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Grease All-time Best Selling Show

Grease is the word and it is now our all-time best selling production…This is the first time we’ve sold out an entire production run – remarkable considering it’s nearly three month’s long.  This likely places us in a small group of North American theatres that have experienced a complete sell-out over a continuous run of this length – 98 performances,” says Randal Huber, Chemainus Theatre’s Managing Director.

Produced by the theatre 40 years after the hit 1978 movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the songs and story have not lost their appeal for audiences on Vancouver Island. Summer visitors and locals to the Cowichan Valley have been flocking to the theatre and to enjoy favourite tunes such as ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘Greased Lightning’. Throughout its show run, even the town of Chemainus has worked to support this particular summer hit with events such as the downtown Classic Car Show, hosted by Tourism Chemainus.

The reviews for Grease have been outstanding; the Cowichan Valley Review said: “The production is anchored by fine performances and excellent musical numbers that highlight both the vocal and dance skills of the cast.” Local theatre critic Janis LaCouvee stated: “Grease is about “a time, and a place” and—most assuredly—“a feeling”— it’s arguably this feeling that brings audiences back, time and again, to experience it.” Even audiences loved the performances, leaving feedback such as: “Loved Grease. Very professional and very entertaining. I would recommend a visit for anyone who loves musicals.”

Earlier this summer, Chemainus Theatre announced that we have secured the rights to Mamma Mia, and the response has been outstanding. Audiences are using social media to tag friends and have begun to plan a visit to Chemainus next year to see this popular musical. The rest of the 2019 season will be announced this fall, followed by season ticket sales, and single tickets to go on sale in the New Year.

Congratulations to the hard-working cast and creative team of Grease for putting on such a successful and fantastic show! Time and time again we have heard compliments about the set, costumes and how incredible every cast member was in their performance.

The Chemainus Theatre, a not-for-profit theatre company, is happy to announce that the success of Grease has put us back on track for our 2018 season targets. We would like to thank everyone who has supported local theatre in the season so far, and look forward to seeing you for our future productions.

Grease in Chemainus

Julie and Barbara take a quick break during Grease rehearsals on the (in-progress) set.

Thank you to Barbara Tomasic and Julie Tomaino, the Director and Choreographer of our upcoming production of Grease for answering a few questions!

  1. This is the 40th Anniversary of Grease! What is it about this show that has stood the test of time?

Barb: I think the spirit of being a teenager, trying to figure out who they are, is still the same.

Julie: I think there are so many popular fifties songs in this show that are still widely listened to now.

  1. Do you have a favourite memory of watching this show? Either a stage production or a movie?

Barb: When I was in grade 7 I watched the movie 8 times in one night at a sleepover. I remember thinking it was such a risqué movie, and marvelling at the freedom and joy of the teenagers.

  1. This show is so popular and well-known, what creative touches are you planning to bring to the production at Chemainus Theatre Festival?

Julie: there is such iconic choreography in Grease, and of course I’m going to pay homage to the original, but with a twist. I like to challenge myself as a choreographer with movement that tells the same story in the style of the show but with my stamp on it.

  1. The 50’s are such a fun part of Grease, how is the creative team working together to bring this decade to life on stage?

Barb: our set designer Lauchlin has based the set on a photo of Sandra Dee that I chose. I think this photo is a strong representation of the colour palette and style of the time period. We’re also using images from advertising from the fifties and of course the costumes.

  1. Be honest, do you constantly have the soundtrack going through your head? Any songs in particular?

Julie: yes. Because I need to know all the accents and orchestrations so well I had ALL the songs running through my head for over a month. Today, it’s We Go Together.

Barb: Freddy My Love is the one I’ve had over and over in my mind.

We’re both happy to back in Chemainus, a town we hold close to our heart.

 

The Little Prince Feature

The Little Prince has been adapted for the stage by Roderick Glanville. Thank you to Roderick for answering our questions about our upcoming summer KidzPlay. To get tickets for you and your favourite child click here!

Question: Our young audiences are looking forward to this show! Can you tell us a little bit about this show and what makes it unique?

Answer: This story is magical as it works on two levels.  For the most part, The Little Prince characterizes narrow-mindedness as a trait of adults. In the very first chapter, the narrator draws a sharp contrast between the respective ways grown-ups and children view the world. He depicts grown-ups as unimaginative, dull, superficial, and stubbornly sure that their limited perspective is the only one possible. He depicts children, on the other hand, as imaginative, open-minded, and aware of and sensitive to the mystery and beauty of the world.  The Fox is one of my favourites as the teaching are very faith based but not specifically Christian, more pure inclusive spirituality.

Question: Why are you drawn towards developing children’s theatre?

Answer: As a young person creative self-expression was critical to my fitting in.  I found community in theatre.  A place where I was accepted and not judged.  And later I was quite moved by a touring companies production of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The exception and the rule’, from that point on I knew I wanted to be a professional actor.  I approach my work through the lens of a child, because I haven’t really grown up!  Engaging youth and their imagination is pure joy, and a young audience is the most honest audience.  Every set of eyes and ears are open to story.  Creating stories that resonate with their lives keeps me present in my own life.  This is why The Little Prince speaks so strongly to my spirit.

Question: Your version of The Little Prince has been produced for Kaleidoscope Theatre. How did audiences respond to this show, have you made any changes to bring it to the stage at Chemainus Theatre?

Answer: This will be my third production of the story.  The first was a table top puppet version for our Family Theatre Festival in our giant inflatable Igloo theatre.  The second production was a bi-lingual version presented at the McPherson Playhouse and featured live music composed by Oliver Swain.  Quite a contrast to the first one!  Everyone loves the Prince.  How could you not? The important part for me is the acting of the Prince.  It must be a female.  The child’s spirit is pure, and I find women far more empathetic.  This does not exclude men.  But children respond differently to a female voice.  It is more soothing and safe.  And the Prince is seeking emotional understanding.  Both shows were amazing.  The bi-lingual version was an experiment that really worked for both English and French and opened up new audiences for Kaleidoscope.  The show we are bringing to Chemainus will be the English version with Oliver returning to bring his magic to the show.  The scale of production will be similar to the McPherson staging.  I will have to edit some of the sections as the running time is too long for the traditional Chemainus programming, but nothing will be lost.  The story will remain intact.

Question: What about the story of The Little Prince resonates with both adults and children?

The need to question the importance of our place in the universe and how important loyalty and love are to our survival.  Timeless themes and fun characters.  Plus, everyone loves a puppet that can fly!

Question: Do you have any words of wisdom for young people hoping to make their careers in the theatre, either on stage or behind the scenes?

Answer: Follow your dreams.  Break through barriers and be kind to oneself and others along the path.  Never give up. If it makes you happy, you cannot turn away.  The art’s will heal and enlighten.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Critical thinking is so important and we can all contribute to our community through self-expression in many forms.  So, just do it!

 

 

 

By |April 23rd, 2018|Categories: 2018 Season, About the Shows|0 Comments

Come Together with the Cornwall Family

Christmas is a time for people to come together and Chemainus Theatre Festival is proud to be a part of this tradition for the past 25 years. It is the talented directors, musicians, actors, and designers who come together to create the shows that bring friends and families coming back, again and again, to settle in a darkened audience and share a special story. Theatre can bridge gaps between people from different places, cultures, generations, and backgrounds. The ‘Cornwalls’ All-Inclusive Cancun Christmas’ is a sweet way to mark the end of a great year for Chemainus Theatre Festival – a joyous tale of a family coming together, sharing traditions, starting something new, and making friends along the way.

Come spend an evening (or afternoon) at Chemainus Theatre Festival and enjoy the ‘Cornwalls’ All-Inclusive Cancun Christmas’. Time, budget, work, family won’t allow everyone to get away to Mexico this Christmas (it took Harry and Judy Cornwall 25 years to get there) but allow us to take you away on a musical journey to the mid-1980s with some of your favourite Christmas and retro tunes along with a whimsical story of a family doing their very best to create a memorable Christmas holiday vacation.

‘Cornwalls’ All-Inclusive Cancun Christmas’ Director Barbara Tomasic has this message for audiences: “My wish for you is that our show offers you a good laugh and a reminder of what I think are the good parts of the Holiday season; joy, music, peace, and love. And may you embrace change as exuberantly as the Cornwalls!”

Come to laugh and leave with a song in your heart. ‘Cornwalls’ All-Inclusive Cancun Christmas’ runs until New Year’s Eve with a fabulous buffet to rival any Mexican all-inclusive resort. Tickets go fast for our Christmas shows so book yours today.

2018 Season at the Chemainus Theatre Festival

2017 was a banner year for the Chemainus Theatre Festival. After all, it was our 25th Anniversary and we had a wonderful community celebration with music, tours, dress-up, ice cream and more! Our summer show, ‘Rock Legends’ broke a 9-year box office record and we explored classic love stories, children’s adventures, distant galaxies, and tales full of love and laughter.

It is hard to not get excited about the 2018 season; it’s easy to imagine yourself in your favourite seat of the theatre for any of these shows. To kick off our season perhaps you will enjoy a special escape to watch a young couple find love in a Dublin bar in ‘Once’, or share cross-cultural family challenges in ‘Kim’s Convenience’, or laugh with/at the delightful ‘Glorious!’ Florence Foster Jenkins. 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the movie ‘Grease’ and many of us have a happy memory of bopping along with the tunes, whether it was during the original movie theatre release or perhaps at a pajama-clad sleepover in high school. Theatre can take you away and we invite you to come along for the whole 2018 season – maybe back to Ireland, in a rural county this time, in ‘Outside Mullingar’ or to a familiar but distant time with ‘Little Women’. There will even be a bonus show this year – we are re-launching our hit show ‘ Million Dollar Quartet’. Are you inspired yet? Don’t forget about the little ones – the summer run of our Kidzplay ‘The Little Prince’ will plant a seed for the lifelong love of theatre for many children this summer.

We welcomed a new Executive Chef in our kitchen, Nick Caulford, in late 2017 and if you have dined in the Playbill Dining Room recently we are sure you will agree that his dishes are inspired. For our 2018 season, we are trying something new, on Friday nights only we will have a new service, Table d’Hôte. For this special service, you will enjoy a multi-course dinner with your choice of four special plated entrees inspired by the season and the show. The salad and dessert buffet will remain the same and we promise not to judge if you go back for a second piece of cake!

With tickets starting at $25 and an option to get 4, 5 or 6 show packages you can customize your season to suit your tastes, budget, and calendar. Call soon to get your choice of seats and dates and best of all, if you purchase a season ticket subscription by December 8 and you be entered to win a Theatre Extravaganza Trip for 2 to New York.

By |November 24th, 2017|Categories: About the Shows|0 Comments

A Family Christmas Classic

aboutxmasstoryThe final show of the Festival’s Season always stands apart. It’s not that the artistry and entertainment value differ from any other production; our teams are always giving you their greatest. The specialness comes from the holiday spirit and feeling of anticipation we all share.

Looking forward to what’s coming is an exciting part of coming to the end of a season. At the same time, we are comforted by the nostalgia of looking back. At the Festival, we have fond memories from nearly 25 years of holiday productions, all of which start with the same wish – to share a theatrical moment you’ll cherish with us.

thxourstory

This year, that wishful quality of Christmas is at the heart of our comedic play, A Christmas Story. Turning back the pages to 1938, we will see young Ralphie’s attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder B.B. gun really is the perfect Christmas gift – and hear through his older, perhaps wiser, narration, how hope can lead us in many interesting directions.

The play is an adaptation of the award winning 1983 film – derived from the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author Jean Shepherd (published in his book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash (1966). Having deep resonance in North American culture, the story is considered a holiday classic with a message: no matter how crazy the path our personal wishes lead us, in the end we find happiness from the caring of others.

Our greatest wish is to share inspiring theatre with you, and we thank you for being part of this memorable chapter in our own “Christmas Story.” Enjoy your festivities, and we hope you’ll continue to celebrate with us in 2017 as we mark 25 years of outstanding Festival performances!

 

Coming Up: Things Are About to Get Strange!

HarveyPoster

COMING-UP-Harvey

Elwood P. Dowd is unlike anyone you’ve ever met. He insists on introducing his friend Harvey to everyone around town – trouble is, Harvey is an invisible six-foot-tall rabbit.

Such eccentric behaviour just won’t do in the eyes of his easily embarrassed (and social-climbing) sister. Something must be done, and a trip to the sanatorium for an “cure-all” injection is planned. But things are about to get stranger yet.

Harvey-IS

See what happens when the real patient is mistaken, the doctors begin to behave oddly, and Elwood is suddenly as hard to spot as his imaginary friend.

Harvey is a Broadway comedy of errors with “unassuming charm,” (The Hollywood Reporter). The play, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Mary Chase, promises to make you laugh as you wonder whether the world needs more “normal” people, or more “Harveys”?

get-stranger

On stage at The Chemainus Theatre Festival May 6 – 28, 2016.

Tickets are available now at 1.800.565.7738 or chemainustheatre.ca.

 

 

By |March 28th, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season, About the Shows|0 Comments

Ring of Fire Reignites in April 2016!

2016 Ring of Fire

Reignited by Foot-Stompin’, Crowd-Pleasin’ Demand!

Great music, memorable characters, and slice of life stories often win our favour, and hearts, at The Chemainus Theatre Festival. Imagine our thrill to discover that you, our patrons, feel the same way. Along with praise for the 2015 production of Ring of Fire, we received numerous requests and suggestions to honour the legendary Johnny Cash with a second run of the rockabilly musical about his life story.

For a show to take The Festival stage a second time it must offer a special kind of magic. It must be exquisitely performed, replete with emotion, and fondly remembered. Could this tribute to a wild, gentlemanly singer, songwriter, and rustic poet fit the playbill for a consecutive year?

It was an easy decision. One listen to the deep throttling voice of the American music legend and we knew that the acclaimed Broadway show deserved a second time in the spotlight. Now the challenge was upon us: to relight the original spark of sensation. Fortunately, the original production and artistic team also share our enthusiasm for Ring of Fire. We are excited to work with many of the cast and crew again, as well as welcome a few new talented people to the current production. Judging from their red-hot rehearsals, the best of the Man In Black is back. Thank you for joining us to relive the rowdiness, resilience, and iconic songs that punctuate the incredible life of Johnny Cash!

By |March 21st, 2016|Categories: 2016 Season, About the Shows|0 Comments