Tag Archives: Songs

The Chelsea Hotel: Songs Of Leonard Cohen Returns To Firehall Arts Centre

6 Mar

Chelsea-Hotel-Adrian-Glynn-Marlene-Gineader-2credit-David-Cooper-560x418New York’s infamous hotel, The Chelsea Hotel, makes a return to the Firehall Arts Centre March 17th to April 21st, 2018. Leonard Cohen’s powerful and inspirational music is the heartbeat of Chelsea Hotel, as six performers play seventeen different instruments in a rollicking tribute to the remarkable writer.  Haunted by memories of his tumultuous love life, a writer checks into New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel desperate to find the words and inspiration for his next song.  Wading through past relationships, he reluctantly comes face to face with the love of the present, a love he wishes he could not only forget, but erase from memory.

Conceived and directed by Tracey Power, with musical arrangements by Steve Charles, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen is an inventive fusion of music, dance, and theatre that invites its audience into the hotel room of a creative mind and takes them on a poetic musical journey.  The production premiered in February of 2012 and was nicknamed ‘the make out show’ as patrons were often caught kissing outside the theatre after the show.  It was remounted by popular demand in the Fall of that same year and went on tour to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Toronto.

With over 200 shows since its premiere, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen has played to audiences of all ages and received praise across the country for its imagination and creativity.  It received Ovation Awards for “Outstanding Ensemble Production” and “Outstanding Director,” and received numerous nominations for awards including the Jessie Richardson Theatre Award, Calgary Theatre Critics’ Award, and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award.  The production kicks off in Vancouver March 17th. For those on a budget, note the Firehall Arts Centre offers Pay What You Can shows on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm.  Also for anyone 30 years of age and under, you can get in for $20 any day with proof of age. Tickets are available online at Firehall Arts Centre.

Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell At The Firehall Arts Centre April 29 – May 20

10 Apr

Circle Game-Joni Mitchell by Asylum Records Public DomainThe Firehall Arts Centre is bringing the music of a Canadian icon and renowned singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell, to the stage with the production of Circle Game: Reimagining The Music of Joni Mitchell.  Artistic Producer and local talent, Donna Spencer, has created an energetic musical experience. Circle Game features six quadruple-threat talents including Rowen Kahn (Superman: Man of Steel), Scott Perrie (Godspell), Adriana Ravalli (Rock of Ages), Kimmy Choi (Avenue Q), Sara Vickruck (Love Bomb), and David Z. Cohen (Heathers: The Musical). Together they play eighteen instruments, creating modern variations on themes by Joni Mitchell.  One of the most influential female recording artists of the late 20th century, Joni Mitchell often featured social and environmental issues in her music. Mitchell’s music stands the test of time and once again she is the voice of a generation. The heartbreak of a failed love affair in “River”, the fear of imminent ecological disaster in “Big Yellow Taxi”, and the promise of a generation gathering to ‘get back to the garden’ in “Woodstock” are topics that resound as heavily today as they did fifty years ago. Donna Spencer states, “As I look back on the powerful impact Joni Mitchell’s songs had on the Baby Boomer generation, I am excited the Firehall will premiere this reimagining of her music in this production conceived and created by Millennials Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman. Issues that Mitchell sang about in the ‘60s and ‘70s are unfortunately still relevant today. Audiences will not only be reminded of this, but given the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful poetic lyrics and masterful melodies.”  Circle Game runs from April 29th to May 20th. Tickets are available online from $23 at The Firehall Centre with several Pay What You Can Performances on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm on May 3, 10, & 17. If you are interested in a post show talk, be sure to grab your tickets for the evenings of May 4, 11, or 18, 2017.

Photo Credit: Tyler Branston

“I have to admit I felt a bit of apprehension attending Circle Game.  It bills itself, essentially, as an exploration of how music written is by and for the baby boom generation but it  speaks loud and clear to millenials. As a Gen Xer, was I going to feel skipped over? Would the dreaded auto-tune make an appearance?

In fact, I had nothing to worry about and it was a terrific show. The re-framing of Joni’s music featured tunes that were still very true to the spirit of the ‘60s – perhaps even more accessible than the originals in some cases, since Joni’s jazz-influenced rhythms were often replaced with a steady classic rock beat.

There’s an attractive set, well-choreographed dance routines, and a lot of emoting to help carry the message of each song. The 6 performers who deliver this material are all amazing triple-threat talents. Quadruple threats, in fact – I think every one of them got a chance to demonstrate their skills at singing, dancing, acting, and playing one or more musical instruments. Even though there’s no spoken lines, the delivery is very emotionally effective. I was wiping away a few tears for Little Green and grinning through Raised on Robbery.

In short, whether you listen to the oldies station without a second thought or whether it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this show. If you’re a fan of musicals or enjoy watching Glee, you’ll LOVE this show, which is a lot like a musical without all that  plot getting in the way.”

Review By Tiva Quinn

CircleGameTylerBranston

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