Performatorium 2014

photo taken by Michael MyersThis performance festival has its roots in Queer City Cinema — the LGBT friendly film and video festival that Gary Varro has been programming in Regina since 1996. Performatorium has a similar thematic focus as QCC, but here the emphasis is on live performance. The 2014 festival runs from Jan. 15-18. It includes a mix of performances, talks, panel discussions and a Labounge  that functions as a hybrid creative and social space. Venues include the University of Regina, Neutral Ground, Artesian on 13th and the Artful Dodger.

One highlight promises to be Sydney, Australia artist Julie Vulcan. Friday from 11a.m.-7 p.m. she’ll be conducting her performance I Stand In at the University of Regina Fifth Parallel student gallery. That’s an image from a previous version of I Stand In above. What it involves is 32 volunteers who “stand in” for nameless casualties we often see in news reports covering natural disasters, wars, crime and other incidents of violence. Because we’re viewing these people through the lens of mass media, we’re necessarily distanced from the tragedies that we are bearing witness too. By attending to each volunteer and performing a “corpse washing” ritual Vulcan invites us to think more deeply about the tragedies that news media (with varying degrees of sensitivity and insight) report on.

You can find a complete list of events for Performatorium 2014 here.

The Merry Widow

With its Shumiatcher Pops Series, the Regina Symphony Orchestra presents a range of projects. In October, it was a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s silent comedy classic The Gold Rush with the RSO providing the musical score. It’s also collaborated with local rock and pop musicians like Jason Plumb and Jeffery Straker.

Tonight it’s presenting a costumed/choreographed version of Franz Lehar’s 1905 comedic operetta The Merry Widow. It sees a group villagers hatch a scheme to marry off a wealthy widow to a man in their community to avoid having her (or more accurately, her money) leave the area. Joining the RSO tonight will be actors/singers Uriarte Berry, Nat Chandler, Jason Graae, Teri Dale Hansen and Eric Van Hoventhe.

The Merry Widow goes at Conexus Arts Centre at 8 p.m. To close, here’s an excerpt from a lavish production mounted in Maastricht in 2013:

Titanic: The Musical

Probably the most famous dramatic recreation of the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic is the James Cameron film that starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. It was released in 1997, the same year that a musical version of the story debuted on Broadway. With music and lyrics by Maury Yeston and book by Peter Stone, Titanic: the Musical was warmly received by critics and at the box office. It won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Thursday and Friday Do It With Class Young People’s Theatre is presenting its version of the musical. There’s two performances daily at Conexus Arts Centre at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16.25-$29.75, and can be obtained by calling 306-525-9999. To give you a taste here’s an excerpt from a 2012 school production:

Red Hot Riot

jaydenWith Christmas almost upon us Red Hot Riot, the monthly comedy/variety show hosted by Jayden Pfeifer (pictured), is presenting its annual take on the season at Artesian on 13th on Dec. 21.

Happy Holy-Days To Yule & Yours is the official title, and with everyone home for the holidays Pfeifer will likely be joined by a number talented guest performers. The only ones who had been confirmed when I did this blog post were on the music side of things: the Regina Men’s choir The Broletariat.

Happy Holy-Days To Yule & Yours goes at the Artesian on 13th at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $15 advance.

Creative City Sondheim

With shows like Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and A Little Night Music to his credit, Stephen Sondheim is a heavyweight in American musical theatre. Typically, his shows are performed on sprawling Broadway stages. But on Friday and Saturday a group of eight local performers under the direction of Chip McDaniel, Ben Redant and producer Shannon Harasen will be presenting a selection of Sondheim tunes on the small stage at  Creative City Centre (1843 Hamilton St.).

Doors are at 7:30 p.m. both nights and tickets are $15.  The show will also be presented at Creative City Centre on Dec. 13-14. To give you a taste of what to expect, here’s “Color and Light” from a Broadway production of Sunday in the Park with George which was inspired by French pointillist painter Georges Seurat’s 1884 masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte. The  performers are Bernadette Peters and Mandy Pantinkin.

http://youtu.be/QDEGaRZHd24

Pick Of The Day (Tomorrow Edition): Vinyl Cafe Christmas Show

For many Reginans, I suspect, this annual visit by CBC Radio host Stuart McLean has become a Christmas tradition. Similar to the on-air version of Vinyl Cafe the evening includes a mix of story-telling, music and other delights. Touring with McLean this year is the Toronto folk trio The Good Lovelies which consists of Sue Passmore, Kerri Ough and Caroline Brooks.

The show goes Wednesday at Conexus Arts Centre at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $38.25-$61.25, and can be obtained by calling 306-525-9999. To give you a sense of what The Good Lovelies are like, here’s video of them performing their song “Best I Know”:

The Velveteen Rabbit

Velveteen_RabbitFor its annual holiday-themed production Regina Little Theatre has chosen to present an adaptation by Phil Grecian of a children’s book by Margery Williams called The Velveteen Rabbit which was published in 1922. You can find more information on the production, which is a Pinocchio-like story of a stuffed toy rabbit that yearns to be a real-life rabbit, here.

The Velveteen Rabbit runs at the Performing Arts Centre Dec. 4-5 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 6-7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are Adults $20, Students & Seniors $18 and can be obtained by calling 306-779-2277.

Sing

Lyric-Singers-1024x339No pick of the day today. Instead, here’s a heads up about a show that’s being presented by Regina Lyric Singers. Sing is holiday-themed production that includes well-known jazz, pop and seasonal hits. It goes at the Shumiatcher Theatre at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Tickets are Adults $15 and Students $10.

 

American Idiot

Released by the American punk trio Green Day in 2004, American Idiot was a concept album in the vein of The Who classic Tommy. It features the anti-hero Jesus of Suburbia and some friends who are going through an existential crisis in post 9-11 America.

Like TommyAmerican Idiot was eventually turned into a stage musical. The first production of American Idiot was held in Berkeley in 2009, and in 2010 the musical debuted on Broadway. American Idiot was nominated for a Tony for Best Musical that year. It lost out to Memphis, but it did pick up two Tonys in design categories.

Thursday and Friday Nov. 28-29 a touring production of American Idiot is running at Conexus Arts Centre. Performances are at 8 p.m. both nights, and tickets range from $37-$75. To give you a taste of the musical delights that await, here’s video of Green Day performing with the Broadway cast from American Idiot:

 

Sleeping Beauty

SleepingBeauty_600Each holiday season the Globe Theatre presents a special family-friendly production that typically enjoys a longer run, and involves a bigger budget, than the rest of the main stage plays.

This year’s offering is an adaptation of the much-loved children’s fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The story has been around since the 17th century, and early versions were documented by both the Brothers Grimm and French folklorist Charles Perreault.

The Globe’s presentation was penned by the theatre’s artistic director Ruth Smillie and is directed by Courtenay Dobbie. The play opens on Wednesday and is scheduled to run until Dec. 29. For ticket info visit the Globe website or call 306-525-6400.

Pick Of The Day: What Would Judas Do?

As I observed in my 14 Days Top Six blurb in our Oct. 31 issue, the title of this comedic monologue by Brit Stewart Lee seems designed to mock hardcore Christians by riffing on their semi-inane motto for moral guidance What Would Jesus Do? But apparently it’s a rather thoughtful and moving take on what it would be like to hang with the Son of God as a disciple.

This production is being presented by Golden Apple Theatre and stars Kenn McLeod in the title role. The performance runs at Artesian on 13th from Nov. 12-16 with shows each night at 8 p.m. Tickets are Adults $35, and Students $25.

I couldn’t find any video clips of previous productions of WWJ(udas)D?, so to close here’s video of Judas Priest performing “You Got Another Thing Comin'” from a 2013 concert DVD:

http://youtu.be/5omdIkrx3Yg

Pick Of The Day: As Time Goes By

As Time Goes ByWritten by local fantasy and SF author Edward Willett, this musical is being presented by Regina Lyric Theatre. As you can see from the above poster, it’s described as a love story with ghosts. One story is set in modern day, while the other is told in flashbacks, with music from the 1930s and ‘40s being featured.

As Time Goes By will be performed on stage at the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Schumiatcher Theatre Nov. 7-10. Show times on Thursday and Friday are 7:30 p.m., while Saturday there’s shows at 2 and 7:30 p.m., with a final matinee Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students.   

Pick Of The Day: TheatreOne 2013

Theatre SaskTrick or treaters won’t be the only people dressed in costumes tonight. At the Regina Performing Arts Centre, it’s the first night of Theatre Saskatchewan’s adjudicated festival of one-act plays. This year’s festival is being hosted by Regina Little Theatre, and if you visit the Theatre Saskatchewan website you’ll see that troupes from various towns like Weyburn, Kerrobert, Yorkton, Kyle and Kamsack will be in attendance.

The festival runs Oct. 31-Nov. 2, with performances beginning each night at 6:30 p.m. In addition to the theatre, there’s also after parties. A three-day pass will run you $40, while a single evening pass is $15, and more information can be obtained by calling 306-352-0797.

The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information

PME-ARTNo pick of the the day today. Instead, here’s a heads up about the latest presentation in Curtain Razors’ Moveable Feast series. In the past few years, the Regina company headed by Michele Sereda has presented projects like Eat the Street where children pulled an Aidan Morgan and wrote dining reviews, and Haircuts By Children where kids were installed in an actual salon to cut and style people’s hair.

Montreal-based PME-ART is the group behind this project in the Moveable Feast series. They’re being co-hosted in Regina by Curtain Razors and the Dunlop Art Gallery. The performance goes at Central Library on Friday at 7 p.m. Like DJs, PME-ART will be spinning records, but they’ll also take the opportunity with each song they play to tell a story as a way of exploring the relationship between music and our lives — both as individuals, and as part of broader society.

That performance will be followed by a listening party at Central Library on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 2:30-4 p.m. where people will be invited to bring their own records to play. For more information call 306-757-5391 or visit the Curtain Razors website.

Lipstick Smears & Mermaid Tears: Memoirs Of A Sinking Soul

Mermaid_tears_webWritten by Tamara Unroe, with music by Birger Huber, this play uses shadow puppets to portray a mythical underwater world where characters are made up of trash discarded by people living on land and traversing the water in boats.

It opened last week as part of the Shumiatcher Sandbox Series at Globe Theatre.  Four performances remain in the run, and they go Oct. 30-31 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 1-2 at 8 p.m. For ticket information call 306-525-6400.

Pick Of The Day: Beirut

Regina theatre fans might remember Hectik Theatre. Helmed by Kenn McLeod and Nicole Olszewski, Hectik presented several seasons of experimental theatre before the founders left Regina to further their professional careers in 2009.

After time spent studying and working in places like Las Vegas, New York and Portland McLeod is back in Regina and he’s revived Hectik. Beirut is the company’s first production. It was penned by American playwright Alan Bowne in 1987, and is set in a dystopian future where a woman seeks to reunite with a partner quarantined with a deadly disease. The play was written during the height of the HIV-AIDS scare, and explores issues related to public health, the demonization of marginal communities,  and the politics of fear.

In 1993, Beirut was made into an HBO movie called Daybreak which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Moira Kelly.

Hectik Theatre’s production of Beirut will run at New Dance Horizon’s performance space at 2207 Harvey St. It’s directed by Kenn McLeod, and stars Kate Herriot and Munish Sharma in the principal roles, with additional contributions from David Granger, Donny Ready, and Kristina Hughes. Beirut runs Oct. 23-Nov. 2., and more info can be obtained by visiting the Hectik website.

And to give you a taste, here’s a short trailer prepared by Hectik:

Pick Of The Day (Tomorrow Edition): The Rocky Horror Show

This has become a bit of a Hallowe’en tradition for Do-It-With-Class Young People’s Theatre. The story presumably doesn’t need much of an introduction, not after all the previous incarnations of the classic musical by Richard O’Brien that have been done since it premiered in London in 1973. But what it essentially boils down to is a newly engaged couple gets caught in a storm and seeks refuge in the castle of a deranged transvestite scientist who is in the final stages of creating, Frankenstein-like, a muscle man named Rocky Horror. Much mayhem, hilarity, confusion and consternation ensues.

This year, Do-It-With-Class is presenting five productions of The Rocky Horror Show at University Theatre. It starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday, with curtain each night at 8 p.m. Tickets range between $22.25-$26.25 and can be obtained by calling 306-525-9999.

To close, here’s “Sweet Transvestite” from a 40th anniversary tour of the musical from earlier this year:

http://youtu.be/ru77Ckt7K6k

Pick Of The Day: Shangri-la

Shangri_La_webWritten and performed by Regina artist Judy Wensel, this play centres on a 13 year-old girl growing up in the fictional prairie town of Millard in the late summer of 1963.

Shangri-La is being performed at the Globe Theatre as part of the Shumiatcher Sandbox Series. It opened last night, and will run until Oct. 5 with curtain at 7:30 p.m. each evening.

For more information and tickets you can call 306-525-6400 or visit the Globe Theatre website.

Culture Days

Culture DaysCulture Days is a weekend-long celebration that is being held in Regina, along with many other Canadian cities, from Sept. 27-29. Typically there’s a whole pile of events, from open houses to performances, concerts and exhibitions that are hosted by different local arts groups. For a breakdown of what’s happening in Regina, visit this website.

At last count, 22 events had been registered in Regina. So check over your options and do what you can to get out next weekend to explore what Regina’s cultural community has to offer. One highlight promises to be an outdoor dance party on City Square Plaza on the evening of Sept. 28. There’s also a busking festival, a manifesto writing workshop and many more things.

Pick Of The Day: The Last Resort

Last_Resourt_600The Globe Theatre kicks off its 2013-14 Main Stage season with this light-hearted musical about a mob informant hiding out with an FBI agent at a lodge in northern Saskatchewan. The story was written by Canadian playwright Norm Foster in 1997 with music and lyrics by Leslie Arden, and you can find more about the cast and crew of this production here.

The Last Resort runs at the Globe Theatre from Sept. 18-Oct. 6. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 306-525-6400 or visiting the Globe’s website.