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Comic Strippers bringing back more Chips and a lot of laughs to Yates

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There is something inherently funny about male strippers. So Vancouver based improv comic Roman Danylo is excited to share the laughter when he brings the Comic Strippers back to the Yates Theatre for the third time, Sept. 9.

The Comic Strippers (L-R) Ken Lawson, Chris Casillan, Roman Danylo, David Milchard. Photo Submitted
“This will be our third time. We love that theatre. It’s a great space. It’s perfect for our show,” Danylo said, noting audiences will see an entirely new show.

“We’ve added another man, so it will  be 20 per cent more chips  so that makes it more fun,” chuckled Danylo about adding Micheal Teigen to the fold which includes Danylo, Ken Lawson, Chris Casillan and David Milchard. They have a rotating cast throughout  the year as they tour three to six months of the year.

 Danylo learned his improv chops at the Loose Moose Theatre in Calgary, so he is always excited to return to Alberta, especially when he has a new show.

 As the Comic Strippers are an improvised show based on what happens when “over-the-hill” male strippers decide to do what to do with their lives, it is always a new show, but they have  something special planned for this one.

“We have new choreography, new lip synching and we’re even doing an original song,” he said, adding the Comic Strippers is a variety show based on the theme of male strippers in “comic bodies” and built on suggestions from the audience.

“We’re all in our late 40’s now, so there is a lot of stretching before shows and a lot of ice on our knees afterwards. It also inspires us to get in shape, though not too much because our comic bodies are a big part of the humour. Being in shape isn’t a prerequisite. The more comedic the body is, the more laughs you are going to get,” he said.

“The concept of the show is still the same though. We’re a group of fake male strippers who have perhaps stripping far too long and need to find alternatives because we’re getting a bit too old, but we dance as sexy as we can,” he said.
 “Our comedy bodies will make you look good,” he promised.


Second Annual Lethbridge Fringe Festival features local acts

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 The second Lethbridge Fringe festival is set to go, Sept. 15–18.David Gabert will be performing in the Lethbridge Fringe Festival in No Way Out with  Theatre Outré. Photo by Richard Amery
“We have seven really different shows happening at Casa, Theatre Outre and the Gate,” said organizer Michele Gallant.

 She noted the shows were not curated. Shows were chosen through a random draw from over a dozen applicants including submissions from San Francisco and Brooklyn.
There are two local productions. Lethbridge stand -up comedian Mavic Adecer will be performing “Enlightened Swinger”  and Theatre Outré will be performing “No Way Out.”
Several female oriented works are also on the bill including Wendy Froberg’s “ Archetype,”  Judith Belle’s mime act “Belle Paris,” “ Commencing,”  “No Allegiances,” and “Nothing is Enough.”
“Wendy Froberg is from Calgary and her piece is really comedic.

 She noted the The Lethbridge Fringe Festival is part of the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals, which is part of a bigger organizations of Fringe festivals which is why they are getting applicants from the United States.
“There are 28 members from all over the U.S. like Orlando, San Diego and San Francisco. The producers get together every year and discuss what worked and what didn’t,” she said.
“ The festival isn’t curated. There are only two rules- be upfront about what their show is about so the audiences know what to expect and don’t break the law, other than that, anything goes,” she said.
“And 100 percent of the ticket sales go to the artists.”

Tickets for the Fringe just went on sale online and tickets for individual shows and $55 festival passes, which allows admission to all seven shows, will be available at Casa when the Fringe begins.

“The festival pass is new this year. It will be a business card which has all seven shows on it and you get them checked off when you attend,” she said.
“I’m excited for year two,” she said.

Theatre Outre is excited to be part of the Lethbridge Festival with “No Way Out”- an a hour long improvised show about siblings attending a family gathering.

“That was the one thing we could all agree on that there was no way out of,” said Club Didi/ Theatre Outre artistic director David Gabert, who will be joined on stage by Drama Nutz and Theatre Outre veterans Erica Barr, Greg Wilson, Connor Christmas, Camille Pavlenko and Brandon Eyck.
He said there will be four performers for each performance, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m., Sept. 16 at 6 p.m., Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.

“We have a group of siblings trapped at an obligatory family gathering, which is something there is no way out of. All we know is we are siblings. It is about the stories that enrich the characters which is what we’re putting on stage,” he said.
“It is a character study about what makes people tick,” he continued.


New West Theatre makes summer hot with Heatwave

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Even on a rainy night, New West Theatre heats things up with their latest summer production of “Heatwave,” which runs at the Yates Theatre until Aug. 27.AJ Baragar and Erica Hunt  in Heatwave. Photo by Richard Amery
As expected, it is a sunny, happy show, well suited for the summer season, so the majority of the music and humour have a summer theme.

 So they open with a hot version of  Lighthouse’s 1972 hit Sunny Days,” and follow it up with the show‘s namesake.
It is also is a step in a slightly different, more youthful direction, which not only showcases some of the newer and younger members of the cast including AJ Baragar and Alex Elser and Tenaj Williams and  the comedic chops of natural clown Camille Pavlenko as well as veterans Erica Hunt, Kathy Zaborsky and Kyle Gruninger.

Camille Pavlenko in New West’s production of Heatwave. Photo by Richard Amery
The comedy and some of the musical choices are targeted at a younger audience as well. So the cast play a lot with computer themed comedy including a bit about making a computer password, online dating, Pokemon Go and hipsters.
  Erica Hunt and AJ Baragar play a hilarious recurring bit, playing grandparents calling grand-daughter Camille Pavlenko about the definition of hipster and what, exactly Pokemon Go is.

 The newcomers also take centre stage in the music numbers, with Alexa Elser and Tenaj  Williams singing most of the solo numbers. Surprisingly vocal director Kathy Zaborsky doesn’t sing lead in many of the numbers. She stars in a pun filled comedy bit about going through a box of childhood treasures with Erica Hunt, which culminates on the “Hawaii 5-0” theme.



New West supplies the soundtrack to a summer “Heatwave”

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 Kyle Gruninger  rehearses “Sunny Days” with New West Theatre. Photo by Richard AmeryNew West Theatre is heating things up for summer with their new show “Heatwave,” which runs Aug. 2-27 at the Yates Theatre.

“Even if it isn’t a heatwave outside, it will be a heatwave in here,” promised Kyle Gruninger returning to New West Theatre for his  thirteenth season.
“My first New West show was when I was 18 and now I’m 32. I’m the oldest guy in the cast,” he observed.

 The show is designed as a soundtrack to your summer fun, including the usual crop of classic rock and pop plus more contemporary music and brand new comedy.

“Heatwave” also includes some new faces like AJ Baragar, who, in addition to performing with New West’s July production of “Jukebox,” as well as  in the U of L’s November production of Carrie has also performed in Shakespeare in the Park.
“I love all of it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s great to get paid to do what you love to do, said Baragar.

“This has been quite different. In Carrie there was a lot of singing and dancing. But this is different. This is a lot more fun and airy than the other things I‘ve done, he said.

“And I‘ve learned a lot about singing with a band and singing with a handheld microphone,” Baragar enthused, who performs with his own band and has released a few albums with them.
 Kyle Gruninger, who also fronts his own band Incura, just finished  a six month  gig performing on cruise ships.

“I got to see a lot of cool places, but New West is a lot more fun. The people are friendlier, ” he said, adding he prefers playing with  the live band with New West rather with canned music as was often the case on the cruise ships.
“The music is the soundtrack to summer  when you’re going to barbecues and chillaxing with friends,” he said, adding he is enjoying being part of  an April Wine medley, the guys will be performing.

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