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L.A. Beat

Old New West back to help seniors centres

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The first time was great, but the second will be even better for “Old West”  Favourites (2).

Old is new again  for  former  and current members of New West Theatre, who are resurrecting their favourite numbers from years gone by this week. Last year‘s two show fundraiser for the  Nord Bridge Seniors Centre and  the Lethbridge Senior Citizen’s Organizat

Old West cast. Photo by Richard Amery


ion featuring  numerous New West Theatre veterans performing “old favourites” from the early days of the popular local theatre group, was so popular that they decided to do it again with a  third show.
“It’s more of the same as last year’s show, but  it’s a different show,  said performer Jeff Carlson of this year’s shows, which take place in the Yates Centre, Feb. 25  at 8 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

“We sold out both performances last year, so when organizers contacted us, the original plan was to do the  same show as last year, but we got together and decided to put together a completely new show,” Carlson continued adding other than the opening number and  “River Deep, Mountain High”  and a “a fun little piece called “Comedy Tonight” plus two new improv bits, the show consists of new material drawn from the old days.
“I’m just enjoying rehearsing with these guys again,” said performer Arlene Bedster, who was with New West Theatre from 1991-2006. She is looking forward to performing “Queen of Hearts.”

“It’s been very natural. And it’s very fun as an entertainer knowing the audience is out there,” she continued.

“Between  myself and Kelly Roberts, we have over 50 years experience. Kelly started in 84-85  and I started 85-86,” Carlson said adding the rest of the cast, Erica Hunt, Scott Carpenter, Arlene Bedster, Jordana Kohn and Andre Royer have just as much experience  and so they have a treasure trove of material to  dig up for the show.

Roberts is enjoying performing with the group again and is looking forward to supporting the Lethbridge Senior’s Centre Organization and Nord -Bridge Senior’s Centre.
“It’s come together very well,” said Roberts who was in Great West Theatre from 1985-98 and New West from 1990-99.
“I’m not too far away  from being there,” laughed Roberts.
 “There is a lot of support for it. It’s a great cause,” he said.

 Scott Carpenter, who has been a member of new West Theatre since 1992, is looking forward to  performing “Sounds of Silence,” with Jeff Carlson.
“Last year  we made $20,000 ( for the Lethbridge Senior’s Centre Organization and Nord -Bridge Senior’s Centre.) And we’re hoping to blow that out of the water this year,” Carpenter continued.

“Roy Orbison is back for one night only,  and while it is called “Old West,” we named it as a joke because we all worked with Great West Theatre, then New West Theatre and we’re all growing older,” Carlson laughed adding the only ‘western’ songs in the show are “ The Race is On” and “Queen of Hearts.”
“We have a lot of stuff from over the years from New West Theatre, so we have one from 1985 and a  whole bunch from the late ’80s and early ’90s.

“If you loved and laughed  with us, this show will be  music and comedy people haven’t seen for 10-15 years. It is nostalgia,” he said adding there will be some ABBA, Neil Diamond, Simon and Garfunkel and a lot more.
“ There are a couple comedy numbers like  The Rattlin’ Bog, an east coast song that we do at 4,0000 km per hour,” he enthused adding the set is constantly changing.

“We’ve actively rehearsed for this show mare than we did last year. It’s coming together really well. After three rehearsals, the music was almost there. We learned two new songs yesterday (Sunday night) and they got them immediately. But that’s what happens. We’re cozy, friends and almost like family. And they’re so damned professional,” Carlson enthused adding he is looking forward to the show.
“ For something big, like  a fundraiser like this, we wanted to go with material we knew would hit rather than try out new material. Except for the improv, because you never know what will happen with improv,” he said.

The Lethbridge Senior’s Centre couldn’t be happier to see   “Old West” West Favourites coming back for a second round.
“We sold out both shows last year, so we decided to add a third show and take advantage of  the popularity. We’re  hoping to make it an annual event,” said Marcie Stork, volunteer co-ordinator of Fund development for  the Lethbridge Senior’s Centre organization.

“So we asked Jeff Carlson to bring a crew together. We’re already half sold out and we have two weeks to go,” she said,  Feb. 10.
“And we have two weeks to go. So we’re excited about it,” she said these shows are an important to both organizations as they keep the doors open and allow them to keep providing programming for seniors 55 and up.
“Last year was so wonderful. They are so talented,” Stork gushed.
“And it’s going to be completely different,” she said.
Tickets are $35 for the evening performances and $30 for the matinee on Saturday, Feb. 26.
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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