Keira Jang (as Sophie) and Joshua Lalisan (Sky) star in the Theatre Under the Stars production of “Mamma Mia!” this summer. (submitted photo: mpmgarts.com)

THEATRE

A summer of ABBA for Surrey’s Lalisan in TUTS staging of ‘Mamma Mia!’

‘This is my biggest role with the company so far,’ says Johnston Heights Secondary grad

Surrey-based actor/dancer Joshua Lalisan will spend the next six weeks singing ABBA’s hit songs.

As Sky, the Fleetwood-area resident has a lead role in the Theatre Under the Stars production of Mamma Mia! at Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl.

In the movie version of the jukebox musical, Sky is played by Dominic Cooper.

With the long-established TUTS, Lalisan hit the company’s outdoor stage in Mary Poppins two summers ago and in Cinderalla last year.

“This is my biggest role with the company so far,” said Lalisan, 20. “I’ve been in the ensemble for the past couple years, so now I’m in a lead role, which I was surprised to get, to be honest.”

Mamma Mia! runs on alternate evenings from July 5 to Aug. 17, in tandem with Newsies.

“I wanted to be Newsies originally,” Lalisan explained, “but then I was surprised to get a call-back about a lead role in Mamma Mia!. Dancing is my strength, so a show like Newsies, about young boys dancing, that’s very much me. I didn’t really see myself ever paying this role (Sky), but here I am.”

Born in the Philippines, Lalisan and his family moved to Surrey when he was five years old.

“I’ve been dancing for a long time, since I was seven, and I took up singing at age nine,” said Lalisan, who graduated from Johnston Heights Secondary in 2016 and recently completed his final year in Capilano University’s musical theatre program.

In April, Lalisan was in the ensemble for Royal City Musical Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain for the show’s three-week run at Massey Theatre in New Westminster. His other credits include the role of Charlie Sloane in Anne of Green Gables (CapU Theatre) and Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life: a radio play (Arbutus Studio).

Mamma Mia! has been a favourite musical of his “for so long,” Lalisan told the Now-Leader.

“And my parents listened to ABBA when I was growing up, so because it’s all their songs in the show, it’s fun to do, for sure.”

Last summer in Vancouver, more than 40,000 musical-theatre fans saw TUTS’ two shows, according to the company’s board president, Naveen Kapahi.

“This summer is all about inspiration, with two musicals that will lift hearts in entirely unique ways,” Kapahi says in a release. “Mamma Mia! may very well be the most joyful musical ever created, bringing love and light to everyone who experiences it. Disney’s Newsies is a fiery true tale of conviction, where a scrappy group of underdogs sets spirits aflame by standing up and fighting for what is right.”

Show details and tickets are online at tuts.ca, or call 604-631-2877.

Theatre Under the Stars is a not for profit society “that entertains families through popular musical theatre shows while providing a vibrant outlet and training ground to develop amateur performers and technicians both young and old,” according to a post at tuts.ca.

In 1940, the company started when a group of local theatre people formed to produce professional-quality musicals during the summer.

“Since then, TUTS has been a Lower Mainland tradition, delighting generations of locals and tourists alike under the stars in the pastoral outdoor setting of historic Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park,” the website says. “TUTS provides performers and technical staff an opportunity to work in a real world theatrical venue alongside seasoned professionals.

“Our productions are delivered by over 200 volunteers drawn from the community, requiring a broad variety of skills from board members to ushers to technical crew to cast and musicians.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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