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Lethbridge Musical Theatre returns with massive production of Newsies

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Lethbridge Musical Theatre is back after a five year hiatus with a massive collaborative production of Newsies, happening at the Yates Theatre, Nov. 1-9.Ainsley DeBoer, Brooklyn Stuckart and Alina Kuk rehearse a scene from Newsies. photo by Richard Amery
Lethbridge  Musical Theatre teamed up with Chinook High School students and their teacher Dave Mikuliak, who directs the 60-member cast.

“It’s a massive production. It’s a large show. It has big energy, And it’s a joyful show, so if you want to be entertained, come to the Yates Theatre. Because we‘d love you to see Newsies,” Mikuliak said.

Newsies allows the actors to really explore all three of the triple threat skills — singing, acting, and especially dancing.

 He got the students to rehearse as part of their classes. Mikuliak chose his cast after auditions in June. He is especially pleased with how well it has come together.
“ It’s gone really well. Everyone has really gelled,” he said adding the 30 students have been working well with the 30 community members.

“They’ve really learned a lot. It’s been really reciprocal between my students and the more experienced community members. It’s really been inspiring,” he enthused. He has a long history of working with Lethbridge Musical Theatre going back to 1989, so he is excited to bring Newsies back as a LMT production.

 Chinook High School teacher Alisha Hornberger has  developed a lot of  dance choreography for the production.
“ There are six of my own students in the production, but almost everyone has had to learn to tap dance from scratch,” she said.
“And my sister Hillary has co-choreographed it with me. She  has extensive theatre experience,” she said.
“ It has been exciting to watch students who  were not  comfortable with dancing or nervous about dancing, learn to dance,” Mikuliak added.
Newsies is inspired by the  1899 newsboys strike in New York City, but it touches on a lot of social issues.



Playgoers of Lethbridge hope audiences will “Exit Laughing” from fall dinner theatre

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Playgoers of Lethbridge hopes their audience will “Exit Laughing,” from the Country Kitchen, Oct. 22-26.Shelly David, Jocelyn Steinborn and Marcie Stork rehearse a scene from Exit Laughing. Photo by Richard Amery

 Playgoers of Lethbridge volunteers are  embracing Paul Elliott’s 2014 dark comedy “Exit Laughing” for their annual fall dinner theatre.

 Playgoers of Lethbridge, at 97-years-old this year, are  the oldest amateur theatre company in Canada, so director Linda Johnson wants to do the company’s history proud with their new production.

“ It’s a really funny dark comedy,” summarized Johnson, Playgoers of Lethbridge‘s co-artistic director.
 The comedy stars several familiar faces including Teresa Huszar as Rachel, who made her Playgoers of Lethbridge debut in the spring production of “Where’s Oscar.”
 The play also features Playgoers mainstay Shelly David as the simple, sometimes ditzy Millie, Jocelyn Steinborn as Rachel’s mother the conservative and always astute Connie, Marcie Stork as the wise-cracking, hairdresser Leona who was in ‘Til Beth Do us Part” and Josh Hammerstedt as the policeman.


University of Lethbridge explores family dynamics in Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind

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The University of Lethbridge opens their season in University Theatre, Oct. 8 with  Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Sam Shepard’s intense family drama “ A Lie of the Mind.”
“It’s about two families, one from  California and the other from Montana, who come together through abuse that happens before the play starts. It takes place in the ’80s,” summarized director Doug MacArthur. The story surrounds the  Jake, who abuses his wife Beth.Jake Rose and Daylin Chase rehearse a scene from Lie of the Mind. Photo By Richard Amery It features a cast of students plus community members Gail Hanrahan, Jory Kohn and Eric Low plus local musicians Megan Brown and Corduroy Brown (James  Swinney),  performing on two sets — one in California and the other in Montana.

 The play runs Oct. 8-12 in University Theatre.
“It’s a big piece. It’s a three act play. There‘s a lot to dig into in this play,” said MacArthur.
“It is a big play, but it is shared equally among all eight actors. There are no minor characters. And these are all wonderful actors who are exposed to this dialogue,” continued MacArthur, who was moved when  he saw a production of  Shepard’s “ Curse of the Starving Class,” back in 1988.

 Shepard won a Pulitzer prize for his 1979 play  “the Buried Child.”
“ He’s a Pulitzer Prize award winning playwright for a reason,” MacArthur continued, adding while it is a drama, there are lighter moments as well.
“There are a lot of genuinely funny moments,” he continued.
The play was inspired by Sam Shepard’s early life.
“ There are a lot of Montana references like abut hunting and living outside the mainstream,” MacArthur said.
“Shepard paints a beautiful picture of the landscape in his dialogue,” he continued.


Theatre Outré present A Streetcar Named Desire this week

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Theatre Outré brings something a little more mainstream to the Club Didi stage this week— Tennessee Williams’ 1947 drama “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
 It runs  Monday, Sept. 23 to Saturday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. each night.

“ But we’re already sold out for Monday Friday and Saturday and we have one ticket left for Tuesday,” said director Jay Whitehead.
 There is also a matinee performance, at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Erica Hunt and Nick Bohle rehearse a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire. Photo by Richard Amery
“ If you just remember  the play from English class, then you’re in for a big surprise,” Whitehead continued.
“ This season, Theatre Outré is celebrating the work of queer theatre  playwrights. Tennessee Williams is one of the best. And I’ve always wanted to do A Streetcar Named Desire,” he said.

 The play has a really stripped down stage,  so the audience is right in the middle of the show. It features a stripped down cast and a lot of familiar faces from Theatre Outré, New West Theatre, Impromptu and Shakespeare in the park. New West veteran Erica Hunt plays Blanche , local musician and film maker Nick Bohle plays Stanley. The Groove Apostles’ Shelby Wilson returns to Lethbridge to play Stella, Shakespeare in the Park and Theatre Outré veteran  plays Mitch, Erica Barr is Eunice and Shakespeare in the Park veteran Daniel J Perryman plays  Steve and several other characters.
“All of the cast have performed or trained in Lethbridge,” Whitehead said.

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