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New West celebrates with style

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New West Theatre is  celebrating their twentieth anniversary in style with their new production “Celebration,” which runs until Aug. 29 at the Yates Theatre.
Jocelyn Haub and  Grahame Renyk. Photo By Richard Amery
It is a blast, an uptempo, a little bit raunchy but still family friendly  production full of classic songs, fabulous singing, and some gut-busting hilarious comedy bits. The sow features guys dressed as girls, guys dressed as cows and even featured performer Erica Hunt taking a turn on the drum kit.
 They get bonus points for performing  two songs by Ontario comedy troupe the Arrogant Worms — “I am Cow” which featured Grahame Renyk dressed as the cow and not liking the idea of being milked and a hillbilly version of the Worms” classic  “Happy Birthday” song.
But the show started with a grandiose version of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” which saw the cast going on stage through the crowd which was full of  people who came to the show from as far away as England and China. One of the guests ended up on stage doing sound effects during  a well done take -off on classic radio plays.

Summer fun filming a slasher flick

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What better way of whiling away warm summer days than trying to kill off all your friends? On film anyways.MARIE-HÉLEN LYLE AND SARAH CHRISTENSEN MUG FOR CAMERAMAN SPENCER HART. PHOTO BY RICHARD AMERY
For Lethbridge movie buffs Sarah Christensen and Clint Mattson of 5205 Studios, filming their first slasher flick is the perfect opportunity to do just that.
“Comedy and horror are what we consider to be our favourite genres,” Mattson said adding the new film based on a story written by Mike Goruk and turned into a screenplay by Brad Goruk, tentatively entitled “Rusty” is no exception.
It is being filmed this week on Mattson’s dad’s farm outside of Hays, east of Lethbridge.
“It’s a horror movie in the ilk of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre combined with a bit of crime drama plot twist,” producer Clint Mattson described.
“It’s about a group of six individuals who end up stranded on a deserted prairie farm and end up fighting for their lives,” added Sarah Christensen, who plays Hope, one of the first victims, wracking her brain for a description of the plot without playing spoiler.
“It’s a race for survival to see who will be left,” she added.
While rehearsals have been underway since the cast was chosen in May, the producers are busy running around tracking down things like costumes and special effects.
“I’m so excited about it,” Christensen enthused.

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.”

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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