MELANIE MINTY: ‘Golden Age of Musicals’ concert in White Rock on March 26

SURREY — Laughter, so the saying goes, is the best medicine. This is not a new concept – we have had an inkling about the power of laughing as far back as the ancient Greeks. Scientific proof, though, was first reported in 2005 by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, involving a link between laughter and healthy function of blood vessels that causes the dilatation of the inner lining of blood vessels and increased blood flow.

Laughter has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine. When one is laughing, the brain also releases endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also boosts the number of antibodyproducing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T-cells, leading to a stronger immune system.

Actually, the science of laughter is called gelotology. Now that is a word to add to your vocabulary.

Bottom line is, laughter is good for us. It’s even better when applied in a social situation. We can laugh at ourselves, at others and at funny situations. Like comedic theatre. And right now, Surrey Arts Centre Theatre is probably laughing all the way to the bank (to use another old adage) with the completion of their most successful theatre season ever. The last show of the season, Holmes and Watson Save the Empire, was a perfect choice to end the season. Good theatre, well presented and, well, we laughed a lot.

If you are not on the mailing list for Surrey Arts Centre, you should investigate the possibility. I did see some people purchasing their tickets for the above event with gift certificates. Gift certificates? I didn’t even know the arts centre had gift certificates. Just think of the laughter you can generate by giving someone a gift certificate so they can buy a season pass. Sure, not all the shows are full of laughs, but "happy" works, too. Call 604-501-5566 and get on the list.

Some say that music and singing – or, even better, singing and dancing – releases the same endorphins and positive physical reactions as laughter. Test out this theory. For two afternoons only, Ryan Mooney (who directed A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for White Rock Players) is bringing a sampler of musicals to afternoon audiences.

"The Golden Age of Musicals," a concert featuring some rising local talents, will be staged at Langley Playhouse on Wednesday, March 19 at 2 p.m. and at Coast Capital Playhouse in White Rock on Wednesday, March 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 plus service charge. For Langley, email ryan@fightingchanceproductions. ca for tickets; for White Rock, call 604-536-7535 or visit whiterockplayers.ca.

Songs featured are from Anything Goes, Gypsy, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Cinderella. The performers are Steffanie Davis, Michael Gill, Ranae Miller and Sarah Smith, with music direction by Clare Wyatt. This is more a concert style, so don’t expect dancing.

Here’s another "happy" event that will fully occupy Surrey Arts Centre (both theatres) from March 29 to April 30: The Surrey Festival of Dance. This is still one of the largest single-venue dance competitions in North America. Now in its 48th year, this celebration of dance attracts 9,500 entries, and provides scholarships, trophies and performance opportunities to dancers aged five to more than 80. Whatever makes you happy. And leaves you laughing.

melminty@telus.net

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