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Comedy a highlight of Glitz

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New West Theatre is getting ready to get Glitzed, Dec. 16. As is most of the December productions, Glitz is somewhat of a greatest hits show, but the comedy makes it stand out.
Popular performer Mark Nivet returned from Toronto to be part of Glitz and is looking forward to it.
“It really is a good, solid cast. Everyone works really well together,” he continued adding it has also been  a lot of work.
“We’re keeping it to under two hours, but we had a sound check today and I was singing for about eight hours straight, ” he continued during a quick break from rehearsals.Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt, Jay Whitehead and Jocelyn Haub pore over a script. Photo by Richard Amery
While he is best known for his impressive singing voice, he also gets to try his hand at Glitz’s comedy.
“The show showcases everybody. We all contribute, so if I feel I can contribute somehting, I’ll say it,” said Nivet, who is enjoying his fifth year and about fifteenth show with New West.

“They’re doing a movie montage, so the band is playing movie themes while Scott Carpenter is re-enacting some of the scenes. So I said I could take off my shirt and just be ET, and everybody just lost it. So it’s nice some of my things get in the show,” he said adding he is looking forward to opening night.

“I’m just looking forward to performing with my friends. Every time I come here, I grow as a performer and an actor. It’s a lot of hard work, but there’s nothing I’d want to do,” he said.

“We combine  some audience favourites from the past  years with some exciting new surprises,” said director Nicholas Hanson.

“ So we have a pretty focused rehearsal process,” he continued adding the show includes audience favourites from  the likes of the Guess Who,  Simon and Garfunkle and Fleetwood Mac as well as more contemporary material and a cast of eight familiar faces including Scott Carpenter, Jocelyn Haub, Erica Hunt, Jessica Ens and Kathy Zaborsky as well as returning faces like Mark Nivet and  faces from the past like Jay Whitehead and  Peter Monaghan.

“It ’s hard to explain, but we realize how many families and groups of friends have made New West part of their December traditions, so we want to make the December production as vibrant as possible and appeal to a  broad range of audiences,” he continued adding one big tradition is the New Year’s Eve champagne show, in which  the community rings in the new year by taking in the how and celebrating with champagne during the intermission.

 While the songs are well worn favourites, the comedy is brand new, so New West contracted out the writing to some of the eight cast members.
“The comedy has never been seen before, so we contract some of it to the actors to write sketches. But 80 per cent of our ideas never hit the stage. I have to make sure that they get framed by a clear set up and  a clear moment of laughter,” Hanson said.

“I also have to create an order for the songs and the comedy so we can maximize the laughter and leave enough time for people to change costumes as fast as possible,” Hanson continued.

“ Erica and Scott are the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life, so a lot of  the comedy comes from throwing ideas back and forth,” said Jocelyn Haub, taking a quick break from helping write some of the comedy with  some of the other cast members in the foyer of the Sterndale Bennett Theatre. She cited the GPS bit from the past summer’s show as an example of something that came out that way.

“ That was Grahame (Renyk) and Erica talking back and forth,” Haub continued, who will be in her sixth New West show with Glitz.

“Myself, personally, I find I’m better when I’m given a script and I can add funny lines to it. But Erica, Scott and Jay are great at coming up with lines that are funny and interesting,” said Haub, who is known for playing the straight woman in New West’s news spoof bits.
“It’s tough keeping a completely straight face while relying on the comedy of the lines to appeal to the audience,” she said.
“I think it’s hilarious to hear a completely ridiculous line delivered with a completely straight face,” she continued adding she is looking forward to this show.

“I love seeing the people in the crowd react to these performances,” she said.
“ I know it sounds superficial, but every pop artist uses glittery microphones, so Nick ordered some because he saw them on TV. I’m lucky that they get to be in my number,” she laughed.
“I feel like a lucky girl for all the opportunities I’ve been given to work with these people.”
Glitz runs Dec. 17-31 every night except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The show is at 8 p.m. each night with 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances on Dec. 31.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
A version of this story also appears in the Dec. 15 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
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