MELANIE MINTY: Outdoor theatre and festivals reign in summer

MELANIE MINTY: Outdoor theatre and festivals reign in summer

Theatre Under the Stars in Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl has performances every night, rain or shine – or fireworks.

So far, the summer has been mostly friendly to the outdoor live theatre experience. Shrek, the Musical and Legally Blond, the Musical rotate nights and opening night audiences for both shows were definitely enthusiastic.

Legally Blond is a repeat from last year, and much of the same cast has come back for another summer.

Apparently this musical is very popular, and very pink. I can only say that thank heavens Surrey’s Cathy Wilmot returned to reprise her role as Paulette, the hairdresser.

While the large cast has energetic production numbers, Cathy is the show stopper and scene stealer. Jacob Woike as Kyle (the UPS guy) almost upstages Wilmot’s wacky character, but together they are dynamite. Woike is a graduate of Capilano University’s musical theatre program.

Also from Surrey are Erin Matchette and daughter Emily. Well, the Matchette family has a history of musical theatre performances and they both give excellent performances.

Emily is off to CapU this fall, in the musical theatre program. Emily already has professional credits, and looks to have a bright future.

Kerry O’Donovan, another Surrey star, is in the pit for the fourth time for TUTS. But this time he is the music director – a huge task. O’Donovan is not only a fine musician, but he is a musical theatre junkie. Name a tune, and I think Kerry could play it. And yes, I am sure that at one time or another Wilmot and the Matchettes have done other shows together.

We do have a bucketload of musical theatre talent on this side of the River.

My favourite number in Legally Blond was "Whipped Into Shape," where Brittany Cairns, as Brooke, leads the dancers in a very energetic number where they not only sing full out but are power skip roping at the same time. Impressive. I know lots of people who don’t have enough breath to walk and talk at the same time, let alone sing and skip rope at the same time.

These shows are available all summer long until Aug. 23. Check out the website for show dates and all the extra info you will need to make a memorable evening. Advance tickets can be purchased online.

I can heartily recommend the on-site café’s barbecue. The plastic chairs are not comfortable, but for a small donation you can borrow a cushion.

Yes, there are mosquitoes that bite, be prepared for that. Once the sun goes down it does get chilly, so allow for the outdoors for this aspect of outdoor theatre as well. It’s all part of Theatre Under the Stars, a Vancouver tradition.

‘SPOTLIGHT’ ON THE ARTS

Events like TUTS and Bard on the Beach do get a lot of media attention, and rightly so. But you know, there are so many other ‘projects’ happening in our community that need networking as well.

I like to find these hidden gems and bring them to your attention. But thank goodness it isn’t all up to me. Sure, in the course of events I do a lot of schmoozing and networking. But the Arts Council of Surrey takes the prize.

One of my contacts thought Surrey’s Arts Council was the busiest in Canada. Well, just look at the Fusion Festival, Surrey Sings, the Blueberry Festival and other activities including running the newish Newton Cultural Centre.

Most of these activities are done by volunteers. Of course, that is the case with all community arts organizations whether it is art gallery or theatre.

There is no doubt that Surrey’s Arts Council is playing in the major leagues. Don’t take it for granted. It has been an uphill fight – and thousands of man hours – to have this strong arts council.

Want to know what’s going on? Need some background information? Check out the truly outstanding newsletter published by the arts council, Spotlight.

Looking for a talent agent for yourself or your talented child? The July-August issue has a great article by Paula Cooper about talent agency truths. And there is more.

Spotlight lists all the arts council members, sponsors, and business members as well as a calendar of activities. It is a good place to start for information. You can pick up a copy of Spotlight at the Newton Cultural Centre, or the Surrey Arts Centre. Even better, join the arts council as a member and get your copy monthly.

I also feel strongly that we should support the arts council with actual money, just a bit from our ‘network’ really does make a difference.

Check out the website artscouncilofsurrey.ca, follow on twitter @SurreyArts and ‘like’ on Facebook Arts Council of Surrey. Get in the know. For me, I am not up to the same manpower as the arts council, I don’t facebook or twitter. Send me an email.

We all do what we can, in our own unique way. Just wanted you all to know that Surrey’s Arts Council is doing very well, thank you.

melminty@telus.net

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