New West goes western in Barn Dance


 New West Theatre turns Yates Theatre into a Barn Dance, Aug. 8-26.

Kyle Gruninger spins Kathy Zaborsky around during a version of Hank Williams Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight” during New West Theatre’s presentation of Barn Dance, running Aug. 8-26 in the Yates Theatre. Photo by Richard Amery
 “It’s called Barn Dance and it’s a celebration of contemporary country music, going back to Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ heyday to really contemporary like Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood,” described director Jay Whitehead.

“ We‘re in Southern Alberta where country music is very popular. So we think audiences here will really enjoy a country show,” Whitehead continued.
 The show includes the usual crop of country hits, choreography, singing, dancing and comedy.

“There is a lot of country  hootin’ and hollering,” Whitehead said.
“I love working with Jay. He]s a Calgary boy, so he has a great feel for contemporary country,” said cast member/ vocal director Kathy Zaborsky.

 The cast includes some familiar faces including Zaborsky, Erica Hunt, Kyle Gruninger, newer faces AJ Baragar, Rylan Kunkel, Shelby Wilson and newcomer Andrea Bailey.

 Kathy Zaborsky is excited to not only perform in Barn Dance, but also to handle vocal direction as well as arrange several of the songs with guitarist Scott Mezei.

“We’ve been apprenticed to arrange a couple of the songs for the show including Carrie underwood’s ‘Cowboy Casanova,’ ‘She’s In Love with the Boy’ by Trisha Yearwood, ‘Fancy’ by Reba McEntire and “City of New Orleans’ by Willie Nelson,’ so that‘s been an interesting challenge,” Zaborsky said.

 As a bonus, she welcomes old friend Andrea Bailey into the Fold, who she met in Canmore  in 2012 while working on the musical  ‘O Canada Eh’ and have been friends ever since
“Kathy called me up and said they needed a student,” said Bailey, who returned to school to earn her education degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

“So I leaped at the opportunity,” she continued.

“It has been a wonderful experience. Everyone has been so lovely and supportive,” Bailey enthused.


The cast of New West Theatre’s Barn Dance (Back L-R)) Rylan Kunkel, AJ Baragar, Kyle Gruninger, Kathy Zaborsky, Andrea Bailey. Front (L-R) Shelby Wilson, Erica Hunt are excited to perform in New West Theatre’s “Barn Dance.” Photo by Richard Amery
“ I’m really excited to sing with a live band, so that’s been a lot of fun,” said Bailey, who has also been part of the popular Jubilations Dinner Theatre which has performed in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. She is impressed with the set design, which looks like an old wooden barn. The band plays in front of a wall with their musical instruments hanging on hooks on it.
Bailey is excited to sing a duet of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood’s “Remind me,” with Rylan Kunkel.

“ It’s a lot of fun,” Bailey said.
“And she slays it,” Zaborsky grinned, adding she is most excited to sing the Band Perry’s “ If I Die Young.”

 Zaborsky is glad to be working with her friend again.

“ It’s been exciting to get her to meet all of my friends here,” Zaborsky said.

“ Kathy is probably the most professional  actor I’ve ever worked with so it is fun to work with her again,” Bailey added.

 They are excited to bring the show to an audience.

“I hope people will take away a little nostalgia,” Zaborsky said.

“I just hope people will have a fun night out,” Bailey added.
 Barn Dance runs at the Yates Theatre  at 7:30 p.m., Aug. 8-26, Tuesdays through Saturdays. There are also matinees at  1 p.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 26.

 A version of this story appears in the Aug. 9, 2017 Edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor