SURREY â€” Monday, Feb. 9 is an official holiday in B.C. â€” Family Day. It is supposed to be a time off "regular" work so that families can spend some quality time together. OK, scratch the "quality" â€” just spend some time with family. The rest will take care of itself. Most of us have family members who move in diverse directions, and it is difficult to co-ordinate schedules of work and activities so we are actually spending time with our housemates. Family.
Then there are the families that work and play together all the time. Like Surrey’s Matchette family. Chad Matchette heads a family immersed in musical theatre. It truly is a family story that began when Chad met Erin Forrest. I already knew Chad as an outstanding actor from his performances at Surrey Little Theatre and with Fraser Valley Gilbert Sullivan Society. I was at their wedding; it never occurred to me at the time that this was a union that would, in time, become a theatrical family.
Chad has been involved in the local theatre scene for more than 30 years (really, already? That is as long as I have been writing for the Now). So I have known him as an actor (Lenny in SLT’s Of Mice and Men), director (Theatre Under the Stars and Royal City Musical Theatre), producer, writer and educator. He left a "regular" job to become owner and artistic director of the Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts and, more recently a founding member of Align Entertainment. Last year, Align Entertainment produced Shrek, the Musical to the delight of many. Of course, the whole family was involved with that production as well – wife Erin, daughter Emily, son Jack.
This year, Align Entertainment presents an "alternate" family model for your viewing pleasure: The Addams Family.
Said Chad: "The Addams Family may seem like an odd choice of show as a follow-up to Shrek, but when you really look at it, not so much. It’s a show that has a lot of heart and at its core is about something that most of us can relate to: being part of a crazy family. I first saw The Addams Family in 2010 in New York with my family."
Of course you did, Chad. Family is important. Erin plays the role of Alice, Jack is assistant stage manager and Emily is sidelined this year, as she is a full-time student in the musical theatre program at Capilano University. Their outside performances are restricted. It takes a whole lot of time to dedicate your talents to community theatre.
Emily will no doubt rise to the ranks of professional performer after graduating in two more years. She already has a good start.
So Chad is living his lifelong dream of working in the arts, but also encourages young people to express themselves and find their voice through musical theatre and dance.
Align Entertainment presents The Addams Family, a musical for whole family, from Feb. 6 to 21 at Michael J. Fox Theatre, 7373 MacPherson Ave., Burnaby. The cast includes professionals as well as those learning the trade. This pro-am combination is a formula that has worked well for Theatre Under the Stars and Royal City Musical Theatre Society. The best benefit is that the ticket prices are more affordable than if you had to pay everyone for everything. Part of the purpose of Align Entertainment is to involve the community and encourage arts among children, knowing that the audience is the reason for their existence. Again, show times during the run are 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices range from $15 to $37.50 via Alignentertainment.ca, or call 778-888-8444 for details.
By now, I am sure Chad Matchette fully understands the pitfalls of both fatherhood and theatre. Could this outlook on life be funny? Stand-up comic Chris Gibbs has created a one-man show on this theme. It’s called Like Father, Like Son? Sorry, part of Surrey Arts Centre’s Family Day weekend, show time 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6. Tickets range from $25 to $35, including all fees, at 604-501-5566 and Tickets.surrey.ca. Bring a friend, a parent, a teenager, a partner – anyone who wants to chill out and have a good laugh. No parenting experience is required. Family dynamics are fraught with challenges. A little laugh every now and then is therapeutic.