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Carnival of laughter and music

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If you’ve been on a cruise or at an all inclusive resort and taken in some of the night time entertainment, you’ll get an idea of New West Theatre’s high energy, heavily choreographed performances  which feature songs, dance and comedy. The latest, Carnival, which opened Dec. 26 at the Yates Theatre, more prominently  features their original comedy sketches, but also incorporates more comedy into the actual mErica Hunt and Scott Mezei during Carnival. Photo by Richard Ameryusical performances.
Opening night began with “shush” booming through the packed Yates, so the audience knew to expect a night of light hearted fun.
 It began with a spine tingling version of Journey’s “Anyway You Want It,” performed  rock opera style by the entire cast but with Mark Nivet handling most of Steve Perry’s high notes.
 As always, personable MCs Erica Hunt and Grahame Renyk did their talk to the audience bit and learned there were people from New York  and Whitehorse in the audience who were visiting for the holidays. They said there would be  selections for popular previous shows, ‘Cutting Out’ and ‘Invasion’ which prepared the audience for a lot of Beatles hits as well as a hilarious version of  “I am King Henry the VIII I Am,” by newcomer  Steven Greenfield. It’s always fun when they do Arrogant Worms’ songs and their version of “Worst Seat on the Plane,” was an excellent example of incorporating the comedy within the songs.
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It’s Munsch time for New West

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It’s Munsch time  once again at New West Theatre, Dec. 26- Jan.9 in the Sterndale Bennett. A hot young, enthusiastic cast including  Camille Pavlenko, Neil LeGrander, Willie Banfield and newcomer Meghan Porteous Meghan Porteous and Willy Banfield in Munsch’s ‘Something Good.’ Photo by Richard Amerywill be performing six stories by celebrated children’s author Robert Munsch. Though Munsch writes children’s stories, everyone will enjoy this show. “Anyone can identify with them,” said director Andy Jenkins. “It’s six totally new  stories which have never been presented for a Lethbridge audience,” he continued. The stories will be ‘Something Good,’ ’David’s Father,’ ,‘Purple, Green and Yellow,’ ‘Thomas’ Snowsuit,” and “ Jonathan Cleaned Up.”
“We found a wonderful adaptation of the stories,” he continued adding last year’s  production of  ‘The Paper Bag Princess’ was so successful that New West wanted to do more Munsch but also  they wanted to choose new and different stories.

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New West puts on a Carnival of fun

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In the dead of winter, even in Lethbridge where winter really isn’t that bad when you compare it to other places, it is only natural to want to escape the cold — to take a vacation. Maybe to Carnival. If you can’t get away, New West Theatre‘s latest production of Carnival, which runsMark Nivet and Erica Hunt enjoy Carnival. Photo by Richard Amery Dec. 26-Jan. 9 at the Yates Theatre, is the next best thing. As per usual it is 90 minutes of high energy popular hits, carefully choreographed dance numbers and some vacation themed comedy.
“It’s going to  be an exciting uptempo show with a lot of popular favourites,” said director Nicholas Hanson, as the cast ran through an exuberant rendition of Journey’s ‘Anyway You Want it.’
“Generally  the nature of the comedy is focused on travel, vacations and escaping from Lethbridge cold,” he continued adding the music includes everything from  classic  rock like the Beatles to more modern rock and pop.
“It’s a great mix of  big rock songs and some lovely ballads and a number of musical surprises,” Hanson grinned, refusing to tip his hand about the nature of the surprises.
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New West melts hearts with Christmas spirit

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If  Christmas cheer could melt  ice and snow off winter roads as well as it could melt an old Grinch’s heart, New West Theatre could make a fortune.
According to me,  anytime before Dec. 24 is too early to celebrate Christmas, but ‘Christmas Melodies,’ happening  Dec. 1-5 at  the  Dec. 1-5 run  at College Drive Community Church (2710 College Drive South), was almost enough to make me change my mind. Scott Walker, Erica Hunt, Mark Nivet and Kathy Zaborsky reheaerse. Photo By Richard Amery
 Backed by the Lethbridge Big Band, a 20 member orchestra  Erica Hunt, Mark Nivet, Kathy Zaborsky, Scott Carpenter and Big Band singer George Gallant, all took turns taking solos and turning heads.
The orchestra included including the Herb Hicks Jazz trio and New West Theatre music director Paul Walker.
The cast, the girls dressed in red dresses and the guys in black tuxedos supplied beaming smiles, jokes and hair-raising vocal harmonies.
 Some highlights were Mark Nivet’s high notes on “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which included a strong R and B feel. And Erica  Hunt brought a sexy vamp to “Santa Baby.” George Gallant’s version of “Christmas Blues” was moving and one example of the singers being drowned out by the band.
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