The first half of February may have buried us up to our ears in snow fall, but theatres across the province are heating up these long winter nights. With shows to warm our hearts and season announcements giving us lots to look forward to, here’s the buzz from Alberta’s theatre scene for February!
RE-IMAGINE: The Citadel announces 2018\19 Season
After taking the helm as Artistic Director in 2016, Daryl Cloran built an incredible inaugural season- a veritable candy shop of shows. Shakespeare in Love’s homage to the theatre gave us lush period costumes, a hilarious company of players and stunning replicas of the Elizabethan playhouse. Anaïs Mitchell’s darkly beautiful folk-opera Hadestown brought Broadway to Edmonton with Tony nominated director Rachel Chavkin at the helm of this gripping pre-Broadway run. The Citadel\Banff Program will soon show us a new perspective on the Robin Hood legend with spectacular acrobatics and a female protagonist in local playwright Meiko Ouchi’s The Silver Arrow. The Canadian premiere of The Humans, cross-cultural connections with Ubuntu: The Cape Town Project, blockbuster musical Mama Mia, the shop is bursting with theatrical goodies.
How could Cloran’s second season possibly match the excitement and variety of the first! Well folks, I believe the program speaks for itself:
- Once: The Musical based on the 2007 film, this life-changing piece of theatre won 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre album. Book your tickets now, you do NOT want to miss this on(c)e! (Runs September 22nd-October 14th 2018)
- Redpatch is a gritty new Canadian play following the story of a young Métis soldier in the First World War (Runs November 1st-11th 2018)
- Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberly will doubtless become a new Christmas tradition, featuring the beloved characters from Pride & Predjudice as imagined by female playwright Lauren Gunderson (Runs November 17th- December 9th 2018)
- A Christmas Carol continues in its 19th year (Runs November 30th-December23rd 2018)
- Sweat explores poverty and the changing cultural dynamics of heavy industry in Lynn Nottage’s (another female playwright!) working class drama class drama which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017 during its Broadway run (Runs January 12th- February 3rd 2019)
- Matilda is a Tony & Olivier Award winning musical based on Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. Renowned musician and comedian Tim Minchin’s music and lyrics make this an absolute MUST see! (Runs February 16th – March 17th 2019)
- The Candidate and The Party continue to champion female artists with playwright Kat Sandler also co-directing the World Premiere of these paired pieces. And here’s the most exciting part: the two comedies will appear in two theatres..at the same time…with the same cast! (Runs March 30th- April 21st 2019)
- Shakespeare’s The Tempest closes out the season, with The Citadel\Banff Program in partnership with Sweden’s national deaf theatre, Tyst Teater, and will feature both deaf and hearing performers (Runs April 20th- May 12th 2019)
If this isn’t the most exciting line-up in Alberta this year, I’ll eat my tuque! For more information on The Citadel’s current and upcoming seasons, visit www.citadeltheatre.com or follow them on twitter @citadeltheatre
…but maybe I’ll have to get my knife and fork ready, because Theatre Calgary’s Stafford Arima announces his first full season as artistic director later this month! Check out their heart-pumping teaser video on twitter @theatrecalgary and keep your eyes peeled to www.theatrecalgary.com for the announcement! In the meantime, check out Alberta Theatre Guide’s review of their current production, Old Trout Puppet Workshop’s reimagining of Twelfth Night.
Top Picks from around Alberta
As we look forward to the offerings of the future, let’s get fired up about theatre happening right now! Here are some of the most promising productions from around the province for February:
Mamma Mia!, Citadel Theatre (Edmonton)
While you’re marking up your calendar with all the fabulous shows you want to see next season, don’t forget The Citadel’s presentation of the ABBA show that took the musical theatre world by back in 1999 (I can’t believe it’s been that long!). With splashy dance numbers and uplifting ABBA classics, this zany rom-com set in sunny Greece is just the tonic for the drab winter blues.
Mamma Mia runs from February 17th to March 18th at The Citadel’s Maclab Theatre, Edmonton. Tickets and info at www.citadeltheatre.ca
Métis Mutt, Theatre Network (Edmonton)
Sheldon Elter in Métis Mutt, photo by Ryan Parker Photography
Sheldon Elter’s depiction of one Métis man’s story has grown from its 2001 incarnation as an 8 minute vignette to a full blown touring one-man hit. Métis Mutt, directed by Ron Jenkins, tackles our ever changing cultural dynamics, from racism to definition of self, with humor, humanity, and master story-telling.
Métis Mutt runs from February 14th -March 4th at The Roxy on Gateway, Edmonton. Tickets and info at www.theatrenetwork.ca
Ai Yah! Sweet & Sour Secrets, Lunchbox Theatre (Calgary)
Another exploration of mixed Canadian cultures, Ai Yah brings us to the table of the Wong family where, as the tag line says, “Dinner is served…So are juicy family secrets”! Winner of the Discover Prize in the 2006 Alberta Playwrighting Competition, this saucy play is sure to serve up something we can all identify with.
Ai Yah! Sweet & Sour Secrets runs from February 19th -March 10th at Lunchbox Theatre, Calgary. Tickets and info at www.lunchboxtheatre.com
Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap, University of LethbridgeFor those of you in the south of the province, I know you’ve been buffetted by winter weather but if you’ve never seen Agatha Christie’s masterpiece on stage, take some time to bundle up and get out of the house this week! This fabulous play has been running on London’s West End since 1952 for a reason- it’s a great night out at the theatre. Support the U of L’s drama department and enjoy one of the most popular stage shows of all time!
The Mouse Trap runs from now until February 17th at the University Theatre, Lethbridge. Tickets and info at www.uleth.ca
The Drowsy Chaperone, Keyano College (Fort McMurray)
As for our theatre students up north, Keyano College is presenting the fabulously fun musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Set in the roaring twenties, this witty show is full of fantastic music and glorious spectacle so even if the bad roads mean you can’t make it out of town for blockbusters like Mama Mia, you can still get your Musical Theatre fix!
The Drowsy Chaperone runs from February 15th-24th at the Keyano Theatre, Fort McMurray. Ticketsand info at www.keyano.ca
March will come in like a lion with some incredible new additions to the theatre calendar, including the femme forward Skirtsafire Festival in Edmonton, so watch for more news and listings out soon! Until then, we will keep posting all our “Good Reviews” as they happen for theatre around the province.