New West enjoys Singing in the Sun for rescheduled Arts in the Park concert


It’s hard to be blue when New West Theatre is singing in the sun.


 For a variety of personal reasons, I was in an I hate everyone mood on Sunday, and was going to give the second New West Theatre Arts in the Park show in a row a miss, but knew that the local theatre troupe’s Up with People vibe were just what I needed, Sunday, Aug. 29.

Keenan Pezderic singing with New West Theatre singing at Arts in the Park in Civic Field, Aug. 29. Photo by Richard Amery

 They always ooze positive vibes, which made a spine tingling medley of Beach Boys songs including “Good Vibrations,” all the more apt.


 With the summer Arts in the Park concert series,New West Theatre have taken on the monumental task of putting on mini music festivals every single weekend at four different locations all over the city. For the most part, they’ve gone off without a hitch, except for one weekend— the one supposed to feature New West Theatre.


 Several hundred people have enjoyed each presentation and this Sunday was no exception.


 This Sunday’s show, which was the only one that had to be been postponed due to the weather, was the only one to directly feature New West’s performers.


This show was supposed to take place on Aug. 14 and 15 

Willy Big Bull singing at Arts in the Park in Civic Field, Aug. 29. Photo by Richard Amerybut was postponed because of extreme heat and smoke filling the sky.

This time, the sky was clear and while it was hot, it wasn’t as hot as it was, so numerous people took refuge under the trees or under umbrellas stuck in the middle of socially distanced chalk circles in Civic Park.


I arrived in the middle of Willy Big Bull’s  set of laid back, heartfelt, singer songwriter based music.


 He told a few stories about building scaffolding up north and played a song inspired by that.


He also added a laid back version of the Rolling Stones’ “ Wild Horses.”

 New West Theatre’s relaxed and casual set was a stripped down version of their usual variety shows in the Yates Theatre, but this time focussed more on literally “singing in the sun” than the comedy, which I always enjoy the most, though there were few groaners interspersed between songs.


 So there were several numbers performed by the cast of Katie Fellger, Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt, Kyle Gruninger and Ryland Kunkel and musicians music director/ vocalist Kathy Zaborsky; music director multi-instrumentalist Scott Mezei and drummer / singer Keenan Pezderic.


The casually dressed cast opened up the show with the Doobie Brothers “Listen to the Music.”

Then Kunkel sang a beautiful version of Michael Bublé’s “Still Haven’t Met You Yet,” winding up it up by sitting next to a blissed out  Zaborsky who was playing the piano accompaniment.

Erica Hunt, Kathy Zaborsky and Katie Fellger singing with New West Theatre singing at Arts in the Park in Civic Field, Aug. 29. Photo by Richard Amery


 Zaborsky sang a piano powered version of Hellen Reddy’s “I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar) with Erica Hunt and Katie Fellger adding background vocals.


 Keenan Pezderic followed that with a superb version of Blue Rodeo’s “Try,” nailing Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor’s heartfelt twang.

 That spine tingling a cappella  medley of Beach Boys hits followed with Mezei taking over the  drum sticks while Pezderic joined the rest of the cast centre stage.


 Kunkel lead the guys in a rendition of a plaintive version of Roy Orbison”s “Only the Lonely.”

 Then Fellger lead the ladies in the Ronettes’ 60s  hit “Baby I Love You.”


 The guys took  followed up by singing  The Band’s “ The Weight,” with Gruninger, Carpenter and Kunkel each singing a verse.

 If you missed the show, the y will be c back in Civic park  downtown, next to The LSCO on Monday, Aug. 30.

 Dexter and Sons will open the show at 6 p.m. with New West  Theatre Singing in the Sun to follow at approximately 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but  donations will be accepted.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor