Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer stage picks

My summer stage picks are in this week's WE: Summer in the City issue!

Disney's Broadway musical extravaganza, The Lion King, is coming to Vancouver this summer.

Disney's Broadway musical extravaganza, The Lion King, is coming to Vancouver this summer.

Credit: Supplied

Broadway faves and classic plays sizzle this summer

Summer outdoor theatre in Vancouver used to mean one of two settings: the vista of Vanier Park as the backdrop for Bard on the Beach, or the trees of Stanley Park for family-friendly musicals from Theatre Under the Stars. But now the sunny season boasts a bevy of stages — big and small, indoors and out, and some simply metaphorical — many of them home to some of the city’s boldest and most innovative shows. Here are some of our picks to look out for.

Through June:

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

A must-see for the star-making performance from Zachary Stevenson, one-half of the Victoria-based indie-folk band Human Statues, in the title role. And while the story merely glosses over Holly’s fascinating but all-too-brief life, the music is pure magic. To July 11 at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Tickets from

Bard on the Beach

Alessandro Juliani in Henry V

The Shakespeare festival is full of familiar faces again this year, like local acting treasures Jennifer Lines and John Murray (both on the Mainstage in Much Ado About Nothing and Antony and Cleopatra) and theatre power couple Meg Roe and Alessandro Juliani (Roe directs Juliani in Henry V on the Studio Stage). Where the company breaks from tradition is with the addition of Falstaff, Errol Durbach’s modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I and Part II. Opening June 12, with plays running in repertory to September 25. Tickets from

Dances for a small stage 22

Cori Caulfield performs in Dances for a Small Stage 22

This popular contemporary dance series confines its artists to a 10x13’ stage. June 16-18 at The Legion on Commercial Drive. Tickets available at the door.

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

This Tony Award-winning Broadway musical is cuter than Cats and twice as endearing. Follow a group of spelling-bee misfits through the trials and tribulations of pre-pubescence. June 17-July 31 at Granville Island Stage. Tickets from


Combining dance, theatre, music, and multimedia technology, this triple bill of Canadian premieres is presented by Vancouver’s famed Turning Point Ensemble. June 17-20 at Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre. Tickets from


Theatre Under the Stars

Old-school charm reigns with alternating nightly amateur performances of Singin’ in the Rain and the Andrew Lloyd Webber family favourite, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. July 9-Aug. 21 at Malkin Bowl. Tickets from

Disney’s The Lion King

The touring production of the Tony Award-winning Broadway extravaganza based on the beloved animated film, itself inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Family-friendly fun for everyone. July 13-Aug. 8 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tickets from


Fighting Chance Productions tackles Hair

The rockin’, revolutionary musical about peace, love, and grooviness seems the perfect follow-up for the young rebels of Fighting Chance Productions, who wowed audiences with a superb production of Rent last summer. July 21-Aug. 1 at Waterfront Theatre. Tickets from

Neanderthal Arts

A brand-new festival featuring independent theatre from four local and two national companies, it also incorporates the Walking Fish Showcase, a series of short pieces by emerging artists. July 21-Aug. 1 at The Cultch. Tickets from

Cirque du Soleil

The familiar blue and yellow big-top returns with Kooza, a show that revisits the famed company’s circus origins of acrobatics and clowning. July 22-Aug. 22 at the Grand Chapiteau at Concord Place (next to Science World). Tickets from

Glengarry Glen Ross

This one has plenty to recommend it: Tony Award-winning playwright David Mamet, television star Eric McCormack (Will & Grace), vicious, incendiary commentary on corporate culture, and lots of fucking swearing. (See our interview with McCormack on page 29.) July 22-Aug. 22 at Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Tickets from


Blue Surge

TwentySomething Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of Blue Surge.

A small-town cop falls for an 18-year-old hooker in this Vancouver debut from emerging company TwentySomething Theatre, the brave upstart founded by Sabrina Evertt. Edgy, provocative fare that makes a perfect capper to the last sultry nights of summer. Aug. 24-Sept. 5 at Studio 16. Tickets from

Robin Hood

For a third year, ITSAZOO Productions continues its tradition of turning Queen Elizabeth Park into the city’s best roving outdoor theatre venue. Playwright Sebastien Archibald is likely putting a terrifically unique spin on the tale of the lawless folk hero who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Dates and ticket info TBA. Visit for more info.

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