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Hatrix holding auditions for A Comedy of Tenors next week

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Hatrix theatre  is excited to present a new Ken Ludwig comedy “A Comedy of Tenors, May 24-26 at the Eagles Hall. And they are hoping you will join them on stage.
 So get to auditions at Casa, Jan. 23  from 7-9 p.m.


 The 2015 play is the unofficial sequel to Ludwig’s hit comedy  “Lend me a Tenor,” which features a few of the same characters including dogsbody Max, who has become a famous tenor himself in the ensuing 10 years since  the antics of Lend Me  A Tenor. So his his neurotic mentor and boss Saunders.


And famous tenor Tito Morelli and his ever feuding wife  Maria return also.


 This time you get to meet Tito’s doppleganger.
“ Ken Ludwig combines his love of Shakespeare and opera in A Comedy of Tenors,” observed director Karolyn Harker, noting you don’t need to know anything about either one of them to audition for the show. You don’t even need to know how to sing.
“We’ll probably order a tape, but if you can, that would be great. But we don’t want that to stop you from auditioning,” Harker continued.

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Yates renovations force local theatre groups to improvise with weird spaces

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 Theatre can happen anywhere, and in part, due to the closure of the Yates Theatre for renovations last year, it has as local theatre and arts groups have been performing anywhere they are able to.
 Due to asbestos, the re-opening  of the Yates Centre has been tentatively postponed to July.


“We usually have a main stage production in February, so when the Yates closed, it was challenging,” said Playgoers of Lethbridge board president Elaine Jagielski, who is also directing their upcoming dinner theatre of the British comedy “ Beyond a Joke.”
“We Playgoers of Lethbridge rehearses for their play “Beyond a Joke” in an upstairs room at the Southminster United Church. Photo by Richard Ameryalways do well with dinner theatres,” Jagielski observed, noting usually they do a main stage production in February, but had to re-evaluate their plans as a result of the Yates Theatre closure.
The Derek Benfield penned British comedy “ Beyond a Joke,” runs Feb. 7-10 at the Italian Canadian Club featuring actors Rob Berezay, Jocelyn Steinborn, Aaron Tyslan, Stephanie Wickham, Kevin Reddyk, Marcie Stork and Howard Pearson.


Jagielski emphasized the biggest problem community theatre groups face is finding a place to rehearse and perform that is affordable and will welcome them in.
“It has been challenging to find alternate places to perform,” she said, noting there is such a demand for performing spaces apart from theatre group, that there is a lot of competition to  get into a space.
She noted Playgoers approached numerous venues for their upcoming production.


 “We looked into the College Drive Community Church and  the French Canadian centre, who have a nice stage, but it wouldn’t have worked for a dinner theatre. We even looked at the Gem of the West Museum in Coaldale, but there is an open space in the middle of it and there are pillars in the way. We even looked at the community hall in Diamond City, but we weren’t sure if people would be willing to drive that far,” she said.


“There’s a lot of interesting spaces, but it is challenging trying to find one that is cost effective and aren’t booked up. All of the spaces are booked up,” she said.
 They are rehearsing for “Beyond a Joke” at Southminster United Church.


“We have a relationship with them and we’ve had people who are involved with our plays who are also involved with the church,” she said, adding she is appreciative of their support for Playgoers.


LCI usually has a main stage production, however, they decided to use their own theatre instead for their December production of “Anne of Green Gables.”
Frewin noted putting on the musical has been a challenge.
“We’re working with a smaller stage than we’re used to, especially for a musical,” said drama teacher Kelly Frewin, noting they put on a musical every three years or so.
While Hatrix Theatre isn’t affected by the closure of the Yates, they still use alternate spaces for their productions. They have been using the Moose Hall for productions like “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Avenue Q” to name a few, though they put on Spamalot in the Yates.
 

The other arm of Hatrix, has used the Nord bridge Seniors Centre for their past two productions of “12 Angry Jurors” and “the Game’s Afoot: Holmes for the Holidays.”


 Utilizing a space which is already used by other community organizations and events presents its own unique set of technical problems.
“You still need to find a place to meet. And for the show, you need to think of audience visibility,” said Hatrix Theatre’s Karolyn Harker.


“You have two choices, you have to either raise the audience or raise the stage. And if it is used for other events, you have to tear it all down,” she continued, adding lights also have to be moved at the end of the show.
“When there’s no fixed lights, they have to be changed each night too. And there’s no backstage area,” she said.


 “That limits the director’s choices unless there is a space you can lead actors off into a separate room. That’s why I chose 12 Angry Jurors. The actors were on stage all the time and there was consistent lighting with no special effects,” she continued, adding she enjoyed working with Nord Bridge using their space when nobody else was using it.


 She is planning a May production of Ken Ludwig’s “ A Comedy of Tenors,” which features some of the same characters, though it isn’t a sequel. It will be a location to be determined.
New West Theatre was probably the theatre group most affected by the Yates closure, so ended up having shows at an assortment of various locations all over the city.
“We chose  plays based on the spaces we expected to be in. So a lot of extra time went into planning,” said New West Theatre General manger Derek Stevenson. They utilized the Trianon Art Gallery for “Vigil,” which was a collaboration with Club Didi, held a Christmas show at The multicultural Centre downtown, Chinook High School for their big annual winter musical revue of “Starlight” and used the Casa community room for their theatre for young people’s production of “Hansel and Gretel.” They will be in the University Theatre for “Ms. Sugarcube,” their final production of the season, Feb. 21-24.


“The Trianon was a perfect match for the Vigil,” Stevenson said, noting who you know is an important part of being able to get access unusual spaces.
“Sharon Peat (New West Artistic Director) is really good friends with the Savilles who own the the Trianon,” observed Theatre Outré general manager Jay Whitehead.
“And it’s an art gallery, so we had to move in seating and lighting and black out the windows, because there were a lot of blackouts in the play. We were set up for two weeks. They were very generous,” Whitehead said.
“It takes place in the attic of an old house, so the space really suited the play,” Whitehead said.


“When we‘re paying professional actors, we’re hoping at the very least to break even,” Stevenson said.
“We also had to think about parking and audience accessibility, especially because the audience for the musical comedy revue are elderly,” Stevenson said, adding they had to do a lot of organizing in a short time, with three of their shows this season happening  within a month.
“They were  bam, bam, bam, one right after the other, which was also difficult for people like Erica (Hunt) and Kathy (Zaborsky,) who were involved in all three of them.

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Cast has lots of fun with Hansel and Gretel

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ICamille Pavlenko and Kelly Malcolm rehearse for New West Theatre’sproduction of hansel and Gretel. Photo by Richard Amery f your kids are getting antsy, or maybe you just want to get out and do something frantic and fun, check out the matinee of New West Theatre’s Theatre for Young People’s production of Hansel and Gretel running at Casa at 1 p.m. until Jan. 6.
 Director Sharon Peat penned the hour long adaptation of popular children’s tale Hansel and Gretel.


It features energetic cast members Kelly Malcolm, Ryan Reese and Camille Pavlenko playing an array of different characters using a variety of different accents as the kids (Ryan Reese and Camille Pavlenko) act out the story with their babysitter (Kelly Malcolm).


 As always there is crowd participation as the audience is asked to “act like water” to scare away trolls chasing the Hansel and Gretel, a fun device that could be used a little more often.

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New West Theatre remembers new and old favourites in Starlight

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New West Theatre is on the road— to the west side at Chinook high School as they visit some of their greatest hits while adding a few new numbers courtesy of a multi-talented cast with their revue show Starlight, which runs until Jan. 6.Ashley Thomson and Kyle Gruninger performing in New West’s production of Starlight. Photo by Richard Amery
 The talented cast embraced a strange and new space and made full use of a multi level stage set up featuring numerous stars and outcroppings. Throughout, they dashed all over the set for various comedy bits as well as dance choreography.


The show starts strong with a group number “Heart of Rock and Roll.”  featuring cast member Rylan Kunkel playing a hot saxophone solo what would do Huey Lewis and the News proud. An up tempo treat was getting to hear AJ Baragar play his original band “Cool It,” backed by the cast and New west Theatre’s crack band.


 Rylan Kunkel got to take centre stage with his ukulele to perform “Love Like you,” from Rebecca Sugar’s cartoon “Steven Universe.”


 Newcomer Ashley Thomson (Though she performed years ago with new West)did her best Grace Slick impersonation  for a powerful version of “ White Rabbit,” as the cast strutted/ marched behind her.


 Because  the show is named Starlight,” there were  special guest performers. Kathy Zaborsky , dressed in leather pants and a big, black Joan Jett wig belted out “ I Love Rock and Roll” and because long time cast member Scott Carpenter directed this production, there was plenty of goofy humour.
 They brought back one of my favourite  comedy bits in where Scott Carpenter and A.
Ashley Thomson mix up the instructional CDs for  yoga and  for building a chair, which gave Carpenter a chance to shine, showing his expressive visage as he did yoga to the wrong instructions.

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