DECEMBER 2021 | VOLUME 210
NOV 29-DEC 12
STEPHEN SONDHEIM, 1930-2021
Stephen Sondheim’s sudden death on Nov. 26 was a shock to everyone who cares about musical theatre. Even though he was 91, he seemed immortal. And he will be, of course, through his extraordinary body of work. The best summation of his life and work that I’ve come upon was in The Guardian: HERE.
I felt a very personal connection to Sondheim because, in one of the most exciting nights of my life, I got to interview him on the stage of the Vogue Theatre in 2009 in front of 1000 adoring fans. He was amazing: gracious, generous, funny, with a remarkable memory for details and about the sharpest mind around. I carried on a brief correspondence with him for a couple of years afterwards, and will always treasure my good fortune in getting that close to a true giant.
Over the years, I’ve reviewed a lot of Sondheim musicals. If you’re curious, check out our Archives: https://www.vancouverplays.com/archives.shtml for three reviews of Company (2007, 2016, 2019), two of Into the Woods (2008, 2015), two of Sweeney Todd (2010, 2018), plus Gypsy (2007), West Side Story (2008), Sunday in the Park with George (2017), A Little Night Music (2017), and Merrily We Roll Along (2018).
Speaking of musical theatre, congratulations to Candus Churchill, this year’s recipient of UBCP/ACTRA’s Lorena Gale Woman of Distinction Award. Candus is much more than just a musical theatre performer, but she has distinguished herself on our stages in that genre. Brava!
Our theatres are brimming with holiday-accented work this month. I published a preview of holiday shows in the Vancouver Sun that included the Arts Club, Cultch, Theatre in the Country, Mitch & Murray Productions, Gateway, Pacific Theatre and Firehall. (https://vancouversun.com/entertainment/theatre/holiday-preview-tis-the-season-to-see-even-return-to-vancouver-theatre). Because of an early deadline, I missed mentioning Christmas pantos at Metro Theatre and Deep Cove Shaw Theatre, and a series of performances at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre.
Check out the extra-theatrical activity below and all the offerings on our On Now and Coming Soon pages. We update as we receive information from the companies.
Mitch and Murray Productions is holding a fundraising raffle. Draw on Dec. 1. https://go.rallyup.com/ed3398/Campaign/Details.
Realwheels Theatre invites you to a public online reading of excerpts from new scripts by emerging playwrights who self-identify with disability or as deaf. Dec. 4, 10:30 am. Tix at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/playwriting-circle-public-reading-tickets-207410017947.
Western Gold Theatre presents Yiddish stories in translation for Hanukkah. The stories from Vilna My Vilna by Abraham Karpinowitz, trans. Helen Mintz, performed by Stephen Aberle,Nicola Lipman and Geoff Berner, are posted online until Dec. 6 on https://westerngoldtheatre.org/virtual-gold/ and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVg97-W80kfdzPXF5BDFX6g.
Bard has launched a new 60-minute video presentation called A Shakesperience, aimed at familiarizing students and general audience members with Shakespeare’s work. Free, but advance registration required at https://bardonthebeach.org/news/2021/a-shakesperience-audience-form/
Theatre Replacement has launched its first public art project, Speaker A, a sound installation in the breezeway of the new housing development, Second & Main, at 180 E. 2nd Ave. Access it online at https://www.speakera.ca/.
The PuSh Festival has released a new PuSh Walk podcast by Anais West: Underground Absolute Fiction: a musical wandering between East Van and Poland, memory and fantasy, a search for queer belonging and family history.
Please stay healthy and get vaccinated!
THE ARTS ARE NOT SOMEHOW APART FROM OUR NATIONAL LIFE,
THE ARTS ARE THE HEART OF OUR NATIONAL LIFE.
— Barack and Michelle Obama, 2009
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