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New West has something to “Celebrate.”

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New West Theatre is celebrating 20 seasons performing in Lethbridge with a “Celebration” which lasts throughout August.
Erica Hunt and Duff Macdonad  and New West Theatre’s cast and crew are enjoying an August “Celebration.” Photo by Richard Amery
“Celebration is a broader selection of pop and rock music, that’s a little more high energy, with pretty much the same cast and more vibrant choreography and lighting and antics,” director Nicholas Hanson said, comparing it to “Soundtrack.” The cast of “Celebration,” includes the same members as the July production of “Soundtrack,” with one exception — New West Theatre veteran David Barrus joins the cast , replacing Scott Carpenter who was unable to be in this production.
“He’s  (David Barrus) a long time New West performer and audience favourite,” Hanson enthused.
While New West was considering concentrating on just the music from 20 years ago when they started, they decided to expand their musical horizons to include  selections like “Total Eclipse of the Heart,”, “the Boxer,” “Cecilia,” several Fleetwood Mac hits, a lot of Guess Who hits, more modern hits like “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and of course “Celebration.”
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New West celebrates “Soundtrack” to summer

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New West Theatre is celebrating the “Soundtrack” to summer this week, with their new show, running until July 25 at the Yates Theatre.

“Soundtrack features some favourite songs made famous in film over the past 50 years.

“It’s an original production of songs from films. But we’ve created an original show concept connecting the songs with original pieces of comedy,” said director Nicholas Hanson, emphasizing the song choices were based on movies which provided nostalgic memories for a wide variety of audiences.

“We focused on songs from famous movies. We started with 500-600 of them and we narrowed the list down to create a good balance of songs that the audience would recognize,” he continued adding there are also a few surprises thrown into the show as well.

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Wonderful “Soundtrack” to Summer

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I was very impressed by “Soundtrack,” my very first New West Theatre production, which I saw Thursday night at the Yates Theatre.

An outstanding cast including an effervescent, scene stealing Erica Hunt, the captivating Kathy Zaborsky and a superb Scott Carpenter, worked their way through some beloved movie hits including  “Man in Motion” from St. Elmo’s Fire which opened the show. 

Original comedy sketches were interspersed between hits like “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “Flashdance,”,“Maniac” and  the “Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life performed by Grahame Renyk who bore an uncanny resemblance to Eric Idle.

 They included a take off on award shows, and one of my favourites featured kilt-spoting Erica Hunt and a bare belly bearing Scott Carpenter as two Scottish movie critic, borrowing  Saturday NIght Live’s Mike Myers’ line “If it’s not Scottish it’s crap.”

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Big River Auditions this week

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If you want to join the Lethbridge Musical Theatre’s November production of Tony Award winning musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, June 13 is your last chance to audition.

At least 30 people are needed to fill a variety of onstage roles.

Participants are required to prepare singing notes and piano notes for a verse and chorus of one song for the accompanist to play. As well they need to familiarize themselves with one of the monologues available online at http://www.lethbridgemusicaltheatre.ca/auditions. Organizers request no karaoke or a cappella performances. If you are unable to make the audition, the director can be contacted through the website as well.

Auditions take place, June 13 from 10 a.m.-noon at Joys Dance Factory, 243 12C Street North. Time commitments for the production vary according to the character. The production takes place Nov. 6-21at the Yates Memorial Theatre.

— Richard Amery, L.A. Beat

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