison's email invitation to their various seasonal performances.

Hey folks.

It's the Christmas Season which means the VOC Sweet Soul Gospel choir has a LOT of performances coming up that you should check out. I'm tagging you in this note because you have either expressed interest in seeing a concert, or I just think you would really enjoy the shows. They're all free with the exception of our big concert on Dec. 22nd which is $15 for adullts. And I suppose you would also have to pay for the Gondola up Grouse Mountain if you want to check out any of those. Though it's probably worth it, because it is so friggin' beautiful up there. Here's the list of all the concerts that I will be singing in:

Nov. 28th: Grouse Mountain 1-3pm
Dec. 2nd: Grouse Mountain 7-9pm
Dec. 4th: Dundarave Festival of Lights in West Vancouver (25th & Bellevue) 2-3pm
Dec. 4th: North Vancouver Festival of Lights - Foot of Lonsdale Ave just East of Lonsdale Quay 7-8pm
Dec. 5th: Grouse Mountain 1-3pm
Dec. 11th: Plaza @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver 5 - 7pm
Dec. 12th: Grouse Mountain 1-3pm
Dec. 19th: Grouse Mountain 1-3pm
Dec. 22nd: St. Andrews Wesley Church 1022 Nelson St. (Nelson & Burrard) 7:30 - 9pm

Let me know if you plan to come out to any of the shows, so I can make sure to find you afterwards. Hope you can make it out!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

more from the christmas card shoot

Here's a few more images from our photo shoot for our Christmas fundraising campaign.  This year we tried Dr. Seuss on for size, and had a blast!  Each staff member dressed as their best Who, with Ron as the Grinch, Alison as Cindy Lou, and Frank as Max the Dog.  Check out the finished Christmas card and poem here.  If these images tickle your fancy and your heart grows three sizes from looking at them, consider donating here.

Ron "Grinch" Reed.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Alison "Lou Who" Chisholm.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Frank "Max the Dog" Nickel.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Andrea "Who" Loewen.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Cindy "Who" McPherson.  Photos by Kevin Clark Photography.

Evan "Who" Frayne.  Photos by Kevin Clark Photography.
Jess "Who" Howell.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Phil "Who" Miguel.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Shalyn "Who" McFaul.  Photo by Kevin Clark Photography.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

soul food menu

If you'd like to receive occasional Soul Food emails - news about art around Vancouver with a spiritual flavour - just like this, but in your very own in box - let Andrea Loewen know: No spam, nobody gets your email address, and you can opt out any time.

Pix & Raves
I've posted some more of my Playland photos on the blog. Need to see it again this week: shook me to the core. Some other people too: here's a sample of our viewer responses
"By far the most powerful and the most beautiful play I have ever seen..." 
"I'm often frustrated (with myself) coming out of a play when I know the story didn't 'get me' like I know it was meant to. Tonight, I was got. There were snot and tears... The kind of theatre that makes me so grateful for Pacific Theatre..." 
"powerful, hard-hitting: it's no playground, but Fugard does leave a spark of hope..." 
"Some of the best acting you'll see on any stage in our city. Honestly, if you have a cultural bone in your body you'll buy a ticket for you and someone else and go..." 
"A thought-provoking story of redemption..."
"Powerful storytelling..."
"Drew Facey’s set design is a marvel..."

Soul Food 2.0
Now, just so you know I'm no mere huckster, I will say there was one stalwart PT attender who wrote me with a divergent opinion. You can weigh this into the mix as you consider attending. "Too much anger. Too much strong language. No sense of a significant change of hear at the end: there was movement to reconciliation and forgiveness but a sense that they only got a quarter of the way to where I hoped it might have gotten to. I am often moved to tears by many of the Pacific Theatre plays but there was not even a hint of that emotional connection." As my friend writes, "you can't please all of the people all of the time, so we shall look forward to plays that have more resonance for us in the days to come." 

Playland Deets
One friend asked me if there are still tickets available. You don't even need to ask: when it's not a comedy, a musical, or something everybody's already seen, there will be tickets.  The strange thing is, substantial, human-scale stories like Playland are why people love Pacific Theatre -- though they don't necessarily show up!  So when you see a play like this on our calendar, make sure to add it to your own. Unless you'd rather we switch over to a steady diet of musicals, comedies, and things you've already seen...
closes November 27
Michael Kopsa, Tom Pickett, directed by Anthony F. Ingram
Tickets: 604 731-5518 |

Christmas Campaign
Pacific Theatre has launched its annual Christmas silly-postcard-asking-for-money campaign. Check it out: it's kinda cute, and I make a great Grinch if I do say so myself.  (Though my most Grinchly pose won't show up until you hold the actual postcard in your hands.)

Other Soul Food
There's also a swell Playland video by The Province you'll want to check out, as well as notes from the director and artistic director....  Dan Amos (The Quarrel, This Wonderful Life, A Bright Particular Star) and Erin Pennington (Remnants) launch a new web series today...  Kat Gauthier (Godspell, You Still Can't) is onstage now in Hamlet...  Diane Tucker ia reading at the Jewish Book Festival this Sunday... That huge favourite The Foreigner opens next week at Trinity Western University...  And there's some Noah's arkliterary tattoos and whole pile of photos on the Oblations blog....  Also, do you know TWU grad Kaylee Harwood?  Guess where she just got a job....

Soul Food Movies
We've got a Catholic-O-Rama coming our way!  With a single imminent screening of the Cannes-winning Of Gods And Men (the Soul Food film of the year, in my opinion), and a week-long run of the Hildegard biopic Vision, not to mention the DVD release of the previously unfindable Edith Stein film The Seventh Chamber, we've all of a sudden got monks and nuns all over the place!  Heck, there's even a showing of The Portuguese Nun pending, but it's not right away, so I'll post on that in a bit.
Bit of a lull in the commercial big screen new releases just now, before the end-of-year stuff really kicks in - I can't wait for The King's Speech, and Julie Taymor's Tempest - but you can  catch an old Soul Food favourite, Millions at Cinematheque this Sunday, or The Maltese Falcon at some multi-plexes November 28. A new Roy Anker faith-and-film book "Of Pilgrims And Fire: When God Shows Up At The Movies" will point you to lots of rentable Soul Food, and hopefully this weekend I'll get around to posting something about the bumper crop of small, independent and foreign films we've had so far in 2010 - check back to the Soul Food Movies blog in a couple days for some titles to consider renting, including Please Give, Animal Kingdom, Me & Orson Welles, Winter's Bone....  And how great is this: Of Gods And Men is the hottest movie in France right now! One of the most deeply Christian films you'll ever see, a boffo box office smash in "godless France." Go figure. Hope it gets a decent run here in Vancouver....

Friday, November 19, 2010

guenevere = kaylee

We've not yet found a chance to have Kaylee Harwood on our stage, but she's definitely part of the PT community. She graduated from the TWU Theatre program around 2009, has already played roles at Chemainus Theatre and the Arts Club (Cosette in Les Miserables) and Western Canada Theatre (Eliza in My Fair Lady) and lots of others. I've had her in mind for a couple shows I'm looking at for next season at Pacific Theatre, but now that looks a lot less likely - for reasons of geographical impossibility, if nothing else.

It has just been announced that Kaylee has been cast as Guenevere in Camelot. At a small rural theatre somewhere in Ontario. Stratford, I think it's called? Of even more Soul Food interest, she'll also be seen in Jesus Christ Superstar. Looks like a trip to the backwoods of eastern Canada might be in order next summer...

Heartfelt congratulations, Kaylee!

PS  Just found out that Kaylee's in the cast of SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL at Carousel, Dec 4 - Jan 1.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

nov 17 - dec 11 | kat gauthier | hamlet

Kat was Goldie Hawn in GODSPELL, and Sky Poppins in YOU STILL CAN'T. Now she's in a HAMLET in a nice long run on Commercial Drive...

Hamlet At Havana Doth Delight | Vancouver Sun

"Marci T House gives a great dignity to Queen Gertrude, and is especially attuned to "speaking the speech" as it should be heard, with perfect pronunciation and great clarity. So, too, do Gauthier and the other young women in the cast -- Julie McIsaac as Ophelia and Courtney Lancaster in a variety of roles -- offer ample evidence they're up-and-comers worth watching. Ophelia's mad scene is both hauntingly beautiful and tragically accurate in McIsaac's intelligent rendering, Gauthier is especially funny as a wildly hammy "player queen.""

more playland pix | closes next week!