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New West rocking the Jukebox this summer

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New West Theatre rocks the Jukebox — Lethbridge style June 27-July 16  at the Yates Theatre.

Their first musical comedy revue “Jukebox”  of the summer has a new, fresh, local look to it.

 In addition to having an all local cast, “Jukebox” is going to take a look back at Lethbridge itself in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70, focussing on music playing in jukeboxes installed in Lethbridge locations during those years.
 The cast features several new faces to New West, though they are familiar faces on the Lethbridge drama scene.

“We’ve borrowed most of the cast of Carrie,” Shelby Wilson and Tom Delbello rehearse the Hippy Hippy Shake in Jukebox. Photo by Richard Amerychuckled New West general manager Derek Stevenson, noting Alexa Elser and Tom Delbello who made their New West debuts last summer as well as newcomer Shelby Wilson were part of last November’s U of L production of “Carrie: The Musical.”

They join newcomer AJ Baragar, who has been a prominent face with Shakespeare in the Park and veterans Scott Carpenter, Kelly Roberts and Erica Hunt. Sophia Makela joins them for the July 16 performances.
New West Artistic director Sharon Peat is excited to direct her first New West musical revue, though she has directed musicals before and directed one of New West’s Canadian plays several years ago.
“I’m having a lot of fun with the process,” said Peat before a rehearsal at the Lethbridge Curling Club.

 A talented band including keyboardist Bente Hansen, guitarist Scott Mezei, bassist/guitarist Greg Paskuski and drummer/ musical director Paul Walker, will be backing the performers.
“The process has been amazing,” Peat said.

“And working with the new people has been very enjoyable,” she said, praising the cast and crew bringing Jukebox to life.

“It’s really interesting. We‘re looking at the different jukeboxes in Lethbridge which all had different music,” she said, adding she drew on her own experiences for some of those memories.
 “We wanted to keep it as local as possible. We’re exploring the era of vinyl. All of the music is from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. After that there were 8- tracks and then cassette tapes and then CDs. I remember putting your quarter in to hear your song and everyone else would pick the same song, so you’d hear the same song like 14 times,” she chuckled.

“ It’s a pretty cool look at local jukeboxes from truck stops to diners. So there‘s doo wop and country music and some good comedy,” she enthused.
“It will be a good time for people who know New West and for people who are new to New West.”

 Derek Stevenson is excited to give some new faces exposure with New West.


“Sharon and I are excited about the direction of the company. We really wanted to honour the past and local history,” he said, noting Aaron Collier has interesting projections for the show. New West veteran Kathy Zaborsky in handling vocal direction duties again and Clair Lint is  doing the choreography for the show.

“And the set will blow you away,” he continued.
Shelby Wilson, who not only was part of Carrie; the Musical and the Caucasian Chalk Circle, but is also part of local jazz rock band the Groove Apostles, is excited to be part of Jukebox.New West Theatre is excited to bring Jukebox to the Yates Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
“I’m very excited about it. I was a little bit nervous because it is my first professional theatre gig and it’s the longest run of  show I’ve done — three weeks, but everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. It’s been great,” Wilson said, adding she is excited to sing a doo wop medley.
“ I sing with the Groove Apostles and we do our own twist on old style music, so this has been a nice transition,” she continued.

 Tom Delbello is excited to be part of his fourth New West show in a row.
“ It will be your last chance to see Tom for a while,” Stevenson said.
“Because he’s going to  get his MFA in directing at Texas State University,” he continued.
“ I’m excited about this complex pentatonic a cappella number. It’s challenging,” Delbello said, adding he also is looking forward to the comedy which will include a lot of Lethbridge pop culture references from the ’50s to the ’70s.

“I can’t wait for people to hear Shelby sing. And there are lots of references to what was pop culture back then,” he said.
“It will be very relatable to Lethbridge audiences,” Wilson added.
“We want people to have a good time. That’s our goal — to connect with the audiences and build a relationship with them,” Delbello said.
“ We’re here  to bring joy so  there will be lots of laughter,” he said.

 Jukebox runs at the Yates Theatre, June 27-July 16 at 7:30 p.m. June 27-30, July 2 and July 5-9 and July 12-16.
 There are also matinees at 1 p.m., July 9 and 16.

A version of this story appears in the June 22,2016 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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