MELANIE MINTY: Gender twist for ‘The Odd Couple’ as male/female shows hit stage in White Rock

Also: Deadline nears for popular Musical Theatre Intensive at Surrey Arts Centre

Sarah Green (left) and Launi Bowie in the female production of 'The Odd Couple' at White Rock's Coast Capital Playhouse. The show runs in repertory with a male version of the classic play.

Surrey has great opportunities for kids getting grooming in the performing arts. And here is the good news: musical theatre seems to be getting enormously popular as an extracurricular activity. Oh, what fun it is to learn movement skills that can become dance, vocal skills that break out in song, and acting techniques useful in real life. No secret that I absolutely love musical theatre as a lifestyle, and would have done so much more (perhaps) in this area if I had the opportunity to learn basic skills at a young age. Kids need the support of parents. They can’t do it alone. And here we are in between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, so it is appropriate to salute all those parents who invest in their children with training in the performing arts. Hooray for you.

For more than 10 years, Surrey Arts Centre has partnered with Peter Jorgensen and the Arts Club Theatre Company to offer the Arts Club Musical Theatre Intensive’s Junior Program during the summer months. This musical theatre intensive is a popular program designed for kids aged 12 to 16. For two weeks in July, students are immersed in the kind of training typically found only at the post-secondary level. The instructors encourage process over product, and allow the students to be authentic and expressive on any stage they play, building their confidence and sense of community.

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This year’s Surrey Intensive takes place from July 4 to 15 (Monday to Friday), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at a cost of $495. There are a few spots left, so don’t miss out; the application deadline is June 15. More information, including the application form plus videos of students in action and alumni talking about their experiences and what they’ve accomplished since taking the Intensive, can be found on the web at Surrey.ca/theatre. Graduates of the junior program have appeared in recent Arts Club productions including the current production of “Billy Elliot” – just so you know where you might be headed.

CLICK HERE to read Melanie Minty’s review of the Arts Club’s “Billy Elliot”

White Rock Players cater to the younger generations in the theatre club’s annual pantomime. The rest of the season often features popular plays with a history of success, and they’re ending their 71st season with both male and female versions of “The Odd Couple.” Now that should appeal to a wide demographic. Show dates are June 7 to July 2, with show times at 8 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday, and at 2:30 p.m. on the Sundays of June 12, 19 and 26. Tickets are $22 for adults, $19 for students and seniors. Call the box office at 604-536-7535 or visit Whiterockplayers.ca to buy tickets online.

With two casts performing on alternate nights, you will have a chance to see these versions back-to-back. Susanne DePencier directs the female version and Pat McDermott directs the male version. This classic Neil Simon play is just as relevant today as when it was written several decades ago. New generations. New opportunities.

melminty@telus.net

 

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