MINTY: Surrey school aims to raise $40K to mark 40 years of theatre

Also: 'Annie Jr.' musical staged in Newton by Classic Steps Stage Productions

Rick Harmon and Candace Radcliffe

SURREY — Live theatre is mythic and magical. Every performance is unique. There is no chance for retakes, cuts, start-overs, or making things happen that human power cannot make happen, except on film. The lights go down in the audience and the curtain opens. The show must go on, ready or not. And isn’t that really just like “real” life. It is going to happen whether you are ready or not, so best to be ready.

Our schools have done a creditable job in providing live theatre opportunities for students. Earl Marriott Secondary is celebrating 40 years of theatre production on Friday, Feb. 26, starting at 7 p.m. Rick Harmon has come out of retirement to help mount this gala, along with current drama guru at the school, Candace Radcliffe. Seems to me I have known these people forever. Marriott is indeed lucky to have had these two spearheading its drama department. And all they want us to do is to come out to a theatre celebration.

The evening is a reminiscence of 40 years of theatre with song, dance, speeches and special guest appearances. I know I will be there as my daughter, Keri Minty (pictured), is one of the guest performers. She appeared in “The Boyfriend,” which was mounted in 1996 for the 20th anniversary of theatre at Marriott. “The Boyfriend” was also the very first production Harmon produced for the school. Now a professional in the world of musical theatre, Keri was thrilled to be part of the 20th-year production. Twenty years? Wow. One of us is getting old.

The goal of this month’s celebration is to raise $40,000 for 40 years of theatre. The raised funds will go to replace all the old and outdated equipment in the school’s Wheelhouse Theatre. Old and outdated?  That theatre was built the year after my daughter graduated. Ah yes. We are getting old – and maybe even outdated. Harmon promises a night of fun, with a silent auction, “brick” sales and a chance to relive some memories of past productions.

Event tickets are $40 each, and can be purchased at the school starting Feb. 22 (3:30 to 4:30 p.m.) or by emailing a reservation to Reserved tickets must be picked up by 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 or they will be resold to the crowd at the door. I expect there will be a crowd, and the theatre seats 250 people. Click here for more details on the event website.

Just so you know, I am not going just to see my daughter perform. I have known both Harmon and Radcliffe for a long time, and sometimes our worlds overlap. Carol Seitz (pictured) – someone who has more or less patiently tried to teach me how to tap dance – has been the resident choreographer for all but one of the Marriott musicals. A 19-year-old Carol went to an early rehearsal for the first production of “The Boyfriend” as an observer. For some reason, the scheduled choreographer did not show up, and Rick asked if Carol could do warm-up for the cast. She did, they did, and Carol was hired on the spot to be choreographer. It has been a magical collaboration over the years. Sorry, Carol, now everyone knows how old we are.

Seitz does her own stage productions as well as being a tap teacher. Classic Steps Stage Productions mounts junior musicals at Newton Cultural Centre for the tweens and teens in the company’s theatre program.  Next up is “Annie Jr.” on March 4 and 5 at the NCC, on 72nd Avenue near King George Boulevard. Admission is by donation ($10 suggested), and reserve tickets by email: There are future musical theatre professionals in this cast. I know. Been there, done that, and I probably made the T-shirt! Life happens.

Long live live theatre.




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