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L.A. Beat


New West Theatre switching up season due to Yates renovations

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 New West Theatre has been forced to shift the timing of their season due to  the delays in renovating the local semi-professional theatre company’s home of The Yates and Sterndale Bennett Theatre.
 But in addition to rethinking venues, they also decided to refocus their image of being best known for their always popular musical comedy revues.Derek Stevenson and Sharon Peat are excited about  the upcoming new West Theatre season. Photo by Richard Amery
““Rockers Gone Country’ was going to be our first show in July. It was already cast but we had to move it to February. So we gave the actors cast in it first right of refusal. Some of them were only available for the summer. Some of them are available for this show. But the show also falls on Valentine‘s day, which is a great date night,” said New West Artistic Director Sharon Peat.

“ It’s all about songs which were number one on both the country and pop charts,” she said.
they are trying something completely different, by putting on the Tony Award winning musical “Million Dollar Quartet for their first show of the season, Sept 12 at the Yates Theatre.

“It’s the first time in years New West has done a musical. It’s about Sun Studios musicians Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins. It’s based on an actual recording session they did in 1956. It’s like being a fly on the wall of Sun Studios, so you learn all about these characters, and of course there’s the music,” Peat enthused.

 She is also excited to bring back “Night Life,” a cabaret in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre. Nightlife 2.0. runs Nov. 16 and 17.
“We’re super excited about the second show. It’s adult based, so it’s not for families. It’s New West after dark,” Peat described.
 The first musical comedy revue of the season is their Christmas show, “Hit Parade,” running Dec. 18-Jan. 5 in  The Yates Theatre. It will combine comedy with plenty of favourite hits.

Their beloved Munsch Theatre for young people show returns for Christmas as well as Munsch-O-Rama explores Munsch favourites  ‘50 below Zero;’ ‘The Paper Bag Princess,’; ‘Thomas’s Snowsuit’; ‘PIGS’ and ‘Something Good.’ It will be running at Casa, Dec. 26 -Jan 5.
 Peat is especially pleased to present   Evan Placey’s play “Girls Like That,” which explores teens in the age of the Internet and social media, May 1-11 in the Sterndale Bennett Theatre.


Princess Rules brings back beloved characters

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Aaron Collier is excited to bring Heist’s new production “Princess Rules” to Club Didi for Lethbridge Pride Festival, tonight , June 16 and Sunday night , June 17 at  8 p.m..
 Princess Rules is the sequel to the award winning Princess show.

“We’ve toured Nova Scotia with it,but this will be the first time in Lethbridge. Which is nice because  the characters were created in Lethbridge  through Club Didi and Theatré Outré in 2916, said Collier from Halifax, who created the characters with Richie Wilcox.

Princess Rules is a new journey of Princess Edward where she takes her career to new heights no matter the cost. In Princess Rules this live action anime performance, Princess Edward reinvents her pop star persona and goes rogue to produce her new show. But when mysterious floating orbs threaten her career and even her life, she must learn how to listen to her true self before she loses everything.

“It’s a play, but it is entirely lip synched to live anime,” Collier said.
“Princess Edward is popular but wants to change her focus,” he continued.


SOAR features the magic of Jeff Newman Mentalism

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Two SOAR festival cabarets were sold out successes at Casa, May 30 and 31.

Each one featured the dance of Claire Lint, magic and music.Jeff n newman brought his new show Trickster to SOAR. Photo by Richard Amery
 I only caught Mentalist Jeff Newman‘s new act “Trickster” at the May 31 cabaret, having to go it in between play rehearsals.
 The always affable  Newman premiered the new show with his usual humour and a lot of crowd participation.

He got one audience member to look after a locked box throughout the show, then got other audience members to help with a variety of tricks including remembering a card without showing him, only to have it turn to a blank deck. It was strange as I was looking over the shoulder of one of the volunteers and saw the six of hearts, but was boggled by the deck turning blank after the volunteer tossed it back to him.

 He prefaced the next bit by talking about his ability to guess the contents of Christmas presents and about how his parents would just speak in German when they didn’t want him to know what they were talking about. 

Coninciding with that story, he performed another neat trick by hypnotizing another audience member into speaking German,which matched with German words written on flash cards which I couldn’t read from my spot at the back of the room.

He wound down his show by having yet another audience member guess which present contained either a plush green dragon, dog or cat. He had the audience member switch the critters and shuffle the boxes she put them into, and then take them out of their boxes and put  them into colourful gift bags behind a barrier, which he predicted on a birthday card he opened after the bit.

I had to leave before finding out what came of the locked box.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

LMT has more fun with nuns in Nunsense 2

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What’s more fun than nunsense? More nunsense. Christina Peterson and Jan Jelli rehearse for  Nunsense 2. Photo by Richard Amery
 Lethbridge Musical  Theatre continues the story of Sister Mary Amnesia, Sister Robert Anne, Sister Mary Leo and the  Mother Superior, who were forced to hold a fundraising concert to bury their dearly departed sisters who died from eating poisoned soup and who they couldn‘t afford to bury otherwise in the musical Nunsense.

Lethbridge Musical Theatre put on the original production in 2016 and return with the sequel Nunsense 2, June 14-16 at the McNally Community Centre.
 The sequel is a thank you concert for everybody who supported the nuns the first time, like in the original, everything that can go wrong does go wrong in the sequel — particularly revitalized Sister Amnesia, whose lottery winnings saved the day in the original, whose memory is slowly returning. This time she may be a Franciscan, she just forgot about it.
 Stephanie Savage is excited to make her musical debut in Nunsense 2 as novice nun Sister Mary Leo.

“I took drama in high school. I’ve never done a musical before, but I’ve always wanted to be in a musical. It’s interesting, but three of the five of us have never really done anything like this before. It’s been a lot to learn, but it is a lot of fun. We have a really dedicated cast,” said Savage, who is also stage managing Shakespeare in the Park’s  production of The Tempest, which opens June 28.

“Luckily I have a great assistant stage manager, Shelby Reed, for the Tempest. And Kate (Connelly, Shakespeare in the Park‘s artistic director,) has been really wonderful and amazing,” she continued, noting Nunsense 2 is a fundraiser for a bigger Lethbridge Musical production in the fall.
 She is enjoying playing Sister Mary Leo.
“It’s been a lot of work but a lot of fun. Sister Leo is the novice. She’s young and sweet and definitely wants to be a star,” she said. She is joined by Hannah Lawson as Sister Robert Anne, Jan Jelli as Sister Hubert, Christina Peterson as  the Reverend Mother and Monica Baczuk, the last nun standing from the last production, who played  the Reverend Mother in  the last production on Nunsense, but plays Sister Mary Amnesia in this production.


SOAR festival trimmed down, but features We Are All Treaty People

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A trimmed down SOAR festival kicks off a busy weekend of dance, magic and music  at Casa, May 30 and 31.

W.I.T.S Play the SOAR festival this year. photo by Richard Amery
There have been a few changes for  the fourth year of the event, the biggest changes being there are only two cabaret nights this year and the professional development seminars which used to be part of  SOAR have been spread  throughout the year instead just for one weekend.
“It’s difficult for people to book off an entire weekend,” said Allied Arts Council communications manager Kelaine Devine.

“SOAR started  because of the Lt. Governor‘s celebrations in 2015 on the condition that there would be a legacy project. So that’s what this is,” added Allied Arts Council projects/membership coordinator Muffy McKay.

“It has evolved into what it is— two cabaret nights,” McKay continued, adding art exhibits at Casa continue to be part of SOAR.

“I always look forward to seeing what Darcy Logan has done,” added Devine noting a community Gif display showing on the screen outside CASA is part of SOAR.
 There will be dance, music and magic on both nights of SOAR.

Claire Lint and Sidney Murdoch will be performing a modern dance  number  “When Two Lines Meet” beginning at 7 p.m. on both nights, May 30 and 31.

The cabarets feature new magic show from local magicians. Ben Price’s new show Rabbit Stew is at the SOAR Cabaret, May 30. Jeff Newman Mentalism presents his new show Trickster, May 31.

 The music this year will be provided by Mercedes Fawns on May 30 and local alternative electronica band W.I.T.S , who have been prominent faces at various FLIPfest fundraisers throughout the year, on May 31.

Ben Price Magic returns to the SOAR festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 Devine noted the events are family friendly.

“All of these performers have performed at previous SOAR cabarets, though Ben Price’s “Rabbit Stew” contains some adult content.
 SOAR is designed for developing up and coming  artists.

“Some previous performers like Jeff Charlton wanted to come back, but couldn’t because he got a job in film. Griffin Cork wanted to come back too, but he got a job in Vancouver  on a TV show,” said Devine, adding she is pleased to see previous SOAR performers moving on to bigger things in the arts, as developing up and coming artists by giving them opportunities to perform is what SOAR is all about.
“It’s been stripped down this year, but we’ve kept the same format,” Devine said.

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